River Rocks returned to the Barwon Club over the weekend, keeping punk and hard rock flowing through G-town for the 12th year running. The sold-out event hammered through twenty-two bands across two stages, over twelve hours.
The Fangin’ Felines were an early highlight if you made it in by lunchtime, with screeching guitars that fit the name pelting away alongside lead singer Carrie’s powerful vocals.
The Veebees played next out the back, and the crowd members not lucky enough to cram under the roof copped a bit of afternoon rain. Their brand of true-blue heavy punk – with song names like ‘Drive Thru Bottlo’ and ‘Whaddya Reckon Reckon Bout Me Ute’ – must be hot enough to protect the fellas from the cold though as frontman Norro paraded around the whole set in either footy shorts or a Hawaiian skirt.
The Tremors killed it, they also had a vocalist that made you put your ciggie out halfway to duck in and pay attention, and right after them Dicklord smashed it too. They on the other hand, played outside and were so raw that you felt like you needed to chain-smoke to fit in with their sound. I’ve never heard the word ‘cunt’ sung with such pleasant vibrato until I heard them perform ‘C U Next Tuesday’.
Pinch Points were awesome too, so good in fact that a woman in her mid-fifties turned to me in their set and said: “Hey I didn’t know you millennials could actually make good music!” Which is, you know, pretty condescending but still a pretty big compliment.
Dr Colossus approached the stage with a lit candelabra donned in stonecutters robes, setting the scene before they ripped the stage with their Simpsons-themed metal. A niche I’m hoping we all get to see grow.
Painters and Dockers were brilliant, the first of the nights 80’s heavy line-up. Still mad energy, and plus – trumpets! How often do you get to see trumpets at river rock?
Cable Ties came on indoors as the sun went down outside, and were mental. They played a set of mostly new tracks, and closed with ‘Same For Me’, which absolutely killed and was one of my favourite tracks of the day.
The Meanies were one of the iconic Melbourne acts of the night, and their 90’s fast-paced punk blitzed through the crowd. Setting the tone for the sweaty, glazed eyed mosh pits that would consume the front third of the audiences for the rest of the night. And speaking of sweaty moshes, Stiff Richards kept that energy pumping, they destroyed. Their front-man was in a frenzy, spending as much time singing mid-crowd surf as he did on stage in a set that more than held its own against a lot of the more seasoned acts of the night.
Los Chicos brought Spanish madness. They have this thundering bounce to their sound that had the whole place shakin’ and movin’ as their singer moved through the crowd climbing and dancing on whatever he could, tables, speakers, people, you name it.
Australian punk royalty Hard-Ons closed the show, and even though everyone was looking a bit dizzy from their twelfth hour of beerin’, there was no falling down early if it meant missing these blokes, they killed in a perfect crescendo to a wild day.
Come Monday my ears are still ringing, and my head still hurts, but these are all symptoms of another very successful River Rocks. God help the committed souls that managed to party through rehab.
When: Saturday, November 9
Where: The Barwon Club, Geelong
Reviewed by Liam McNally
Photos by William Adam Russ