10 acts who graced Geelong’s stages you’ll wish you had witnessed

10 acts who graced Geelong’s stages you’ll wish you had witnessed

Photo by David Jackson.

We take a look at some of the iconic performances in Geelong over the last decade.

There are good gigs, great gigs, and then there are truly special, random yet brilliant gigs that are impossible to forget.

For this weekly dose of nostalgia, we take a look at 10 bands and musicians who hit Geelong stages over the last 10 years.

Disclaimer: This list is purely looking at bands who have visited from outside our local areas. We love all our local bands, don’t stress.

Gang of Youths – Workers Club Geelong, 2015
If you ask anyone in the world of music, they will likely tell you one of the biggest Aussie bands on the scene is none other than Gang of Youths.

First formed back in 2012, Gang of Youths soon began performing live, with frontman David Le’aupepe’s stunning vocals helping to draw fans into their theatrical yet intimate sound, and it’s only been up from there, with the band headlining festivals across the country and very quickly gaining international recognition.

Performing a ticketed show at the esteemed Workers Club in Geelong as part of their 24-date national tour (which was truly phenomenal) the band actually performed a free, intimate gig for a handful of lucky Geelong fans on their tour bus earlier that day, proving just how damn cool these guys are.
Absolute legends.

They need to do that again, please.

Dune Rats – The Wool Exchange Entertainment Complex, 2017
Fast, loud and unforgiving – there’s no other way to describe what happened back in 2017 when the Dune Rats stopped by Geelong. The ‘stoner rock’ trio smashed through their set at the Wool Exchange, causing what can only be known as delightful chaos.

Following the release of their second full-length album The Kids Will Know It’s Bullshit, which debuted at #1 on the ARIA charts in February that year, the Brisbane rockers toured the country punching out their infectious tracks to sold-out crowds. However, never ones to miss an excuse to party, the Dunies then announced the ‘Fuck Yeah Ledge Yew!’ Tour – a chance to get up close and personal with the screaming fans of regional Australian towns, including little old Geelong.

A performance lathered with on-stage ‘shoey’s’ and countless crowd-surfing attempts (including drummer BC Michaels’ incredible feat of being carried to the bar and back) was just the amazing night of semi-organised chaos that Geelong needed.

Ah, what a time it was.

Robbie Williams – Mt Duneed Estate, 2018
As the largest A Day On The Green concert at Mt Duneed Estate in Geelong at the time, Robbie Williams performed his Heavy Entertainment Show for 20,000 adoring fans back in March of 2018, smashing the previous record of 18,000 fans set by Fleetwood Mac in 2015.

As entertaining as expected, Robbie ripped through a glittering hit-laden set, from ‘Rock DJ’, ‘Angels’, ‘Kids’, ‘Come Undone’, ‘Let Me Entertain You’ and more. Alongside the music, which brought enough joy on its own, Robbie tore up the stage with a handful of backup dancers, flashing his jocks with a roaring tiger head at every chance and he even serenaded one seriously lucky fun as he performed ‘Something Stupid’.

Love him or hate him, Robbie Williams is without doubt one of the most acclaimed and charismatic live performers of his time and this gig certainly did not disappoint.

Tash Sultana – UNO Danceclub, 2017
At one point of time, UNO Danceclub was one of Geelong’s favourite club destinations, and thanks to Adam Metwally (one of the masterminds behind UNO), Geelong locals were graced with the presence of ‘Jungle’ singer Tash Sultana.

This was the only regional show outside her capital Australian city tour for 2017, and unsurprisingly, it sold out within 12 hours.

At the time, the ‘triple j Unearthed artist of the year’ had experienced a whirlwind 12 months that shot her into orbit exploding onto the scene and earning respect for her next level guitar playing, unique original sound and angelic voice. She had only recently kicked off 2017 by playing Laneway Festival and landed two songs in triple j’s hottest 100 including radio hit ‘Jungle’ scoring a top-five spot in mere months before this show.

Absolutely huge.

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Parkway Drive – Geelong Arena, 2016
Byron Bay metal legends Parkway Drive have been a real Aussie success story.

Navigating a 15-year journey from small-town surf-rats to international headliners on the world’s biggest metal music festivals, the five high school bandmates have always done it their own way, staying true to themselves in a world of extremes.

Organised courtesy of Spinning Half’s Steven Nichols, Parkway Drive brought their All Aussie Adventure Tour to the Geelong Arena back in 2016 in what was a truly extraordinary display of home-grown talent.

Celebrating the release of their fifth LP, Ire, the band tore through some of the best cuts from the release including ‘Destroyer’, ‘Dying to Believe’, ‘Vice Grip’, ‘Dedicated’, ‘Bottom Feeder’ and ‘Crushed’, alongside a couple of fan favourites from previous releases.

Now 15 years into their career, Parkway Drive have been putting everything on the line to create the biggest and most explosive shows for their fans, complete with cutting edge audiovisual equipment and pyrotechnics. Absolute legends.

If you managed to see them in Geelong back when they were still growing, you’d appreciate checking out their candid documentary, ‘Viva The Underdogs’.

Coolio – Bloom, 2019
Another one we can thank Adam Metwally for, Bloom (NOISA presents) hosted the mastermind behind undoubtedly one of the biggest hip-hop anthems of all time.

Complete with his live band all the way from the USA, Coolio (the one and only) tore up Bloom’s stage back in May last year, providing Geelong locals with one helluva Friday night.

It’s likely most party-goers didn’t know a single song, bar that one best-selling track of all time, however, Coolio’s stage presence ensured that song knowledge was not a pre-requisite for having a seriously good time.

All eyes were on him – and his famous, little pigtails sticking out in all directions.

Well played Bloom.

Polaris – The Barwon Club, 2018
Two years ago, Sydney’s Polaris were fresh off their sold-out national tour supporting their latest release, The Mortal Coil, and entered 2018 with the Australian metalcore torch held high in their hands.

One of 2017’s most anticipated heavy releases, Polaris’ debut album, The Mortal Coil stunned audiences and critics upon its release in November, landing at #6 on the ARIA Album Charts and #1 on the Independent Albums Chart, scoring a Triple J Feature Album – surpassing the already high expectations around the band set by 2016 EP, The Guilt & The Grief and its impressive touring cycle, which had seen Polaris gain a reputation as one of Australia’s most invigorating live heavy acts.

Promising to be one of the most mosh-sweaty tours of 2018, they certainly didn’t disappoint a packed crowd in the Barwon’s Club treasured band room. I’d tell you more about the gig, but the beers went down a little too well that night so all I can see is it was wild, absolutely wild.

Since then, the band have built their reputation as one of the most exciting live acts in the Australian heavy music scene, now selling out headline tours and leading festivals across the country.

Tina Arena – Costa Hall, 2017
There’s no doubt that Tina Arena is a force to be reckoned with. Her voice has sent shivers up spines the world over and has amassed a huge following since her early days on Young Talent Time. Over her 40-year career in the industry, she has become part of the fabric of Australian music and pop culture.
Celebrating her Greatest Hits & Interpretations double album, Tina took of Geelong’s Costa Hall back in 2017.

This show displayed her consistently high-quality output, exhibiting her adaptive strength, experimenting with the different sounds of each pop music era—disco, rock, synth, while still maintaining her core sound and performance integrity. It’s always been about that soaring, note-perfect velvet voice.

Tina’s energetic performances stood out, dancing to the fun ‘I Need Your Body’ always spectacular and (thematically critical) ‘Sorrento Moon’; and synth-esque ‘The Machine’s Breaking Down’. Her dramatic, honestly pained Woman was visceral.

A nostalgic celebration, this performance was pretty special for Geelong.

Bring Me The Horizon – The Nash, 2010
This one’s a throwback to when music lovers would spend long, boozy, music-filled nights, sticking to the carpet in the smokey, dimly lit back room of the dingy, yet charming rock n roll pub dubbed affectionately ‘the Nash’.

In September 2010, two years before the venue’s closure, UK metal outfit Bring Me the Horizon hit the well-loved stage as part of their MySpace secret gig.

Bringing their third album, ‘There Is A Hell, Believe Me I’ve Seen It. There Is A Heaven, Let’s Keep It A Secret’, the band had the eager crowd eating out of the palm of their hand with the trademark elements that have become staples of BRING ME THE HORIZON’s sound since 2006 — precision guitar riffs, venomously dark lyrics, massive beatdowns and gang vocals destined to be chanted at the band’s incendiary live shows.

Sweaty, raucous and fucking awesome, this gig is one for the books.

Side note, the band now have six studio albums behind them, with their latest (Amo, 2019) becoming a UK chart topper.

Flo Rida – Geelong Arena, 2011
Sooooo you probably don’t really care if you missed this one, but it is just such a random performance for Geelong that we simply had to remind you all it happened.

Only three years on from releasing one the world’s biggest hip-hop anthems, US rapper Flo Rida hit up the Geelong Arena back in 2011 for an all-ages gig.

Performing his seven-time platinum hit ‘Low’ that features American singer and rapper T-Pain – which also spent 10 consecutive weeks on the top of the Billboard Hot 100, alongside hits like ‘Club Can’t Handle Me (Feat. David Guetta)’, and ‘Good Feeling’, the Miami-based rapper has the entire arena on their feet – or so we’ve been told.

For more fun content, check out our piece on 15 of Geelong’s most iconic places gone but not forgotten.