The iconic bands and musicians that have visited Geelong in the past 30 years
21.09.2020

The iconic bands and musicians that have visited Geelong in the past 30 years

Words by Chester Ogilvie

Geelong, remember that time when..?

Like old friends over a few drinks, we at Forte don’t mind having a look back on life.

Sure, we have one eye on the future and the day when you can pick up a copy as you enjoy your commute or brekkie, but we just can’t help ourselves when it comes to reflecting on the good ol’ days.

So, here we go with a little look at some of the bands who have visited Geelong since Forte said hello to the world back in 1991. We also feel it our duty to point out that Blondie performed in Geelong in 1977. It’s time to dig out that old band t-shirt.

1991: Fugazi, Skyhooks, TISM, Beasts of Bourbon, Tumbleweed and Hunters & Collectors hit up Geelong in Forte’s first year. Local legends Magic Dirt and Warped form.

1992: Redd Kross, Screamfeeder, Hard-Ons, Slim Dusty and Yothu Yindi visit. Iconic cover band Glitter Gang plays their first official gig.

1993: You Am I pay a visit to the Barwon Club, where the toilets bust just before the band performs. Troopers that they are, they continue playing – under a couple of inches of toilet water. The Jim Rose Circus makes a move. Following four albums, Bored! disbands.

1994: Frank Black, The Tea Party, The New Christs and Powderfinger are among the year’s guests. The Sleepy Hollow Blues Club is founded.

1995: Divinyls team up with Joan Jett & the Blackhearts. There’s also noise from Front End Loader, Powder Monkeys, Splatterheads, Regurgitator, Spiderbait, Tommy Emmanuel and Tina Arena.

1996: Archers of Loaf, Something for Kate, Rail, Custard and Moler have a day out. In a year of highlights, the top honour arguably belongs to Weezer, who swing by as part of their Pinkerton tour.

1997: NOFX, Fugazi, The Whitlams, The Fauves, Even, Jebediah, Bluebottle Kiss, Midnight Oil, Grinspoon, Screamfeeder, Paul Kelly, Suicidal Tendencies, Ammonia, The Avalanches and Tomorrow People do the rounds.

1998: The year kicks off with Vans Warped, featuring the likes of 311, Bodyjar and Reel Big Fish. Other visitors throughout the year include Shihad, Savage Garden, Don Walker, The Living End and Status Quo.

1999: Stereophonics, Adam Said Galore, Pollyanna, Mark Seymour, Taxiride and Eskimo Joe all add to the musical calendar.

2000: Geelong says a cheerful hello to Area-7, Mach Pelican, Deadstar, Killing Heidi, Deborah Conway, The Waifs and Epicure.

2001: The Sundays Festival welcomes the likes of Powder Monkeys and Magic Dirt, while other guests of the city include Henry Rollins, The Vines, Motor Ace, Superheist, Sick Puppies, 1200 Techniques and Gerling.

2002: It’s a year where Goldfinger, Bugdust, Rocket Science, Alex Lloyd, The Pictures, The Nation Blue, Cog and Spazzys perform.

2003: Channel [V] delivers The Androids. Locally-bred outfit The Go Set gets going. Violent Femmes, Hard-Ons, Peabody, The Lucksmiths, The Butterfly Effect, The Mess Hall and Legends of Motorsport contribute to the year.

2004: Terri Clark, george, Machine Gun Fellatio, Xavier Rudd, Full Scale, Sunk Loto, Midnight Juggernauts, Something with Numbers, Dallas Crane and The Boat People take turns. Blood Duster’s Tony Forde injures himself stagediving.

2005: Strung Out, Faker, Karnivool, Kisschasy, Radio Birdman, Airbourne, Red Riders and The Red Paintings take in dates, as does American Idol season one winner Kelly Clarkson.

2006: The Black Keys help lead the Narana Festival. Lovable crooner Chris Isaak plays Geelong Arena. Others who take in shows include Avalon Drive, The Veronicas and Dan Kelly & the Alpha Males.

2007: Featuring some twenty or so bands and led by Butterfly Effect, Geelong Invasion takes place. Other visits come from The Church, Liz Stringer, Missy Higgins, Josh Pyke and Kid Confucius.

2008: Buzz (Jason Bee) and Nibbsy (Neale Cox) come up with the idea of River Rocks, and things won’t ever be the same again. The Grazzhopper Festival hits Geelong. The Cat Empire, Rogue Traders, Clare Bowditch and Nicky Bomba get busy.

2009: Jeff Martin, The B-52’s and The Proclaimers lead the way, with able assistance from London Cries, The Necks, C.W. Stoneking, Lisa Mitchell, Mammal, Bertie Blackman, Tame Impala and Philadelphia Grand Jury.

2010: Justin Townes Earle, Umlaut, Hungry Kids of Hungary, Dead Meadow, Blue King Brown, Kimbra, The Vasco Era and My Disco make visits.

2011: Best Coast, No Use for a Name, Earthless, Birds of Tokyo, Gareth Liddiard, Children Collide, Stonefield and King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard take in shows.

2012: Guttermouth and Passenger hit town early in the year, while the rest of the year serves up D12, Jon Gomm, Nat Cole & the Kings, Tim Freedman, Busby Marou and Dune Rats.

2013: Newton Faulkner and Icehouse do their thing. There will also be drop-ins from Me First and the Gimme Gimmes, Walk the Moon, Jon Stevens, Baby Animals, Dick Diver and Vance Joy.

2014: Brant Bjork, Kris Kristofferson, Rick Astley, Jake Clemons, King Buzzo, Jeff Rosenstock, Neil Finn, Ball Park Music, Dan Sultan and Kav Temperley pay their respects. Geelong becomes G-troit when the inaugural Motor City Music Festival takes place.

2015: Guy Pearce teams up with Darren Middleton, while King Gizzard & the Lizard Wizard announces Geelong will host the final Gizzfest of the year. Jerkfest makes its first appearance. The Mark of Cain and Lagwagon will also visit.

2016: Jebediah and Frenzal Rhomb help break in the year. Others who do their bit include Cub Sport, Delta Goodrem, Northeast Party House, Sarah McLeod and Boy & Bear.

2017: The team behind River Rocks serve up Negative Waves. Violent Femmes, Human Nature, Ocean Grove, Tash Sultana, Client Liaison, Bob Evans, Hockey Dad, Dan Sultan and Japandroids take in shows across the year.

2018: Hotter than Hell serves up Dallas Frasca, Grinspoon and more. Others in the area include John Garcia, The Bronx, The Gooch Palms, Tumbleweed, The Chats, Rose Tattoo and The Jungle Giants.

2019: Another big year welcomes The Proclaimers, La Dispute, C.J. Ramone, Icehouse, Press Club, Craig David, All Saints, The Poor and Vera Blue. The Meanies celebrate 30 years with a show. Born in Geelong (BIG) festival fires up.

2020: Keep an eye out for those online performances. There’s still a lot of love out there, and bigger things will come. We can feel it in our bones.

*Please note, this list is not exhaustive and does not include local bands and its aim is to highlight visiting bands over the last 30 years.