Covid put an end to gig going for quite some time. It had been over 12 months since I was able to get to a live show (The Darkness, if you’re wondering.)
Not for lack of trying though – I’ve had tickets several times, and the shows have been postponed and or cancelled. Tough times for fans, tougher times for bands, promoters and crew.
Now live music is making a return. A return mostly saddled with various restrictions and caps on attendance, but at least it’s a start.
Kilfest is the return I was looking for. It might be a good hour and a half drive from home, but the line up is solid as a rock, and the promoter is a great dude, so it’s got that going for it. Did I mention that the festival is taking place in the Old Kilmore Gaol?
That’s right, metal festival IN A PRISON!
After the long drive, I’m looking for a toilet, the bar and some metal, in that specific order, and Kilfest provided a very basic layout, which gave me just what I needed in the order that I needed it. Apologies for that’s too much information, but I had to mention it…
Deadweight 80 kick things off with their hardcore meets thrash metal stylings. These guys are young and energetic, with a massive future ahead of them.
The next band are a late addition to the line up. Flaming Wreckage are everything you want in a metal band. They’re loud, fast and exciting. Honestly, that’s all I know about them at this point, but I bought their latest album, Cathedral of Bones, and have been giving it regular spins. I really hope to see these guys again soon.
29 Bones are a band that I’ve been watching for a while now. Going from strength to strength, with their live shows being the biggest reason for their growth. The music is great, but in the live setting they come fully into their own. Frontman, Brock, is a natural at engaging with the crowd, while the band holds it down musically. Certainly ready for a follow up to Electric Killers!
Next up is Brisbane’s PistonFist – one of the main reasons for my attendance, and it seems that I’m not the only one. These boys might be “out of Towners”, but they have clearly got a bit of a Victorian following. Frontman, Geoffro O’Leary, has the crowd in the palm of his hand as he leads Pistonfist through a set of originals and a Black Sabbath medley. It’s over too soon for me – I could have used much more of the groove metal that they offer, and once again, I’m not alone. Anybody who didn’t know PistonFist before this set, is now a fan, and that makes it all worth while.
At about this time, the fire pit in the court yard is lit. You read that correctly, fire pit at a metal festival. This gig has atmosphere in spades.
Another Queensland band are up next. DisKust are fantastic recorded, but live, they are another kind of beast. There’s more than just a hint of nu metal to their sound, and of course the costumes and make up will see them compared to the likes of Slipknot, Mudvayne and Mushroomhead, but rest assured, these guys aren’t copy cats. The crowd is very familiar with a lot of their material too, and sing along boisterously.
Often the case with festivals, time constraints limit a bands set time. With that in mind, every band has smashed out stellar sets thus far, and left the crowd wanting more. Each band presented has been worthy of their own headline show, which in a nutshell, sums up how good of a package Kilfest actually is.
Now it’s time for some stoner doom from High As Hell. There’s an energy to this music that is not often associated with “stoner” bands, which sets them apart straight away. It’s loud as hell, and chock full of groove. Admittedly, I hadn’t heard of the band until this point, but there another who’s album (2020’s Razorblade Dream) I have been spinning regularly since. Awesome stuff.
The mighty FRANKENBOK take the stage next, and demonstrate just exactly why they have been such a mainstay within the Australian metal scene. They might be an unruly looking bunch, but they are charismatic as all get out, and really know how to hold their crowd like only veterans do.
At the beginning of the day, I noticed a banner above the stage dubbing it “the Alexi Laiho stage”. I thought it was a nice tribute to the recently passed frontman of Children of Bodom, but it turns out there’s a little more to it than that. It was at this point that Kilfest promoter, and aforementioned good dude, Mick Quee took to the stage holding one of Alexi’s guitars, along with some of Alexi’s family to pay tribute. A touching moment, and one that I’m happy to have witnessed.
By this point my old bung knee is giving me a good amount of grief. It’s swollen to double it’s normal size, but the only way forward is through, so I persevere…
Plus there’s only two bands left, so suck it up!
Time for some thrash metal greatness from Desecrator. Truly a band that get better and better every time I see them. Twin guitars, ferocious drumming and vocals that sound like Riley gargled broken glass before the show – plus the sickest mullet in metal. Desecrator leave everything on the stage, and that’s all that needs to be said.
Surely there is no band that can live up to everything that has hit the stage before them…?
Well, how about King Parrot? Yeah, that’ll do.
This is a band that make intense and brutal music, and frankly, might intimidate some people, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. Yes, the music is intense, but it’s all done with a massive sense of humour – I mean Slatts took to the stage strutting and twerking to Nikki Minaj (or somebody like that).
It’s always great to see these guys on stage, and they never lose a step.
They were the perfect closing act, to an exceptional day/night of live music.
To Mick Quee – you did a bloody ripper job, mate. You’re a killer musician in your own right, and I hope to see you on a stage again soon, but as a promoter you have all the tools. You know what the fans want, because you’re a fan and you know what the bands want and need because you’re a musician. Huge kudos on a successful and well organised event – I hope there are many more to come.
Fuck it was good to be back seeing live music!