The ’90s is back in fashion. Music, clothing, television shows, accessories – even make up. Brown lipstick, ladies?
It was an important decade for music in particular. Synth and glam rock took a back seat to genres as diverse as alternative rock, European dance, grunge, and boy and girl band pop.
It was a particularly exciting decade for Australian music and those who lived the ’90s the first time around are flocking to revival festivals like that held at Bimbadgen Estate on Saturday.
It is, quite simply, an opportunity to relive one’s youth. Proof of the reverence with which this decade of music is held by so many was the number of children at Saturday’s A Day On The Green: Almighty Monster Line-up. Parents wanted to share the experience; to show kids what music used to be like before computers and mixing undermined the concept of a band.
Nowadays, one person can stand at a keyboard on stage and flick a few switches and sound exactly like they do on the radio.
The Fauves kicked off Saturday’s concert with a set tinged with humour. Don’t Get Death ThreatsAny More pretty much says it all about this band. Their melodic rock-pop sound has tongue-in-cheek lyrics with an undercurrent of both social commentary and astute observation.
I mean, who doesn’t agree that Dogs Are The Best People? Frontman Andrew Cox loves a laugh and took great delight in pointing at Bimbadgen’s towering steeple during the song.
Tumbleweed were next and for this writer, the band of the day. The Wollongong “stoner rock” band burst on to the stage playing Sundial, the song that opened the door to the mainstream charts for them in 1992. The swirling, atmospheric and often fuzzy guitar riffs, combined with heavy beats and melodic choruses, is an intoxicating mix. You can get lost in a song the calibre of Carousel.
At one point singer Richard Lewis yelled out” Who’s drunk yet?” followed by “Anyone here from the ’90s?”
Tumbleweed is one of Australia’s most under-rated bands and it is great to see them back in action.
The Lemonheads didn’t leave much of an impression, unfortunately. In fact you could hardly hear them up the back of the amphitheatre.
You couldn’t miss Veruca Salt though. They were loud and powerful, their angsty sound taking many a female back to their Doc Marten-wearing university or high school days. Louise Post and Nina Gordon’s harmonies are as strong as ever – sweet but sour and ever so slightly venomous. Seether will forever be an anthem for any little girl who has been told to quieten down, to not make a fuss. A timeless classic that perhaps has more relevance today than ever, given the Me Too movement.
Spiderbait, as always, nailed it. They can do no wrong when Kram is firing. I saw a more intense set from them when the first ’90s rock revival tour did the rounds in 2016 but even a mediocre performance by Spiderbait beats most other bands, hands down. Crowd favourite Black Betty had everyone up and dancing a rock-inspired country jig.
The Living End delivered – in a polished and slightly reserved fashion. Second Solution, Prisoner of Society, White Noise – this trio knows how to write a hit and their songs translate effortlessly to the stage. The only thing missing was a bit of grit. A raw edge.
Having said that, it had been a long, hot day in the sun and by the time the headliners took to the stage it took the crowd a lot of energy to keep up with their upbeat, double-time sound.
A Day On the Green is a well-run, user-friendly concert series that puts the audience first. Bimbadgen and A Day On The Green are indeed a perfect match.
Long live the ’90s – it was only a decade ago, wasn’t it?