Pool House Party 2018 – Coburg Velodrome

Pool House Party 2018 – Coburg Velodrome

Written by Liam Head

Photography by Rick Clifford


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 The inaugural Pool House Party festival hosted by all round legends The Smith Street Band could be nicknamed ‘The Festival For Nice People’ such was the positive vibes being spread throughout the day. Taking a snapshot of each crowd would have shown groups boogieing, people embracing and artists watching other artists before their show started or after it had finished. I’m still confused as to whether it was mandatory or not for each artist to thank the bands before them and express their excitement for the bands to come.

The Coburg Velodrome set the scene for the festival with an accompanying ferris wheel, thrill ride and pluck a duck which painted the picture of a 90’s American high school movie. The lineup was stacked with Australian bands and describing it as a punk rock festival would have been an injustice to the diversity of genres on display. The quantity of female artists on the bill was obvious and it showcased the increasing attention being given to females in the Australian music industry. The festival encompassed two stages and with a perfectly intervaled timetable, it was easy for the crowd to not miss a minute of the action.

Lets take a dip into some of the highlight artists at the Pool House Party….

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Fresh from opening for Big Boi at the Golden Plains festival, Baker Boy showed no sign of fatigue as he swaggers around on the Corner Stage, a venue that Derick Zoonlander would describe as needing to be at least three times the size to hold Baker Boys eight deep crew, including three back up dancers. The crew’s energy is infectious as the crowd bops to the multi lingual songs and a supplementary didgeridoo cameo that has everyone appreciating the multi faceted performance.

The second (following Will Wagner best buddies Signals Midwest) and last international act of the day was alternative hip-hop artist Astronautalis. What turned out to be an amazing experience could have been a disaster when his electronic equipment ceased to work midway through the set. Instead of abandoning the show, Astronautalis threw on a backing track and proceeded in calling out the crowd as ‘nervous, anxious, Vans with high sock wearing, original wave emo indoor kids’ and that despite being terrified of dancing and especially dancing in front of people, they had no choice but to dance to the rest of his set. The rapper then grabbed the mic and jumped into the middle of the crowd who, stagnant up to this point, started a dance party of epic proportions.

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The Bennies did exactly what The Bennies do best and that is have a shit ton of fun. While playing songs from their new album Natural Born Chillers and some older classics such as Heavy Disco and Forever, the band sent the crowd into a mad frenzy that didn’t stop at any point. The show was to be bass player and support vocalist Craig Selaks final show with the band after announcing he would be leaving last week. His last request was for them to play the song Sexy Me, the first song the foursome wrote together, a fitting way for the remaining members to say goodbye.

Brisbane five-piece Waax brought in the nighttime with a performance of raw and passionate rock’n’roll. Newton’s Laws of Motion clearly do not apply to front woman Maz DeVita who is an unworldly force on stage. Their unpolished delivery works perfectly and the crowd greatly appreciates hit songs such as Wild Weak and This Everything.

Australian supergroup and my new favourite band, Tropical Fuck Storm composed of members from The Drones, High Tension and Harmony offered the most memorable show of the evening and it wasn’t just because ironically a wind storm started midway through their set. Headed by Gareth Liddiard, the crowd had no time to catch their breath throughout the perfectly abrasive and  boisterous set. Punk is well and truly alive at the Pool House Party as the bands thunderous noise is perfectly complimented by Liddiards familiar snarl. Tropical Fuck Storm may not be around for long so make sure you see them while you can.

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Rounding out the festival were hosts and local legends The Smith Street Band.

Rattling off classic after classic the band had the whole crowd in unison as the sung back each and every word. The setlist was dominated by their last two LPs More Scared of You Than You Are Of Me and Throw Me In The River. However, nostalgic classics such as Young Drunk and The Belly of Your Bedroom were met woth just as much enthusiasm. Cameo performances were a highlight from the set with Astronautalis in I Cant Feel My Face, Sophie Hopes in Death To The Lads (fittingly, considering Tired Lion recently covered the song for Like a Version) and Anty from The Bennies crowd surfing during closing song, I Love Life. The Smith Street Bands music will continue to divide the general publics opinion, but no one can deny their genuine passion for people and good vibes.

Between songs Will told the crowd that plans are already in place for a 2019 festival and Violent Soho were teased as the headliners. I will be there and I highly recommend you are too.

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