STRAYAFEST w/ Belle Haven, Farwest Battlefront, Event Horizon & Others REVIEW

Being my first time traveling to Fawkner, I decided to catch 2 trains up there rather than stress over having to find parking and then driving back home without dozing off the road. Approaching Gowrie station, a gentleman who was clearly drunk toppled over off his seat and the typical crowd response ensued. Thankfully, two people close-by helped him and made sure he was over before getting off the train. The next two stations were lined with many gravestones and flowers. I’ve never seen a cemetery that big in my entire life! 

 

I didn’t have to look that far to find a place to eat, KFC was literally a 2 minute walk from the station. After a quick dinner, I walked down to Musicland fairly early as I had nothing else to do and met up with Tom, James and David from Belle Haven as well as Bec and the boys from Event Horizon. I met quite a few others that I only knew on Facebook and it was a mere deduction and process of elimination before I figured out most people from photo to flesh. I had a near “Is that really him or am I gonna make an ass off myself?” moment when meeting Shamus but thankfully it was really him!

 

The venue had a very 70’s rock n roll feel to it and was relatively small and in desperate need of air conditioning, especially since I was melting all day. I just kept breaking the ice with people I felt comfortable with and recognised, it was great to see so many people there that I knew in mostly small ways.

 

TO LIGHT ATLANTIS were up first and they were pretty solid though nothing I haven’t heard before. The semi-cathedral electronic interludes between the songs was a great touch and worked well. Three boys including John Glover were already 2-stepping away which is always a good thing. 7/10

 

OF STOLEN MOMENTS certainly brought more energy and begun the out of control smoke machine which not only engulfed the band in thick plumes but also half the audience. The crowd movement was stronger too and despite some struggling vocals, they still managed to soldier on regardless. 8/10

 

NOSFERATU’S REST is a band I heard about thanks to the guys in The Lost League and so I already heard good reviews about them. These guys easily pumped up the crowd with enormous amounts of brutal energy and got a small crowd mic-grabbing like crazy. They even jumped on the stage at one point which was random and awesome at the same time. These boys really killed it! 9/10

 

EVENT HORIZON always put on an awesome show and despite technical issues, they pulled through magnificently! It was so good to see David Vernon and Dave Sherman both performing guest vocals, adding another edge to Michael Godding’s intense screams. And the wall of hugs to wrap up was nicely done too! 9/10

 

FARWEST BATTLEFRONT I sadly didn’t actually watch because I was too busy chilling with Nicole and her friend Kirk out the front in the smoker’s area but their set was loud enough for me to hear. They sounded very brutal and intense with a lot of heavy guitar riffs and breakdowns. 8/10

 

BELLE HAVEN was clearly the band I was there to see. I briefly met Kevin Hartje who recently joined the band as the new guitarist and he’s such a swell and friendly guy just like the rest of the band. Despite having massive technical issues to contend with, when they finally got the ball rolling it was well worth it. The opening was really crazy and explosive like only Belle Haven can. The energy released from this band was insane and the crowd was really getting into it with John doing a stage dive. It’s been about 5 months since I saw BH last and I have to say nothing’s changed (in a very good way) but their sound has clearly matured during this time. 9.5/10

 

Annoyingly, I had to rush off before Belle Haven finished their set so I didn’t miss the last train back but they’ll be plenty more opportunities to catch them again. Everyone should support the bands that I’ve mentioned in this review! Thanks to Ryan for organising the show. And thanks to all the people I met, said hello to and/or chilled with tonight. I certainly had a great time!

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