WALLAPALOOZA (Southern Version) | Corner Hotel, Melbourne

Well well Wallapolooza. Just happened to be in my old Melbourne town. Family stuff but always have to fit in a gig or ten whilst in the glorious guts of my old stomping ground. The Spencer P Jones Tribute Concert at The Prince Bandroom was the point of reference/raisin d’être. (Apart from family of course). What a doozy of a show. The cream of Aussie Rock n Roll representing – Tex Perkins, Paul Kelly, Tim Rodgers, Renee Geyer, Charlie Owen, Ross Wilson, Dan Kelly, Adalita. Man, what a treat.

And our Goldie mate Stretch Cranes had just migrated from running Surfer’s elsewhere nightclub to  the The Prince Bandroom just days before. We kept missing each other till the end. The sold- out joint was packed. Finally, contact. I said, “I’m out back in the band room”. He said, “How did you get back there? I can’t get in there. I don’t have a wrist band”. Whaaat? Neither did I. Didn’t stop me! Brazen and shameless in my maturing years. So we catch up briefly as I’m hob-nobbing with Tim Rodgers and “old” mate Dan Kelly. There’s a story to that… But another time.

And low and behold, the next night was the Gold Coast initiated festival, WALLAPALOOZA. So named ’cause it originated at The Wallaby pub out  Mudgeeraba.  Having its second Melbourne coming at the good old Corner Hotel in Richmond. Last year was to be at the iconic Espy but was moved at the eleventh hour to Ya Yas by James Young who is also the mastermind behind Cherry Bar in ACDC Lane.

Somehow managed to scam my way into CHERRY ROCK as well. There are a few stories about that too. Memories all over town- my raging turf through the 80’s in my punk days. Haven’t changed much.

First band out of the gates for the Southern city leg of Wallapolooza is SHERRIFF. Caught them up at MOJO BURNING in Brisbane the year before, and caught the end of their set as I dashed in after missing my train. Warming the cockles of The Corner, firing up the gathering throng.

Punk-as and raw-as band THE MERCY KILLS thrashed the hell out of the next set. Front man Mark working his goth voodoo magic and the grrrl guitarists bashing the be-Jesus out of them strings.

Our own Gold Coast boys, REDSTARBORN, pump out classic bad-ass thumping rock. The three amigos are having a blast- blasting us on to the dance floor, heads banging, feet stomping.

More foot stomping, cock rocking, yeeha-ing blues from DIRT RIVER RIDE. Something about having to be a footy obsessed, piss drinking bogan to be “one of the boys”. Yep, we agree, “it’s bullshit”. Just be yourself man.

The ballsiest chick in rock and roll, DALLAS FRASCA, rips the stage, and the dance floor, to shreds. Guitarist Jeff as crazed as ever climbing and jumping off things. Loved Dallas’s Aboriginal patterned leggings. And when she belted out, “black fella, white fella, any fella, doesn’t matter”, I almost  cried. So moving. Love ya Dallas.

Brisbane’s (though I reckon just as much Goldie band) SMOKING MARTHA are WALLAPALOOZA stalwarts. Tasha’s white cloaked hooded gown dominating the mostly black clothed throng. Aaron, Matt, Mickey and Jordan sweating and thrashing along. Rip, as in ripping. No RIP – resting in peace- tonight.

Melbourne’s ELECTRIC MARY, make damn sure of that as well as they smash out their classic rock, in the vein of Deep Purple, Free and Sabbath.
To quote lead singer Rusty: “The way music used to be”.

Yep. WALLAPALOOZA packs a wallop.

Next instalment is in Sydney at Frankies Pizza June 12. Queenie’s long weekend. And it’s free. So get your asses down, up, over and pay allegiance. Gracious or not.

PHOTO CREDIT:  Eric “Chowie” Chow

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