Rifffest looks ready to become an annual tradition at Belgrave. And its line-up this year was a who’s who of grunge and punk bands that have exploded onto the scene.
Dead Naked Hippies
As usual, I cherrypicked my timings to rock up just as the first band I wanted to see started: Dead Naked Hippies. I’d caught them supporting Avalanche Party back in November and was really keen to witness them in action again. And boy, they delivered.
They played new track, ‘Blood’, then rolled out the usual favourites. ‘Lucky Charm’ was followed by ‘Eyes Wide’, then the set finished with ‘Curiosity’. Each and every riff was pumped full of energy, with jets of red and blue lighting adding to the drama on stage. That’s twice they’ve wowed me now.
Dead Naked Hippies
I can’t place why Calva Louise didn’t gel with me the first time I saw them, but that changed when I heard their latest single, ‘Adelante’. And having the chance to catch them live again was incredible. Their presence, spirit and gratitude to the crowd made it all the better, too.
‘Adelante’ was even better live, but I reckon I might even prefer ‘Sleeper’ after that performance. They brought a lot of firepower to ‘Outrageous’ and ‘Tug of War’, too. I don’t know why I didn’t take to them initially, but I happily stand corrected.
Brooders, AKA the guys that orchestrated the whole festival, were sound. They were the only band out of the four I saw that I hadn’t previously, so it was good to be exposed to some totally fresh tunes.
Between their bassist resting on the arms of the crowd as he played, and some really meaty riffs as standard, I properly enjoyed ‘Haze’, ‘Caged’ and ‘Melancholy’.
The stars of the show, unsurprisingly, were Strange Bones for me. They were the main driving force behind me going to the event and were even more electrifying at Belgrave than at Oporto (back in June last year).
Their set gradually developed through an extended beginning to new track, ‘Napalm über alles’, which then led to ferocious, foot-on-the-gas punk riffs and thumping electronics. They’re like a young Prodigy, with an even more threatening edge. It was foot-stomping, throw-your-body-around mayhem from the off.
I’m such a massive fun of every track in their back catalogue, they ticked off hit after hit for me. ‘Here Come the Wolves’, ‘Snakepit’, ‘Give Me The Sun’ and ‘God Save the Teen’ we’re executed with style. And when they played ‘Vicious.’, the vibe really was just that.
What’s more, they also teased new music. So, please don’t keep us waiting too long, gents.