Live Review

Live Review: 2 Days Under The Southern Stars

Under the Southern Stars could have given up. The Artists could have given up. The continuous work it has taken to keep this festival on track is something I will continue to be grateful for. The line up changed along the way, there were many hurdles and hoops that had to be jumped through and lots of changes took place, but the drive and determination to bring International acts back to Australia remained and I thank and congratulate everyone at 1 World Entertainment and Maric Media for all your efforts.

Artists: Electric Mary, Rose Tattoo, Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, Stone Temple Pilots, Bush & Cheap Trick
Dates And Venues: Kings Beach 25th March 2022 & Gold Coast 26th March 2022
Reviewer: Hayley Treadwell
Photographer: Andrew Treadwell Photography

2 days Under the Southern Stars 

It finally happened! We finally got to go to Under the Southern Stars! 

I remember the day this show was announced, 26th August 2019 with the original line up announced on the 2nd September 2019. I was filled with huge excitement to see some of my all time favorite bands. Bands who I have listened to since the day they released their first songs in Australia.  Little did we know the world was about to face such uncertainty. And during that uncertainty we had an addition to the line-up with Black Rebel Motorcycle Club and a change from Live to Cheap Trick, but for me I think that just opened up the crowd to more music lovers from a wider generation.  And now, almost 3 years later Under The Southern Stars has traveled around Australia and wrapped up 14 incredible shows. Congratulations to all involved in keeping this festival going. 

We were very lucky to attend both Caloundra and Gold Coast shows and this festival was 100% worth the wait! 

As we arrived at the Kings Beach Amphitheatre in Caloundra it felt like Christmas. We are going to see Black Rebel Motorcycle Club! Cheap Trick! Bush!! Stone Temple Pilots!! It’s finally happening! And the following day when we arrived on the Gold Coast to do it all again, my excitement level was probably double because I knew just how good it was going to be.  On Friday we had Electric Mary, Rose Tattoo, BRMC, Bush, Stone Temple Pilots and Cheap Trick headlined. And on Saturday we had Electric Mary, Rose Tattoo, BRMC, Cheap Trick, Stone Temple Pilots and Bush was our headliner. Either way the line up played, this festival was phenomenal! 

I love that there were 2 great Australian Rock Bands on this line up. Electric Mary absolutely slay!! Frontman Rusty is a straight up wild mother fucker on stage, I absolutely love his stage presence and accompanied by his roaring vocals Electric Mary opened both shows in epic fashion. Alex on Bass is a powerhouse and loves to entertain the crowd. These guys are a great Aussie band and it was great to see folks out supporting them. I even spied some Electric Mary shirts in the crowd which I thought was pretty awesome. 

Rose Tattoo belted onto the stage 2nd up on both days and you can tell they haven’t lost any of their passion. They are still as heavy and fun as ever. I still can’t understand a word Angry screams, yet I somehow know all the lyrics. Playing their Aussie Anthems ‘Bad Boy for Love’ and ‘We Can’t Be Beaten’, it’s clear why these guys are so ingrained in Aussie Rock. We just love them. And so does Cheap Trick! Both bands singing the others praises during their sets. Was also great seeing Paul DeMarco back behind the kit.

Black Rebel Motorcycle Club was added to the line up during the changes forced by Covid, and the California Rock Band showed us why they were added to the bill. Their sound is unique with an almost blues/country undertone, but I must say I didn’t find that sound as prevalent live as I do on their albums. The band has some great songs, but I hate to say I don’t know that they delivered in this line-up. Their stage presence is a little lackluster and I don’t think I saw one of them crack a smile even once. I understand this may be part of their ‘performance style’ but I think it was a little lost on the crowd here. More energy in their delivery would have kept the crowd pumped, but I found their sets were a ‘break time’ for a lot of punters. 

With the 3 headlining acts swapping out each night, in Caloundra the 1st of the 3 big bands was Bush. These guys took the stage with ferocity. Smashing out the naming track off their latest release album ‘The Kingdom’ then straight into ‘Machinehead’ the crowd was immediately at their mercy. Gavin Rossdale at the helm of this band is just something so special. He is one of the most passionate lead singers I have seen live, he left absolutely everything on the stage. We heard several songs off their latest album including ‘Bullet Holes’, ‘Blood River’ and ‘Flowers On A Grave’ and I spoke with Gavin at the press conference about just how excited he was to finally tour these new songs. We also heard some of the biggest hits from Bush, with the song that started it all, ‘Everything Zen’, a beautiful stripped back version of ‘Glycerine’ performed Solo by Gavin and the perfect ending to their set with ‘Comedown’. Seeing Bush live was a dream of mine and I can tell you, I did not want to come down off this cloud! Bush are as amazing today as they were in the 90’s and I cannot wait to see them back in Australia soon. 

Stone Temple Pilots was up next and this is the first time they have toured Australian with frontman Jeff Gutt. I think Jeff is sensational, his vocals are so well suited to the band and the songs and his stage presence is off the charts. He has his own swagger and I think Stone Temple Pilots stole the show both nights. The band is still as tight as ever with the DeLeo brothers Robert and Dean and the always amazing Eric Kretz on the drums, the band show why they are revered world wide. They opened their sets with ‘Wicked Game’ straight into ‘Vaseline’ and the crowd was erupting. We heard ‘Plush’, ‘Interstate Love Song’ and the first song Jeff recorded with the band and one of my personal favorites ‘Meadow’. We got absolute classics were you could almost hear the crowd above the band with ‘Dead & Bloated’ and they closed out with ‘Sex Tyle Thing’! They told us they will be back and I already cannot wait! 

Headlining the show in Caloundra, Cheap Trick took the stage as the rain stopped with Robin Zander’s commanding outfit and vibe. Off their 1980’s album ‘All Shook Up’ the first song we were treated to was ‘Stop the Game’. Cheap Trick are known for always changing their set every night and that meant we got to hear some great songs over the 2 nights. Friday we heard ‘One on One’, ’ Wrong All Along’, and ‘Ain’t That a Shame’, Saturday they opened with ‘Way of the World’ and continued with hits like ‘That 70’s Song’, ‘Light Up the Fire’ and ‘The Flame’. On both nights they played some of their most infamous hits ‘Dream Police’, ‘I Want You to Want Me’ and ‘Surrender’. Robin’s son Robin Taylor Zander (RTZ) on guitar and back up vocals is an amazing addition to the sound. Cheap Trick, in their 70’s have still got it. The band’s performance is so much fun from Robin’s moves to Rick Nielsen flicking countless guitar picks into the crowd and the whole band just looking to have so much fun, it was infectious!

Under the Southern Stars was what our music loving selves need. But there was a distinct difference between the Friday and Saturday shows for me and I’m sure anyone else who was lucky enough to attend those 2 shows. 

On Friday all the bands were sensational but on Saturday they were just something a little extra. They were leaving everything on the stage, not just for us, but for their fallen comrade, their friend, Taylor Hawkins.  Towards the end of Electric Mary’s set Rusty softly sung into the microphone, ‘there goes my hero’, a beautiful dedication that brought a tear to my eye.  Cheap Trick paid dedication by playing Taylor’s favorite song of theirs, and a song they had performed together with him, ‘Stiff Competition’.  Jeff Gutt of Stone Temple Pilots dedicated their set to Taylor with a kiss to the sky which was a very moving moment.  And Gavin Rossdale brought us all to tears when he talked to us about the last time he saw Taylor and the conversation they had, and then dedicated his solo performance of Glycerine to his friend. And when he had moments of emotional struggle the crowd picked up the lyrics and sang to Taylor for him. I can honestly say that it was an incredibly special moment. We at Hear2Zen are sending our love to Taylor’s family, the Foo Fighters and all whose lives he enriched from friends to fans. 

Music truly is medicine. When I am at a gig I feel this energy, this enormous release from people all around throwing their inhibitions to the side and dancing the day and night away. The smiles on peoples faces and the joy in the crowd is a beautiful thing. In that moment all the horrible things going on in the world, the hardships we have faced over the last few years, it all just disappears and for those few hours we are filled with love and light in the most genuine and unifying way. 

There were some incredible moments over the 2 days we attended UTSS, I will always have the best memory of the first time i got to see Stone Temple Pilots and dancing as the rain came down during ‘Sex Type Thing’ ! Jeff Gutt stopped the show on Saturday night midway through ‘Down’ to break up a fight in the crowd! You have my upmost respect Jeff, I agree with you ‘there is enough hate in this fucking world’. Jeff you have earnt your place in STP and in the hearts of Australia!

Being in the pit when Rick Nielsen of Cheap Trick threw out handfuls of pics to the crowd and having half of them shower over me as fans begged for me to give them one! I found and gave out as many as I could!  Gavin Rossdale’s acapella verse in Glycerine that was just vocally outstanding! And the moments he jumped on the barrier and got up close with the fans. I love this stuff!  The moments just kept coming. All day and all night and everyone left with that reignited love for seeing live music. 

Under the Southern Stars could have given up. The Artists could have given up. The continuous work it has taken to keep this festival on track is something I will continue to be grateful for. The line up changed along the way, there were many hurdles and hoops that had to be jumped through and lots of changes took place, but the drive and determination to bring International acts back to Australia remained and I thank and congratulate everyone at 1 World Entertainment and Maric Media for all your efforts. Touring International artists keeps our people in jobs, 100’s and 100’s of people who in the last few years haven’t had this work, this comradery of touring that they are used to. It is so good to see all the road crews, the security guards, the photographers, the merch crews and bar staff right through the the folks keeping the grounds clean all day and night. I am so happy to see you all and I thank you for your work! 

It takes so many people to get all of this done. Those people are my heros. Thank you so much! 

Until the next gig 

Hayley

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: