Hotter than Hell Tour
[Review by Sarah List]
The Hotter than Hell Tour cruised into Adelaide for its third outing as the nation’s premier 90s and early 00s music fest full. Previously featuring acts such as Grinspoon, The Superjesus and Jebediah, this year’s event at the Gepps Cross Cooper’s Ale House took a decidedly skater punk direction. Featuring headliners Everclear, plus Unwritten Law, Frenzel Rhomb, The Grates, Area 7 and Young Offenders, the question was – would the rain hold out for the mosh to go off?
We just arrived as Young Offenders were wrapping up their energetic set to a dedicated group of early arrival punters. The rain was falling and the ponchos on sale to fundraise for the CFS were in high demand and seemed to be just enough to keep the crowd happy and dry.
Area 7 were next up and were set to prove their reputation as being Australia’s hardest working and most successful punk/ska outfit. Despite the membership changes over the years, the present lineup proved tight and vibrant. Opening with crowd favorite Leave me Alone, the punters found their voice to chime in at top volume, with the energy peaking for Nobody likes a Bogan.
Of the bands on the day’s bill, The Grates were probably the biggest wildcard act, not quite fitting the punk brief, however the energy from a pogoing Patience Hodgson made perfect sense on stage. Decked out in a classic Woman’s Weekly 1980s pattern clown costume, Hodgson gave a rocketing performance couched in kooky indie vibes. Their poppy offerings delighted the punters and provided an excellent segway into the frenetic sounds of Frenzel Rhomb.
Prior to the Frenzel set, guitar superstar Lindsay McDougall mingled in the crowd, and many of the punters discovered they in fact were one of those people who would lose their cool and ask for a selfie – to which McDougall happily obliged. Once on stage, Frenzel kicked the vibe up a bunch of notches by cheekily cutting in on the between band filler track Rain by Dragon. Russell Crowe’s Band saw the first of the crowd surfing and empty bottle hurling, which only intensified with Bird Attack, Mr Charisma and You are not my Friend.
What could match Frenzel? Unwritten Law were arguably the unofficial winners of the lineup if the crowd volume was anything to go by. I came to Unwritten Law with fresh ears as I was unfamiliar with them, but I was certainly alone in that respect as the crowd were in full voice for their smashing set of chord driven punk harmonies. Teenage Suicide lit up the stage, and Seein’ Red and Up All Night had every voice in the place singing. Closing out with More than You, it was up to Everclear to tie up the day.
A frustrating mic technical glitch took some of the shine off of the thumping opener So Much for the Afterglow, but it was a perfect track choice to kick start proceedings. Working their way through their back catalogue, the Sparkle and Fade era really held centre stage in mix. Art Axelakis snuck in a couple of acoustic tracks – American Movie (about his daughter) and Strawberry, which gave a blissful counterpoint to the high energy of the majority of the set. Crowd favorites Heroin Girl, Father of Mine and Local God (from Baz Luhrmann’s Romeo + Juliet Soundtrack) set the crowd alight, and Santa Monica sung by all to the last shreds of sunset gave perfect closure to the day.
Regarding the venue setup, there were a few grumbles from punters about the limited food and beverage options (with a number running out early in the day), but on the whole the event was well put together and punters left happy.