Dead Of Winter Festival

The Jubilee Hotel, Brisbane

July 14th 2012

Reviewed by Bec Hennessy

The zombie apocalypse infected Brisbane’s Jubilee Hotel on Saturday 14th of July. Threatened briefly by the noise police early in the afternoon (“hit the drums softer” was the comical advice received from the powers that be) the zombie hordes prevailed until the early hours.

Dead of Winter Festival is now in its fourth year, drawing a colourful and enthusiastic array of undead patrons keen to sample some of Brisbane’s (and Australia’s) best punk, rock and metal acts.  Over fifty acts across five stages for fifty dollars. Hey, even brain-dead zombies know good value.

First up was local stoner rockers Shellfin.  Drawing a loyal, low-key head-nodding crowd, they wound through their set with a focus, which belies their self-deprecating claim to be ‘a bunch of hacks playing some weak Kyuss tunes’. New material was well received, ending with a burst of mosh pit movement during the final jam which included the refrain from Public Enemy’s ‘911 is a joke’.

Feline Down brought their blend of industrial pop – and one very enthusiastic front row dancer. The combination of rock guitars and synth works for them, but it seemed a shame the crowd didn’t react as well they should.   Frontwoman Brodie-Ann Wright’s  sweet, sexy yet ominous vocals grab my attention, as does a cover of  “Living Dead Girl” predictable? Yes. Popular? Hell yes. The crowd swelled as she undulated her way through the Rob Zombie classic complete with breathy moans. Sexy and dangerous.

Darckc3ll proved popular with their Combichrist-esque stage make up and sound. A dedicated goth following surged, moshing along. Despite my own ambivalence, the crowed loved them – and a cover of NIN’s ‘Head like a Hole’ went off.

Astriaal weren’t originally part of the “plan” – but from the shrouded singers first guttural cry and the bruising pace I decided to get my black metal fix. The pit now finally cracking 3 deep, with frontman Arzarkhel alternately conjuring, and seeking an instantly received worship.

Now the mosh was indeed warmed up, even a vague circle pit emerged for metal legends Segression. Bringing a heavy riff assault, coupled with growling yet melodic vocals honed over their decade long career. Their reputation well-earned and won through a maniacal work ethic. Dedicating a song to a recently deceased grandmother, and stating “You are all welcome at my house anytime” further cemented them as the kind of down to earth metal band that dispenses with pomp and ceremony and gets on with the job.

“Brisbane has the sexiest women” – Brothers Grim and The Blue Murders chat us up in a smoky joint you forget the name of. [Their reputation precedes them so I had high hopes.] It’s bluesy, dirty finger picking good. A raucous and charismatic show – that rounds out the remainder of the day.

It’s a long day for the zombie horde. But, hailing a cab home whilst watching an assortment of green, blood spattered smudgy eyed undead tumble out of the Jube. There was a gleam in their eyes that had nothing to do with brains.  They’ll rise again next year.

[You can check out photos from the Festival at: ]



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