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Gig Review: Winter Solstice Festival, Barwon Club, Geelong- 22 June 2019

The first annual Winter Solstice Festival kicked off at The Barwon Club Hotel in Geelong on the 22nd of June 2019.
The festival worked with artists to adorn the walls and room with installations, and art to create an exhibition alongside tunes from local and interstate musicians.

Winter Solstice occurs exactly when the Earth’s axial tilt is the furthest away from the sun which creates the longest time of darkness and in Pagan times (also known as Yule) focused on the rebirth of the sun believing to hold powerful energies for regeneration and renewal in celebration of the moon Goddess. They believe that on this day the moon gave birth to the sun.
This happens in the in the Southern Hemisphere in June, and in the Northern in December.

The DJ’s began warming the crowd up in the outdoor room from 3PM as the day kicked off and they continued to keep the crowd moving through the day and well into the night where everyone gathered to dance, sing and have a place to chill between bands.

The first band to start the day was Cry Baby from Geelong with their crushing set with their grungy soul filled music with the ever-brilliant Brianna Dahlstrom smashing crowd with her powerful extensive vocal range. The bands enthusiasm and interactions on the stage had the crowd surging with glee and drew everyone onto the floor to boogey down to the band’s incredible sounds with Rachael Hobbs’ mesmerizing sax solos.

Local Geelong boys Aya Aya took the stage next and again continued to take the energy from Cry Baby’s set and whipped the crowd into another frenzy with their fused somewhat sleazy blues with a twist of absolute psychedelic grooves liquifying the walls with their crunchy guitar riffs.

Defenestration took to the pit this time and not the stage. The guys became one with the crowd pulling out a dose of death metal for the crowd. A pit opened up with the band and vocalist joined in the flailing arms and legs in a mini human filled tornado.


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Spawn utilised the already high of the crowd and took them on a psychedelic journey with an absolute tsunami of enthusiastic frenzy with their sludgy and stoner music vibes. They sucked the crowd which had gathered outside into the room with the almost hypnotic sounds indoors to witness the absolute brilliance on the stage.

Local favourites and well-established legends within the music industry Blackhelm were up next with their flawless speedy delicious black metal thrashy goodness. Just having released their second single from their new album DARK CLOUDS OF THE INFERNO; ‘The Infinite Void on this very day front man Rob Widowmaker’s vocals are like an absolute slap in the face that you didn’t know you wanted but thoroughly enjoyed to have happened to your ears and would encourage for it to happen repeatedly. Taking in the pure enjoyment for the entire band as they interact on stage combined with the insane tantalising technically tight riffages from Cam Roberts and Mika Kohlman on guitar, Tim Anderon’s furious whirlwind of hair and god like bass abilities, and finally Matthew Cleary’s domination on the drums round out this band perfectly which was indicative by the packed crowd.

The second last band were Arse hailing from Sydney with their savage punk rock which twisted the night and crowd into a head spinning delightful direction as the punters were treated to an incredible and excellently woven set with sheer quality and levelled out punky goodness.

The headliner Totally Unicorn from Sydney, what can one say about this band that has not been said already? You can talk about this band and describe the sheer chaos/insanity that happens but words will never be enough. This is one band that you need to, and have to see for yourself. I am not sure how lead vocalist Drew Gardner did not end up with a broken neck as he climbed on top of everything, rearranged furniture and the drumkit; not to mention jumping behind the bar to serve a few beers to the punter’s whist continuing to rage into the microphone. Aaron Streatfeild’s gut punching guitar riffs, Adam Myer’s terrifying bashing on the drums and Lee Nielson’s uppercut bass noise just turn this band into a visual and bodily experience that is felt from no other band. This band will leave you wanting more and most certainly will give you an addiction to feeling like you are being drawn into a natural disaster (in a good way) that you want to happen again and again and again.

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