Cherry Rock 2017
Cherry Bar AC/ DC LANE
Sunday May 07 2017
Legendary Cherry Bar welcomed once again rock lovers in the heart of the city. The 11th edition of Cherry Rock featured a diverse line-up with 13 bands from 6 countries and a brand new kids music mural by Mike Makatron and local artists as a backdrop to set the scene in the crowded laneway. It is the ultimate hard rock festival for leather clad punters to sink their teeth into at one of Melbourne’s iconic venues.
It wasn’t even one o’clock and Wollongong’s Totally Unicorn were already wreaking havoc along AC/DC lane. The cold Melbourne weather was no deterrent for these guys as they day broke the ice, opening the festival with a powerful performance which got the early crowds entertained. The frontman screamed frantically making imaginary snow angels on the asphalt.
Mornington Peninsula’s Stiff Richards followed up on the Cherry Bar stage. Their frontman joked: “Rock n´roll is not about rudeness” before contorting crazily and playing the air guitar laying in the floor amongst the crowd.
Back to the laneway action, punk-rock band Dwarves singer Blag Dahlia reminded everyone of being the greatest rock band of the US; three decades and counting of true, loud, aggressive and controversial sound. An intense performance capped by Dahlia’s crowdsurfing and high- fiveing all the way to the entrance of the festival.
Self described comedy act local Zombitches kept the party going, playing with a mixture of casual nonchalance and excitement , making for an interesting set. The boys seemed to be having a lot of fun- they just didn’t want the crowd to know that too much- its all about attitude at times.
Nashville Pussy showed pure southern rock and roll grit. Not even two songs into the set,
with a bottle of Jack Daniels in lieu of his guitar was able to slow down lead singer Blaine Cartwright, who was determined to have a good time regardless, while his wife Ruyter Suys and bassist Bonnie Buitrago charmed the audience with their kicks, head-bangs and ultimate rockstar attitude.
Hailing from Indonesia to add to the international flavour Mooner transported the crowd to the 70s with a dose of psychedelic blues and hypnotic melodic vocals, the indoor crowd absolutely devoted to the guitar solos and theatrical performance from frontman M. Absar Lebeh.
The third US act of the day was Californian legend and multi-instrumentalist Brant Bjork, whose jams infused Cherry Rock with a groovy desert vibe. Special guest Captain Sean Wheeler’s energy got the crowd fired-up heading into the night as the temperature dropped, body heat the keeping punters warm in the cramped alley way.
Midway trough the festival appeared Lo-fi garage punk Amyl & The Sniffers, decked out in green and black VB tees and taking pride in their rather bogan 70s haircuts . Front woman Amy Taylor went from flirting to spitting water to throwing punches and the crowd absolutely loved her. Moshing got the craziest on the evening while AC/DCs ‘Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap’ seemed like the perfect cover at the perfect moment. Her energy was infectious and the bogan-styling worked well with Amy resembling every bogan mechanics ultimate pin- up fantasy as she shakes her mullet with vigour.
Bottlecap were up next to bring high-energy rock trio a flashback of last year’s Kadavar performance. Wild, unpredictable, furious; looking even taller on top of the drums and speakers and pretty much everywhere while paying their respects to fellow countrymen The Hives with their rendition of ‘Tick Tick Boom.’
Child delivered a mix of psych blues and hard rock that transformed the energy from previous acts into a slower yet visceral and emotional mood. The local act continued the momentum other bands had begun with by taking to the stage with an energetic performance.
All the way from Spain, Bala female duo V on drums and Anx behind the guitar and voice shred the main stage with the heaviest sound of the night. If the purpose of the band (as stated by them) has always been to make a lot of noise, then their brutal performance proved they are a total success.
Kelompok Penerbang Roket trio were in charge of closing the night for the Cherry stage. Their genuine raw psychedelic rock displayed multiple influences from the 60’s and 70’s and got every single person cheering for more.
Back to the laneway veterans of the scene and headliners Shihad got he crowds jumping to their heavy industrial and post-grunge sound of an overall solid and energetic performance. “Cheap as fuck” chants were dedicated to past and present Prime Ministers and The Ace of Spades encore to cap off an amazing festival; a true cherry on the top of what has been an action packed line up for music lovers crammed into AC/DC lane to once again witness the event.
A few minutes later James Young thanks everybody, gently inviting the 200 thirstiest to stay, the remaining 650 to leave. A passer by on his way out shouts “Well done people, you are fantastic”. We start lining up, missing Cherry Rock 2017 already.
Words by by Gus Morainslie
Images by Jose Sanchez