Words: Freya Langley / Photos: Dave Court
Christmas had come early for Adelaide punks, with the Scumfest 2016 line-up serving up a heavenly gift of punk music at the Old Queens Theatre. This year’s line-up featured a diverse range of acts from South Australian natives, to Melburnians and Sydneysiders, newbies and punk veterans reuniting for the festival. Organisers managed to convince iconic local bands of yesteryear, 99 Reasons Why, Conation, Blood Sucking Freaks, Three Chain Break and Cheapshot to reunite for the festival, sending audiences into a time warp. Locals West Thebarton Brothel Party, God God Dammit Dammit and Stabbitha and the Wifey Knifeys, and visitors, Hannahband, Mere Women and Wolf Pack provided the trip back to 2016. With the sun shining, red-tins aplenty and live screen printing from the folks at Tooth and Nail, punters were certainly in for a treat.
Early 80’s style hardcore-punk outfit, Crisis Alert delivered a tight, heavy set with intense vocals supported by a strong, chaotic instrumental backline. Performing their in-your-face short and fast tracks, it is clear why Crisis Alert are one of the best punk acts in Adelaide. Vocalist Matthew “Footy” Horvath was joined by daughter and tiny-tot wunderkind Ruby Snow on guest vocals – Ruby demonstrates excellent control over a crowd, captivating her audience. We hear a rumour of a name change to “Ruby and the Crisis Alerts” is imminent.
Reuniting for Scumfest, Adelaide metal-hardcore veterans Three Chain Break performed a heavy, high-energy set to a large crowd. The four-piece paid homage to their traditional straight-edge hardcore roots with a performance of “Code” – a heavy throwback to 1990s hardcore.
Playing their first show in twelve years, Whyalla natives Cheapshot delivered the early 2000s pop-punk nostalgia for the night – performing an energetic set of their unique brand of pop-punk an endearing crowd of grown-up emo kids. The reunited band played a range of songs off of their early EP with the crowd enthusiastically singing along. Drummer Collin Love seemed to be having the best time of them all – smiling broadly throughout the band’s set.
Adelaide dark-psychedelic powerhouses The Dunes slotted in perfectly to the Scumfest line-up as the standalone psych-rock band on a predominantly punk bill. Teamed with mesmerising visuals from Colorfool, the six-piece delivered a hypnotising, fuzz-driven set. Finishing the set with their new single Mountain, with a punchy rhythm and Stacie Reeves’ heavily reverbed vocals - The Dunes left their audience happily dazed.
Mere Women were a clear standout of the day, with their unique brand of post-punk featuring dreamy tones and mesmerising vocals. Performing songs from their Your Town LP as well as their new single 'Drive' the Sydney four-piece cast a spell over the crowd, hypnotising them with their fiercely restless energy and angsty lyrics.
The Sydney-based two-piece Hannahband took to the stage, playing a boisterous, glittery and overwhelmingly fun set. Performing songs off their latest EP Quitting Will Improve Your Health, the dynamic guitar-drums duo tackled issues of gender through their unique brand of punk and high-energy stage presence and quality banter.
Sydneysiders, Totally Unicorn proved to be the highlight of the mini-festival, carrying out a mind-blowing, hyperactive and at times grotesque math-metalcore experience. The band characterised by punchy riffs, dad-bods and tie-dye, performed a range of songs from their early EPs and first full-length release, Dream Life. Front-man Drew Gardner thrashed among the crowd in a pair of tie-dye jocks, throwing milk-crates, setting off glitter cannons and climbing speakers; backed by an equally energetic line-up of heavy guitars and rhythm section. The booze-fuelled five-piece delivered arguably the most memorable set of the day.