So I called this an Experience instead of a review cause its more sharing my thoughts as appose to trying to rate the show given the many complexities of it. But there will be some Review elements within
So this all began when I saw the headline acts and wasn’t overly interested at first. Had Korn been on that line up I would have been one of the first to Buy VIP, it turned out my bro Taron ( or scripture if you watch our twitch channel) bought a VIP ticket and couldn’t make the event so he gave his ticket to me. Lets take a moment to appreciate that legend
There was some doubt about the show in the hours leading up to it, a very strict set of rules which didn’t seem to be overly enforced upon arrival, the event had been moved inside and the outside ‘ Festival’ appeared on paper to be a bit weak. But hey it didn’t cost me anything other than the $5 parking over the road so lets get at it.
I strategically aimed to get to the gates about 20 mins after they opened so as to avoid any ques, but it seemed a lot of people did that and it was a slow trickle in the gate right up until Sublime took the stage. Now, having a VIP pass meant that there were a few perks, at $199 over the $125? GA ticket I’d say it was worth it. This gave a bar upstairs at the back of the venue, with seating and nibbles and hot food ( actually reasonably priced, not that I bought any) but the more important perk was that it granted access to the front part of the pit. which at first I thought was a bit stupid but if you can afford the difference it was worth it, I was no more than 2 people back from the very front for every act I watched. I think the problem this presents is some of the really hard core fans that would have had to have saved for the GA would have missed out.
The outdoor area of the event was all rather, quaint. There were some lowriders of which a mate had a car in, there was a fairground ride, just the one. 4 food vendors and a beer tent. and some crap from some shitty radio station I had no interest in. What the outdoor area really ended up being was a place for everyone to fan out of the event between sets to chill and smoke and socialize. Which leads over back to the inside. there was only 1 stage. For a Festival, 1 stage seems pretty weak – sure they were battling the weather so decided to move it inside but as I understand it, it would have been 1 stage outside too. this creates 2 significant problems. firstly wait times between sets, but also if the act that’s on isn’t your cup of tea, there’s nothing else to check out, amplified by the fact there wasn’t much entertainment outside of the main stage. Given that I went Solo it was a great time to make new friends, I’l touch on that shortly.
Now we all know how this works, these acts were in Australia for Download so its easier to get them here from Aus than it is to do the whole thing yourself. In that sense given the time constraints I think they pulled it together, It might sound like I’m being harsh but think of it more as constructive criticism. The sound quality was decent if you were in the pit but if you were drinking up the back, it was a little muddy and faded out. the whole thing was much smaller than what I had expected, being the type of person that used to go to Australia for the festivals like Soundwave this seemed like a bar gig but that was almost a redeeming feature given I high-fived Jared from Hed P.E. on the stairs it made it more personal an experience,; granted this would have been more so for those that paid extra for VIP.
As for going Solo, it made it better. The last few bands I’d really wanted to see live for example Tool I went with my girlfriend at the time who kinda put a different spin on it, as appose to just getting in the pit and enjoying the moments as they came and went. It was only by chance that I got a ticket so I hadn’t organized anyone to go with. Certainly I bumped into a heap of people I know and made some new friends in the pit. The thing I enjoyed most about it was there were so many people on the best buzzes so I just gravitated towards them and rocked out. There was also a huge amount of weed going around. Naturally I politely declined cause I think my mum might read this but yeah.. happy daze.
Overall a great experience and a good festival that has a lot of room to grow, which I hope it does. These guys are effectively doing the same thing West Fest did with Soundwave. and that grew into an epic show. Fingers Cross.
As for the Acts.
Hed P.E. I’d been a fan of since the early 2000’s I guess? when they said they were going to play older songs and I those were the ones I knew the best and loved I realized I’m getting old but who gives a fuck they threw down an epic set with highs and lows and different takes on songs I love, there was a massive Marley / Rasta influence in their re workings of their songs and given what that dude just gave me it was most welcome
Sublime with Rome.
These guys came out for something a while back, I looked into it and being anyone else other than the orginal singer I didnt think i could deal with it. Again sublime for me was something that was very close to my heart. Back in the days of Beaches and Riding bikes living down in wellington working on the waterfront over the summers was what I associated Sublime with, Until. I went to play a NYE show with an old band I was in and every motherfucker from the north shore in a BMW was playing the same 3 songs and kinda tainted it.
But you know what… Best set of the evening for me. Rome killed it, I’d go so far to say he carried the whole set when they come back for their own tour I will be there!
I think Limp is a good word to describe Fred Durst in this set, it felt very mechanical and forced like he didn’t even want to be there. which was a shame cause 3 dollar Bill ( of which none was played) was one of those formative albums for me back in the day. This is the thing with meeting people you’ve watched / listened to for years and then experience in real life can be hit or miss. I now like Limp Bizkit less now having seem them live, I missed them at the last Soundwave they played due to female drama so I was amping to see them live to relive that youth but I think I’d rather have not seen them live and enjoyed the memories for what I remember them to be. Not a ‘ I cant be fucked being here but it pays so here I am’ Durst
Overall I enjoyed Storm The Gates, its a big gamble putting on a show like this ( hence why I got out of event management) and I think it panned out well. I really wish them the best to make the next one bigger and better and get more of the Download acts over for a real festival the likes of early Big Day Outs.
plz don’t tell my mum I was high xo