Hotter Than Hell @ Coopers Alehouse, Gepps Cross SA 1/2/2020

The Hotter Than Hell festival returns for a third year, bringing with it classic punk bands from your youth while sprinkling a few newer gems into the mix. Placing itself in areas outside the norm for gigs, today’s event is in the northern Adelaide suburb of Gepps Cross. The event is designed to be a fun nostalgic day for when Triple J ruled the airwaves, skating was life and we sang of far off places in California.

The irony of the names festival is not lost on the hardy few who enter early into the outdoor venue in driving rain to get a spot and check out Young Offenders who gets the days local spot. The band themselves are blend of Arctic Monkeys British punk with the humour that makes Aussie bands stand out from their peers. It’s tough with the weather however for those who did venture early would not have been left disappointed.

The venue itself is easy to navigate. There’s a couple of food stalls and plenty of bar space for your reasonably festival priced beverages. Every angle has a good view of the stage meaning you don’t miss a piece of the action. The two giant trees give shelter in what looks like a gig in someone’s back garden and not a pub car park, which is a very pleasant twist.

Which is vital when Melbourne’s Area 7 get going. They drag everyone to the front making a mockery of the rain as they attempt to bring sunshine to the event with their ska punk shenanigans. Singer Stevo engages the crowd as he makes his own way around the venue sharing mic duties with the audience on the Angel’s classic Am I Ever Going To See Your Face Again? and Nobody Likes A Bogan. It’s raucous, highly entertaining and you’re singing the lyrics long after the set has finished.

Brisbane’s The Grates see the happy chaotic scenes before them and match everyone’s intensity. There is aerobics, high energy dancing and vocalist Patience gets the crowd to make a simultaneous kissing sound while the band deliver a electro punk one fingered salute to the weather. The sense of the day is fun. Despite the weather everyone just gets on with it, singing, drinking and dancing in the puddles that have been forming around the venue.

That sense of partying continues with the legendary Aussie scallywags themselves Frenzal Rhomb. In true fashion, the songs fly by before you can blink however each leaves it mark. Whether it’s about mommy not knowing your political leanings or the virtues of Russell Crowe’s band, every audience member knows every lyric. The crowd surfers are all topped by a lady in a wheelchair floating over them. Chaotic, anarchic , it’s a Frenzal Rhomb show after all.

Coming in hot after that are the big boys. Unwritten Law step up to the plate first in a haze of smoke and beach balls. The venue is packed as the San Diego crew roll back the years and deliver classic after classic. She Says, Save Me, Up All Night and they even whip out the acoustic guitar for Rest Of My Life. Virtually everyone is in full on party mode as the weather finally clears and the band finish with More Than You Are.

The knockout blow on a highly successful day comes from Everclear who, after a few early sound problems, deliver a set list that ranges their whole career. Heroin Girl and Amphetamine are energetic while the epically glorious The Twistinside sparks all the right chemicals in the brain to life. Art Alexakis converses with the crowd throughout the set however its all just foreplay before the day finishes with a celebratory version of Santa Monica.

The day was a success, the venue excellent, it is easy to see the stage and the crowd well behaved as everyone enjoys the event. All this despite the rain that fell during the day. It made the lyrics of Santa Monica still being sung by the exiting masses even more ironically sweeter.

Live Review By Iain McCallum