Froth & Fury @ Pirate Life Brewing, Port Adelaide SA 18/11/2023

As the sun sets during the third instalment of Froth & Fury Festival at Pirate Life Brewing, a mass of horn saluting, headbanging, mosh pitting, boisterous metal fans are scrambling and climbing fences to get a view of the glorious return of Sunk Loto to our state, in what is the golden sunset picturesque moment of the triumphant day.

A day that starts early at 11am with queues forming to get into the biggest Froth & Fury yet. Aiming for an official attendance of 3,500 , it’s the hottest ticket in town and everyone who is anyone is here. Long lost friends, family, co-workers all greeting each other in what very quickly becomes a celebration of live music, friendship, good beer and great times.

The set up stretches out over three stages, which are far enough apart to not bother each other yet close enough that a quick one minute walk had you in front of the pirates of the seven seas Lagerstein on the Fury stage or the ghoulish Nocturnal Animals on the Explosive stage while still be near enough to get back for a Pepsi with Suicidal Tendencies on the Froth Stage.

The celebration of the day starts with Late Night Lies, with their catchy and crafty sense of classic pop punk, including a Taylor Swift cover, getting the blood pumping through the veins.

Vapours are brutally heavy with their crushing big riffs and people in the crowd quicken up their pace to make sure they are not missed as the sweat starts to show on the crowd. They are up for the big day, while Suffer The Evenue, dressed a 80’s American bike cops, season the crowd with a mix of metal and rap that goes down as well as the selection of pirate life beer I’m sampling.

After getting down and dirty with Emergency Rule and their barroom brawl of Sabbath and Maiden stank face riffs – including the colossus Ulysses which is as chunky and rocking as it sounds, it’s off for a bite to eat.

There are number of stalls for food including Vietnamese, BBQ, and a simple chicken and chips to choose from while for this pasty pale Scotsman, lots of shade and chairs to eat at out of the glaring sun. My skin thanks you.

The merchandise tent is really well thought out with two long sections parallel to each other, like market stalls, meaning queues are not long, and you get to be up close to the merch and bands selling their wares.

A quick check of Devilskin and their soulful singer Jennie Skulander, whose voice has that rasp that makes rock singers so emotional in their lyrics you are sent to another world, before I go and check out Black Diamond tattoo who have a stall here set up for those wanting a quick bit of ink on the day.

The set up of the whole festival is great. Chairs, shade, plenty of toilets, bars and food and despite three stages the festival has managed to do the impossible and have very little clashing of artists. Everything about this is comfortable and you can tell it’s been set up by fans of festivals who know what fans want..

I though strap myself in for a sledgehammer of talent to come crashing down on the Froth stage for the next few hours starting with Reliqa, whose intense short prog tracks full of hooks have the heads bobbing on the surface waiting to pulled onto the boat.

Windwaker explosive opening Dopamine Lifestyle turns the heat up in the mid afternoon sun, as vocalist Liam becomes chief conductor (and part time windmill) leading the crowd in hand waving frenzy during Lucy and Beautiful, crowd jumping during Superstitious Fantasy and more knee sliding than a premier league footballer as the party atmosphere is dialled in for one and all in a spray of beer and water.

RedHook bring with them their own party and in Emmy, dressed like she has escaped out of mental institution, is what rock n roll should be. It’s vibrant, fun and not without a little edge. One part sweet with security joining in the days fun by carrying children on their shoulders down front, or when Monique for Reliqa jumps on stage for the duet on Imposter, it also has that edge with snippets of Limp Bizkit Break Stuff. Hell there’s even a saxophone so this party has truly started.

In Australia though if there’s a party to be had, Ocean Grove will be on the guest list. Purveyors of a fun time, everyone from far and wide is invited in to their world. A colourful bouncy anthem filled sing a long tunes whether it’s Sex Dope Gold or Sunny, the circle pits and wall of deaths are commonplace as much as the crowd singing is, as space becomes a premium. The kinetic energy from Ocean Grove to the crowd is literally visible all round.

It’s been quiet some time since New Zealand’s Alien Weaponry were in Adelaide and the bristling crowd is ready for combat. Drummer Henry de Jong opens with the Haka and the band spend the next fifty minutes with crushing pounding rhythms that is extraordinarily a highlight in a day of highlights. Crowd surfers are going for it, those kids are back down the front and those tribal beats on Hatupatu make the band such a unique force you cannot fight the groove anymore, you just go with it.

After Sunk Loto’s Lazarus from the grave set as they tear through a play through of album Between Birth And Death to a crowd that cannot move – unless it’s jumping up and down, and they do a lot of that -, it’s time for Suicidal Tendencies as the crowd chant ST over and again.

Always a different type of experience, they open with You Can’t Bring Me Down and for the next hour it’s as epic as you’d expect. Drummer Greyson Nekrutman is a machine and Rob Trujillo son Tye, is a chip off the old block and commands his own space while Mike Muir is, well, Mike Muir. It’s his world and we catch a glimpse of the great man at his finest.

Headliners The Butterfly Effect are much of an enigma themselves, their music is timeless and their appearances rare which makes a night with them magical. Opening with Window And The Watcher, one of Australia’s finest have the crowd eating out of the palm of their hand.

I’m not sure if Clint Boge is wearing a dressing gown however when Always and So Tired sound this good, no one really cares. Such is the bands standing the VIP section has virtually members from every preceding band watching their set in what is a cherry on top of the icing on the cake that is Froth & Fury.

The organisers took a shot this year that if they built a festival this good, the punters would come. Oh they arrived alright! Makes you excited to think what’s in store for next year. Froth & Fury was a huge success, roll on instalment 4 in 24.

Live Review By Iain McCallum