War Of The Surf & Rock Guitar Festival @ Fort Glanville, Semaphore 24/2/2019

I have always thought Fort Glanville would the perfect set-up for either a rock show or a large scale Fringe show. With its layout representing somewhere between an amphitheatre and a cauldron all it needs is 500 people and a great line up.

With the Rock Vault doing their bit and piecing together a fantastic line up all that was needed was the punters to pack the place out. Headlined by powerhouse rockers Electric Mary, and with rock acts including Atomic Riot, Darcee Fox and Diva Demolition, in opposition to a surf rock entourage including hall-of-famer Chris Finnen, The Tim Gaze band and Gail Page the stage was set for a big day out.

Come midday on Sunday as gates opened and temperatures reaching 37’c, it must have been pushing well into the 40’s in the Fort Glanville cauldron. Needless to say the attendance suffered, and those in attendance were sticking to the outer walls trying to grab any slither of shade they possible could in the exposed arena. Unfortunately for the bands, this left front of stage rather bare for the majority of the day.

The opening stanza consisted entirely of surf rock with The Swinging Surf Sex Gods opening the day, followed by a surprisingly early performance by Chris Finnen. I’ll be the first to admit my knowledge on surf rock is limited. Very limited. But talent is talent and it was obvious that there was many years’ experience and some seriously fast fingers on display. Performances from Gail Page & The Master of Sin and Cosmic Bikini rounded out the first session of guitar rock with some highly entertaining solos and duels.

The rock session kicked off with female fronted hard rockers Shewolf, before a brief return to surf with the intriguing rock’n’rock of locals Moraygun. If the B-52s merged with the Misfits played some rockabilly infused 60s surf rock… they’d probably sound something like this.

In the blazing mid-afternoon sun, Melbourne based Darcee Fox copped the worst of the scorching sun. Dripping with sweat, the guys still put on a show overflowing with energy. Straight forward Aussie hard rock – these guys were soaked in it. They were followed up by fellow Melbournites Atomic Riot who brought their sleaze fuelled party rock to the Fort stage. Drawing one of the bigger crowds out of the shadows and to the front of stage…. the Riot boys gave their all.

As Diva Demolition took to the stage with their attitude ridden Australian rock some much sought-after shadows were finally creeping toward the front of stage area, and folks were slowly but surely creeping out of the shadows.  Finally, as the sun set and a cooling breeze picked up it was the conditions we had been hoping for all day we were treated to some fantastic atmospheric ramblings of the Tim Gaze Band. A few very familiar surf tunes and some ripping guitar solos rounded out the day’s surf rock contingent.

Up last , and drawing the biggest crowd of the day was Electric Mary. They have a reputation as a hard working, rocking, rolling band and just a few moments of their show shows why. Its rock n roll precision, spewing energy from every note, working the crowd to perfection. As the set closed, and the sun set on the first rock show I’ve managed to witness at The Fort, the final cannon salute rocked the neighbourhood. (Yes they were firing real cannons throughout the day).

It’s a shame the heat and the Sunday night factor worked against the organisers, but the show itself was high class and should have been appreciated by a much larger crowd that it was. Just hoping that it doesn’t put off Rock Vault (or any other promoters) for staging shows at the venue.  With a bit of care and attention it could become a brilliant live location in the suburbs of Adelaide.

Fringe Review By Lindsay Bulach

2 Comments

  1. This gig was definitely worth the trip over from Melbourne. Great lineup, well organised and great venue. I’m in for next year. More patrons will make this an awesome event.

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  2. I thought the line up was a bit ordinary. There were a few good bands like She Wolf, but they were on in the middle of the day. Electric Mary had played locally the night before in air conditioning, which was a bit of a failure of the organisers there. Some of the performers were unknown and quite unpractised but seemed to be present in every second band, perhaps the organisers cousins or something, and at least two bands had exactly the same lineup. Diva Demolition although billed highly was missing the lead singer/songwriter. I think the lineup and not the venue was the cause of the complete lack of advance ticket sales, which is a shame because Fort Granville would be awesome with a festival lineup of fresher acts.

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