Hot Fest II @ The Gov, Adelaide 2/6/2019

Hot Fest in 2018 showcased Australian rock music successfully last year in Sydney and Melbourne. This year, Hot Fest 2, as its imaginatively titled, expands to include Gold Coast, Townsville and today, Adelaide.

The Gov is the venue for eight rock acts of various experience finishing with the Aussie rock icon Swanee on this dreary second day of winter. While it’s cold and wet outside, inside it’s heating up. Well it is called Hot Fest for a reason.

Opening the day’s events is Cassidy Paris, a 16 year old talent from Melbourne, performing an acoustic set with her father. With songs titled Walking On Fire and Song For The Broken Hearted, Cassidy’s mussic are melodic tracks of emotions. Tales of love all to familiar to teenagers, her music has country tinged vocals in the vein of Taylor Swift while displaying that early Avril Lavigne punk sense of style.

Next is Adelaide’s own The Menace, a classic rock band who could quite literally fill in for Anvil. Arriving on stage in a skeleton mask and dark gown, they throw the costume away, turn the volume up and rock hard. An ode to Adelaide called My City is a groovy blues based rock track and the set doesn’t let up, complete with choreographed head banging sequence to finish the set.

Tyler James are from Melbourne and they are a modern throwback to the early 90’s rock music scene. Resplendent with a flashing bass guitar, the five piece have melodies straight from Bon Jovi’s catalogue. It’s classic propane fuelled stadium rock. Full of riffs, sing along lyrics and bombastic drums.

With an impending tour of Japan coming up, The Babes are just warming up. A 100mph, wind in your hair, powering down the highway warm up right enough. The bar room brawling It Ain’t Easy, the sleazy Down & Out and anthem Got No Soul are the sound of a bike suitably warmed up with nothing but the open road up ahead.

The volume is turned down for Marie Wilson who completes the day’s second acoustic performance. With a raspy roar to cut glass, Wilson has a powerful voice. Mixing her own compositions with covers such as Life Is A Highway amongst others, she is a soulful rock singer who could still belt it out over a band however has the subtleties to captivate a room on her own.

Forty years ago Taste were about to crack the big time worldwide. Then they stopped. In recent years they’ve made a comeback and while the may not reach the top of the charts, their music is exceptionally tight. This band can groove with the best as showcased with the riff in I Am God which is one the heaviest of the day, highlighting just how good this band are as musicians.

What can you say about Kevin Borich that hasn’t been said in Australia already. So I won’t bring up the past, I’ll focus on tonight. Making the strat talk in a way the old blues guitarists used too, Borich is a storyteller of wine, women and song that wouldn’t be out of place in a whisky bar in New Orleans.

Last but certainly not least is Adelaide royalty in John ‘Swanee’ Swan. The former Party Boy takes to the stage and sets about the venue with his old time rock n roll. Cuts such as Jealous Guy show Swanee as the entertainer he is. Bantering with the crowd, engaging in jokes with his band, it’s a fun way to finish the weekend.

The set up of Hot Fest is to bring legendary acts with up and coming outfits across the country, bringing new audiences to both sides. This is the first year the show has gone national and based on the declaration from the promoters, there will be a Hot Fest 3. For now, get down this cold winter and get warm at Hot Fest 2. It’s nice and toasty.

Live Review By Iain McCallum