The Still Lovin’ Chopper festival is an event with a difference. It celebrates Choppers-not the comedian or the infamous one, but the bikes, hundreds of them combined with rock music.
It’s a beautiful summer day in Sydney and the crowd, despite being decked out in biker regalia are in good spirits as they swop stories about motorcycles and horsepower.
But not even a Chopper show is immune to Covid and two bands have been forced to pull out prior to the show, due to members coming down with the virus and this leaves a few gaps in the line-up.
First up are Smoki Mirror, kicking off the festival with a solid set. Cattle Dog, are meant to be the next band up but they’ve been felled by Covid.
Outcest are next up, with their bassist and guitarist, whipping his impressive dreadlocks into a frenzy. It’s like watching a manic, many-tentacled octopus on speed prowl the stage.
Face Command take the stage. The singer immediately takes on a combatorial attitude towards the crowd, willing them on, daring them to get involved. A hyperkinetic performance follows that eventually leads to one of the most bizarre spectacles that I have ever witnessed at a rock show. Beer spilled on the mosh pit floor is used to create a makeshift slide and soon punters and the lead singer are crashing around in front of the stage like deranged dodgem cars.
Next, channeling Bob Log, the lead singer dons a crash helmet which has a cymbal and flashing lights powered by an electric lead. He goes into the crowd like a psychotic bell diver. The crowd is running at him and hitting the cymbal, it’s a miracle that he manages to stay on his feet. Eventually there is an electric short, perhaps caused by the power tail on the crash helmet being exposed to beer on the mosh pit floor and the band has to stop, because the amps are without power.
Shit Tinnies are crowd pleasers with their reggae-infused punk rock. They get the crowd moving – there are lots of smiling faces around, even in the beer-infused mosh pit.
Crash and The Crapenters, the Sydney proto punks take the stage. Chris is wearing a Patti Smith T shirt – it’s a nod to his roots. The Crapenters are tight as ever as Chris weaves his way around the stage, his dance moves reminiscent of Iggy Pop. He is the consummate showman, clearly loves performing and the crowd love him back, soon he is joined onstage by a number of fans who are just lapping up the action.
This week brought the bad news of yet another casualty for Sydney’s live music venues, with the Lansdowne set to close down. After two years of Covid having a devastating impact on the local music scene, with little or no action from the state or federal governments, it is great to have local musicians take to the stage again.
And that’s where the festival ends for me because I need to rush across Sydney to view the Alanis Morissette documentary as part of the Antenna Festival, it’s dichotomous end to a great day. But more of that later.