Pandemonium Festival

Caribbean Gardens

There is a freshness to the air and punters are rugged up for the inaugural Pandemonium festival. With an eclectic mix  of bands on the billing, and winter approaching the festival heralds the last of summer vibes.

Opening up the afternoons star studded line up are local rocker Aimee Francis gets the crowd ready for what is to be an entertaining evening of music.  The crowd are eager to have a good time, and it’s noted that they are respectful of everyone around them.

The afternoon moves quickly along as Wolfmother play their set of Led Zeppelin inspired tracks. Lead singer Andrew Stockdale’s distinctive voice can be heard  across the field, their well known hits being sung by everyone in the crowd.  A large section of the crowd have brought picnic blankets and lawn chairs to relax in comfort as Stockdale entertains them.  As The Joker and The Thief rings out across the field the crowd are pleasantly enjoying the afternoons progression.

Impressively set changes are only 20 mins and its not long before American hit makers Wheatus are out to perform for the 7,500 strong crowd. With facilities easy to find and the layout easy to navigate, there isn’t much time to wait for the next band to start. Doing a quick fine tune of instruments frontman  Brendan B Brown knows that the crowd are anticipating hearing their biggest hit ” Teenage Dirtbag” . Playing an energeric set of uplifting songs, Brown seems genuinely happy to be playing in front of Australian audiences. Wrapping up the set with the song everyone has been waiting for sees everyone up on their feet dancing, arms raised and loving every second of it.

Music royalty Blondie is up next with Deborah Harry dressed in a very rock n roll green suit. She begins the set in dark sunglasses, reminding everyone of how cool she really is. Powering through a number of their hits such as Call On Me. The classic hit Tide is High has everyone singing along in unison to the hit, Harry leading the way, and clearly reveling in the moment. Blondie are a tight unit of well rehearsed professionals that have everyone up and dancing. Harry knows what the crowd came for and she is going to deliver.

Lastly the Prince of Darkness himself Alice Cooper has arrived. Dressed in his trademark black top hat and make up, Cooper was one of the last acts to grace Melbourne stages before lock downs.  Strutting the stage like he owns it, Cooper is all pomp and bombast, which makes him so entertaining to watch. He is a little bit of comedy, a little bit  of theater and a sprinkle of camp.  With an impressive set list including Feed My Frankenstein,  Schools Out, No More Mr Nice Guy and everyone’s favorite Poison, Cooper is as usual entertaining and a lot of fun. Guitarist Nita Strauss almost steals the show with her technically perfect playing, blonde hair whips and her ability to engage the crowd. It is know Alice Cooper only surrounds himself with the best musicians and Nita surely is that.

The Caribbean gardens is not often used for festivals or as a venue site, but with the facilities it really should. The layout was easy to navigate, accessible parking was a breeze and the venue is just the right size to host such acts.

Overall the festival has been a great success with Blondie and Alice Cooper leading the charge on what has been a both memorable and enjoyable day.


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