Nestled between Sydenham station and Marrickville’s aged industrial estates, the organisers of BAD Friday took a punt – a punt to take this year’s event out of the safe haven of a pub or notable live music venue and drop it right in to the streets. In and amongst Sydney’s hot pot of individuality and sub-cultural diversity, BAD Friday planted a stage in the heart of the inner city, called on a bunch of local food providers and – most importantly – provided a special platform to celebrate Sydney’s thriving music community.
Under crystal-clear blue skies, thousands of punters from around Sydney gathered together for a good ol’ fashioned block party. Trickling in with one common purpose, it was a communal celebration of mass proportions. Hosted by The Music and Booze co and Architects of Entertainment, from start to finish there were nothing but high-fives and bright smiles (except that one guy who had his fresh box of chips knocked out of his hands – our condolences.)
No event this significant to the local community flies past without handing down a few valuable lessons, and BAD Friday was no different. Here are a few the key takeouts from the day of good vibes and community.
SUPPORT THE SUPPORTS
It’s a simple concept, and it should go without saying, but BAD Friday’s relentless effort to encourage punters to ‘support the supports’ really hit the nail on the head in conveying the event’s core purpose. Compensating early birds with a free beer upon arrival before 2pm, the simple promotional effort quite evidently served its purpose as a hefty amount of people rocked up early to catch local up-and-comers Scabz and Flowertruck. Tearing through their developing catalogue of blistering alternative rock, Scabz’ all-female cast didn’t let their early slot dictate their energetic output in the slightest. Straight after, triple j Unearthed darlings Flowertruck delivered their uncomplicated indie-rock tunes with an assured ease and finesse. Support the supports!
COMMUNITY IS AT THE HEART
Just before sundown, under the mysterious pseudonym A Band, members of The Delta Riggs joined forces with members of Sticky Fingers to perform a memorable rendition of the The Band’s 1976 concert film ‘The Last Waltz’ – and yes, incase you were wondering, there was actually a band in the ’70s called The Band. Now, ‘The Last Waltz’ is recognised as one of the best concert films of all time, and for good reason. Not only were there guest appearances from Bob Dylan, Neil Young and Jodi Mitchell – among many others – but the concert was filmed and directed by the legendary Martin Scorsese.
Following suit, the Sti-Fi x Riggs combo invited a number of guest vocalists on stage to lend their pipes to what was a truly amazing spectacle. Highlights included Joyride’s heavy orotund vocals and strong stage presence for “The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down” and Hayley Mary of The Jezabels belting out a few verses of “The Weight”. Putting their individual bands aside, the special set took the spotlight off the individuals and respective outfits and shone it brightly on the broader Sydney music community, reminding punters what BAD Friday is all really about.
SAMPA THE GREAT EMBODIES THE BRIGHT FUTURE OF AUSSIE MUSIC
After a recent PR blunder where an event we won’t name handed down a lineup of all male artists, it’s become overtly apparent that sexism in the music industry definitely isn’t going to fly anymore. Social matters aside, Zambian-born poet and songwriter Sampa The Great symbolises a move in the right direction for Australian music. With her compelling stories and charismatic DJ in tow, a fierce Sampa the Great took to the stage, completely shattering the mould of the indie-rock-dominated day to deliver what may have been the set of the day.
“This is off a freaking mixtape! A mixtape. And now we’re here!” Sampa announced, her sobering disbelief injecting a honest sense of humility into her confident stage persona. Ripping through a number of original cuts and some emphatic call-and-response exercises with the audience, her slick flow and conscious verses sliced through the crowd like a carefully-crafted blade, spurring a noticeable shift in the crowd’s energy that would hold strong until the end of the night.
THE JEZABELS ARE TIMELESS
Aussie indie rock stalwarts The Jezabels have achieved a feat that very few modern Aussie artists have managed to achieve: they’ve lasted the test of time. After three EPs and three full-length records to boot, the tribe of Inner West legends have made it seemingly impossible to hear their music without being sucked into a deep emotion emotional connection, and at BAD Friday, it was more apparent than ever.
Opening with “Mace Spray”, the hauntingly beautiful keyboard and sober introductory drum line immediately set the tone and triggered some serious nostalgic feelings. From there, lead by the unrivalled charisma of Hayley Mary, the band vigorously powered through a set of classic gems like “Endless Summer”, “Long Highway”, “Pleasure Drive” and their heart-wrenching classic “Hurt Me”. Taking full advantage of the scaffolding along the side of the crowd, Mary made her way along the runway and into the middle of the mosh before dropping down into the arms of her adoring fans. It was a classic Hayley moment that had old and new fans alike smiling from ear to ear and everyone more sure than ever that The Jezabels are a timeless Australian music icon.
Photos by our new recruit and wildly talented mate Julian Schulz.