90’s Music Festival @ The Basement, Fri–Sat May 26–27

Sam Ingham

Sam Ingham

A long-time supporter of the live rock and metal scenes in Canberra, Sam is also a semi-retired burlesque performer. She co-manages the Canberra Burlesque Diary on Facebook, and writes gig reviews and burlesque show reviews for BMA.
Sam Ingham
Photo by Sam Ingham.

After the popularity of last year’s 90s tribute night presented by Shananigans Entertainment, it was no surprise when tickets for this year’s show sold out for the Saturday night three weeks before, and a great surprise when it was announced the Friday night show was happening as well.

The huge weekend line-up featured 13 bands on Friday night and 14 bands performing on Saturday night. Friday had one-off performances of Deftones (Finding Eve), Metallica (Seek N Destroy), and Chris Cornell (Euphoria Morning). Saturday had one-off performances of Pantera (Stronger than All), Nirvana (The Buzzlovers), No Doubt (Some Doubt), Sepultura (Stronger Than All), Beastie Boys (Scotts) and Spice Girls (The Wannabees). Bands that performed on both nights with repeat sets tributed Radiohead (The Bends), Pearl Jam (Tuntropoduke), Smashing Pumpkins (Butternut Squash), Red Hot Chili Peppers (Chilly Willy), Rage Against The Machine (People of The Sun), Korn (Life is Korny), Faith No More (The Jizzlobbers), Garbage (Glacial Monkees) and Alice In Chains (Jar of Dirt).

On Friday night, approximately 70 people arrived early at 7pm for the opening set of Alice in Chains, followed by Garbage and Faith No More. By the time Beastie Boys started, the Basement was very full. Followed by Korn and Rage Against the Machine, the pumping, energetic crowd was then quite sombre as they tried to pack themselves as tightly as possible into the smaller back room for the acoustic Chris Cornell set. Tears were shed by many as they sung along to their favourite songs, supporting each other as needed. The slow rendition of ‘Black Hole Sun’ sung in a style like that of Norah Jones was incredible. Energy levels returned to the max during sets for Red Hot Chili Peppers and Smashing Pumpkins and the crowd moshed very hard to the Metallica set that ran overtime. The night wrapped up with Deftones, Pearl Jam and Radiohead to a decent sized crowd.

Saturday night started with practically the entire capacity crowd there very early to see the Spice Girls open with a full band including brass! It was spectacular and very amusing to see metal heads and rockers singing along. Followed by Radiohead and Alice in Chains, the No Doubt set also got a big response and then Faith No More, Garbage, Korn, Smashing Pumpkins and Red Hot Chili Peppers had the crowd absolutely rocking again. The Pearl Jam and Nirvana sets had the grunge lovers in the crowd singing along with the atmosphere boosting the energy of the bands. Then the night got heavier with Sepultura, Rage Against the Machine and Pantera performing to a large crowd to close the show on the Saturday night.

The crowds were big. With 300 attending on Friday and 400 attending on Saturday, the Shananigans crew worked hard, The Basement bar staff were, as always, pleasant and hardworking, and the crowd partied and danced in a well-behaved manner. Lots of sore necks and hangovers were had.

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