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March 10, 2012, Abbotsford Convent, Abbotsford.

Reviewed by youthcentral roving reporter Callie.

Over the past 24 years that the Push Over Festival has been running, it has presented the freshest talent in Australian music to young Victorians in a completely safe, alcohol and drug free environment, and this year proved to be no exception.

The festival was the place to be for thousands of music lovers from all age groups, who came together to rock out to some of the hottest Aussie acts and celebrate the long weekend at the Abbotsford Convent.

I arrived expecting a few hundred irritating teenagers dressed in denim underwear and crop tops, running around, flirting, and behaving in that ridiculously over-emotional manner reserved for 16-year-olds. What a shock I got when I came across thousands of band shirts, piercings and hardcore fans who were simply there for the music.

With four different stages set up, festival-goers had the chance to indulge in hip-hop, heavy metal, emerging local talent and established bands, depending on which way they wandered.

While I was meant to be covering the Red and Blue stages where acts like 360, Parkway Drive, Tonight Alive, Yacht Club DJs, Skyway, Northlane and Dangerous! were rocking, I found myself constantly being drawn to the hip-hop stage.

On this stage popular artist Eloji drew the crowd, and then the crowd drew an even greater crowd with regular MC Battles and dance-offs getting everybody pumped up and joining in on the action.

At one point, before the MC Battle Final, over one hundred teens stood in a circle and booed and cheered as dancers flipped, spun and shuffled their way around the floor. I couldn’t help but feel I was back in high school without a care in the world.

Back at the blue stage, where I spent most of the day, Melbourne-based electronic dance-rockers 8-Bit Love opened the show with an energetic performance that led the crowd to unselfconsciously start dancing. It was a performance that set the tone for the next eight hours.

Byron Bay boys Glass Towers attracted a few fans, but it wasn’t until Redcoats started that people really started to swarm around the stage. With his hip-thrusting dance moves and incredible vocals, lead singer Emilio had everyone forgetting how ridiculously scorching the sun was and crowding to get to the front of the stage.

Yacht Club DJs, who provided a sound completely unique compared to anything I had heard before, followed Redcoats. I would never have imaged Whitney Houston over a heavy metal roar could sound great, let alone musical, but somehow these guys made it work and the crowd loved them for it.

I had my first circle mosh experience while watching Tonight Alive, and it really didn’t do much for my first impression of the band. For those of you who are unaware of what a circle mosh is (I sure was!), when the lead singer yells out, "I want to see a circle mosh", crowd mentality takes over and enormous grown men start charging over anything in sight, small, terrified reporters included!

I didn’t have much respect for Tonight Alive after this, but they did rock and their performance of Mumford and Sons' "Little Lion Man" was beautiful, which is a strange description for a group of punk rockers.

The festival atmosphere intensified at 6:10 when 360 finally hit the stage. I decided that it was not the time to be standing in the middle of an increasingly excitable crowd and managed to claw my way to the back.

It was a wise move because from there I could stand back and just listen to one of Australia’s hottest new artists. All week I had been rolling my eyes at the endless "omg I’m at 360!" statuses on Facebook, but now I understand it. And when he suggested the violent ferals in the crowd chill their testosterone levels down a bit, I was completely won over.

The metalheads from the red stage started to make their way over to the blue stage towards the end of 360's set because coming up were a group I’d never heard of, but who apparently are enormous in Australia right now, and who were about to "blow the place to pieces" according to one hysterical fan.

Parkway Drive, a friend warned me, were loud. Really loud.

Although I couldn’t tell one deafening song from the next, apparently the crowd didn’t mind it. The place was packed with violent-looking tees, tattoos and piercings in places you would just never think possible. I pressed myself up against a wall with the poor parents who had forced themselves to come with their children and stood in fear with my hands over my ears for 50 minutes of screaming, guitar playing and a drummer who enjoyed his job a little too much.

Push Over was not something I would have gone to if it hadn’t been my job, but I’m glad I did. A safe event like this where kids can just rock out and be free is something that I would have killed to have the opportunity to experience it when I was 16.

4 out of 5.

For more gig reviews, check out our Reviews Archive. For more about Push Over and FReeZA, check out www.freeza.vic.gov.au.

 

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