There's not much that can be said about Ian Stuart that hasn't already been written and words alone are not enough to honour a man that has been such an inspirational force to us for so long. It is for this very reason that just as we have done for the last two and a half decades, we all get together to celebrate his life. 2019 would not be any different.
Although the gig takes place on Saturday, Fridays are really a special part of the weekend. When you only see people once or twice a year it's great to all sit down together and catch up for laughs and of course some beers. I really cannot overstate just how important and special this bond we all share is and it's sense of family and comradeship you would be hard pressed to find anywhere else. It's more than just music and the amount of people that return year after year are a testament to that.
I'm not exactly sure what the secret formula is but once again the venue was great and accommodated everyone including the new faces. It's always refreshing to see new people come along each year and I definitely encourage these people to keep coming back. The drinks were cold, the equipment set up and the crowd was ready and before too long, it was showtime!
No bones about it, Ravenshead kicked arse. We all love hearing new material but there are just some classics that get the crowd moving and we got that in spades. 88 Rock n Roll Band, Smash the Reds, ACAB and some awesome crowd participation with Head Kicked In. I can assure you it's hard to pull yourself away to go grab another beer so instead we kept on banging away in the pit for each and every song and I think the crowd sung along with every word with everything we could muster.
We thought they were done but there was just one more song to play, and Australia's very own Open Season grabbed a microphone and we got served with probably the best live performance of K.T.P I've seen. This was the highlight of the gig for me and hopefully we get to see more of Open Season next year. It ended with some massive applause and cheering and then it was intermission time, so we descended on the bar to get those drinks in ready for what was next to come.
25 years of ISD memorials and I don't think we could possibly get sick of Fortress playing them. New material or old, it didn't matter. Everyone was into it and the songs and everybody's favourites just kept on coming. Victory or Valhalla, Hail Rock n Roll, Defenders of the Faith. The bodies were flying, everyone singing loud and proud. It really is an experience you won't find anywhere else. We even got treated to a cover of Ace of Spades we weren't expecting but with so many of us being fans of Motorhead it went over great. With time running out, we knew what was coming. I hate Commie Scum. It was the perfect finisher to a great nights entertainment.
As always, some thanks are in order. Blood and Honour Australia and the Southern Cross Hammerskins go above and beyond each year to make this show happen and it's commendable to see their commitment to Ian Stuarts memory. Thanks to each and every person that travelled from every corner of Australia including the new faces. I love seeing people at their first ISD gig and how much they loved it, and even better again when I see them the following year. Thanks to the bands who have to overcome some pretty hefty geographical obstacles in order to practice and keep things rolling along.
'Either put me in prison or kill me, there's no other way that I'm going to give up.'
IAN STUART DONALDSON
See you all next year!!!