Mia Mala McDonald
Slagfest is the best music festival you've never heard of. The brainchild of Steph Hughes and her mate Darren Hanlon, the festival took place Saturday June 7 at Broken Hill's Palace Hotel with a line-up featuring Steph’s band Dick Diver, Hanlon, The Burnt Sausages and Shelley Short, as well as locals Abbacash and Brother Didge & Friends.
It wasn't just the "famous mound of mining grot known as the Slag Heap" from which the festival took its name that's significant about the place Steph and Darren chose to host the gig; the Palace is the same venue where everyone got drunk in Wake in Fright and where Bern said, "Why don't you just light your tampon, and blow your box apart?" in Priscilla Queen of the Desert. As far as venues go, this one is a national treasure.
Sadly, we couldn't make it to the debut of Broken Hill's Premier Wuss Rock Festival, so we caught up with Steph once she got home to get the lowdown on the weekend that she hoped would "blaze new trails and free the freaks".
I'd probably have five friends, max, if it weren't for the Internet. Considering how easy it is to curate your actual (probably terrible) personality into something likeable and appealing using social media, it's pretty effortless to create an online version of yourself that people are going to like. Something I've been doing since I first learned that typing “(R)” would create a rainbow emoji in MSN Messenger in my early teens.
As I've got older and become more of an okay human, that vaguely likeable online version of myself has become indistinguishable from actual me, and I've amassed a collection of proper buddies with whom my first interactions were over a computer screen.
Ali Koehler is one of those pals. As the former drummer for Vivian Girls and Best Coast, Ali was always someone I saw/fawned over from my spot in the audience when her bands toured Australia, until recently when I managed to appear on her radar with the aid of a few sassy tweets and dumb Instagram comments. She's returning to the country in June with her new band Upset, a pop-punk trio comprised of Ali, Patty Schemel (Hole) and Jen Price (La Sera) during which time we're gonna take our friendship from URL to IRL.
While she was at home in LA we jumped on IM to talk about meeting friends, boyfriends and band mates online and being a fan.