The Corner Hotel, Melbourne VIC
July 29th, 2017
Supported by: Pagan and Totally Unicorn
Frenzal Rhomb’s Hi-Vis High Tea album launch was a neatly wrapped parcel of punk rock wildness that went from strength to strength as the night progressed, but not without main supports Totally Unicorn almost stealing the show first.
The Corner Hotel accommodated some seriously loose punters exceptionally well, and it’s worth sending a huge, HUGE props to security before we get to the bands. The guys up front were spectacularly patient and safe with their handling of bodies landing on them from both sides of the crowd and stage. In that tense valley where the barricades end and the music starts, these dudes gave a 5-star performance deftly catching fall-down-pissed crowd surfers and slightly less fall-down-pissed band members with aplomb; a skill that saved myself and several other photographers from a wayward head-booting or six. Good show, gents.
Death metal-ish party rockers/ JJJ Unearthed winners Pagan seemed hugely intent on letting the crowd know about their Italian heritage, and that Satan had sent them to play music. In fact, it’s literally all they talked about between songs. It was kind of peculiar, and seeing as I couldn’t understand any of front-woman Nikki’s attempts at guttural screaming, I wasn’t sure if their lyrics also played to the gimmick. As a heavy warm up act, they were perfectly fine, and certainly had plenty of energy on stage. The strangely contrived stuff about being Italian often fell flat though. Who gives a fuck where you’re from? It super really, hugely doesn’t matter.
Totally Unicorn are one of those bands that have been on modern punk/metal’s peripheries for years and years now. They’ve garnered a lofty cult status, especially in their home town of Sydney, but are lesser known down south by us latté sipping trendy Melbournian kiddies. By golly that’s a shame, because they’re fucking unbelievable. It’s like King Parrot fucked Kevin Bloody Wilson when these dudes take the stage. Front-man Drew Gardner is an absolute revelation, and spends far more time in the crowd getting naked and partying with show goers than he does on stage with his exceptionally talented band members. Their brutal math rock/ hardcore hybrid is an entertaining listen – not dissimilar to Fucked Up or a looser Dillinger Escape Plan – but takes a back seat to the modern day punk vaudevillian behaviour of Gardner, who wound up wearing nothing but a pair of tie-dye undies by the set’s end. Everyone laughed until tears between head bangs, and by golly it was magic, much like unicorns themselves!
A full house bore witness to the joyous and veteran ways of Frenzal Rhomb, who squeezed in plenty from their successful new album without dropping too many classic hits in the process. Having 100-odd songs that go for less than two minutes may have a lot to do with that…
Frenzal treat their audience like old mates who they catch up with on the regular. They chat wittily and openly between songs, taking the piss out of each other and the crowd steadily between iconic bouts of break-neck punk rockery. Case in point; an ornery looking middle-aged man too fucked up to acknowledge his celebrity amongst the band was acknowledged by front-man Jay Whalley as “The Crow”. Jay recalled first meeting him in a hotel room back in 1995, where he’d blacked out and had an eyebrow shaved off. Undeterred, The Crow arrived at a gig the following night with his shorn eyebrow replaced by a smudged streak of black texta, and the party went on. It’s affinities like that, and the warm handshake I received from guitarist Lindsay McDougall as congratulations for attending my 20th Frenzal gig after the show that make The Rhomb a band you’ll merrily go and see time and time again.
A fast and crazy Saturday was had by all, which is no tall order for any gig headed by Australia’s greatest (death-defying) punk rock band, the mighty Frenzal “Fucking” Rhomb.
Gig Review and Photo Gallery by the legendary multi-tasker Todd Gingell
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