Yours and Owls Festival: Day 2
1st October, 2017
Stuart Park, Wollongong NSW
Feat. Break A Leg, Totally Unicorn, Raave Tapes, Le Butcherettes, At the Drive-In and Sorority Noise and more.
And the evening and the morning were the second day. And God said, Let the waters under the heaven be gathered together unto one place, and let the dry land appear: and it was so. And God called the dry land Yours and Owls. But seriously, with Sunday coming into existence, I grabbed a bottle of wine, my trusty unicorn costume and headed back for another round of music and shenanigans.
The best way to start a day at a festival, to set the mood, is with a wonderfully energetic show that gets the blood pumping and the excitement building. Therefore, I may have to attribute my wonderful Sunday to Break A Leg. The boys from Moruya kicked things off with an explosion of noise, hardcore style, never letting up until their job was done. The best thing about small hardcore bands is by far the crowd; small cadres of dedicated fans scream the words into the mic as the singer tends to a bloody face, all the while the moshpit is filled with idiots being absolute idiots at their best. I love it. Guitars chug for a few bars then morph into a torrent of screams and squealing guitars, while some guy pretends to be a gorilla in the pit and another dude rips his shirt off and rides it like a broomstick. THAT is as hardcore as it gets.
Transitioning perfectly from what I just witnessed, are the wondrously magnificent, horrendously disgusting, The Presets Totally Unicorn. If, dear reader, you are new to the scene, be prepared to be amazed. Drew Gardner prances around the stage swathed in crepe streamers, before throwing himself into the crowd and doing his thing for the entire show. Don’t worry though, Lee Nielson and Aaron Streatfield join the fun too, torturing their guitars while being pummelled by every person present. To say a Totally Unicorn show is unpredictable is an understatement of the highest caliber; but what you can expect, is great music. Number 1s like ‘Old, Cute and Purified’ and ‘Customer Service Station’ show off their mathy, spazzy virtuosity, while Number 1 ‘Dream Life’ smashes you into submission with its repetitive bouncy riffs and heavy as fuck drums. There is no other quite like these guys, so do yourself a favour and never miss a show. Ever.
As I expounded yesterday, festivals are for finding new music, for me anyway. So I was joyous to the extreme when I wandered over to the Rad Stage to check out a band in some off time I had. Imagine my surprise when it turns out be a dance rock band much like Death From Above, but inspired by the the likes of Gesaffelstein. Simple and raw bass lines complemented by drumming that sounds like a more punk Sebastien Grainger rounded out the most delightfully loud noise rock I’d hear all weekend. ‘2 U XOXO’ and ‘K Bye’ were absolutely standout tracks; Joab Eastley’s garage/emo voice shouting “…but it sounded like ketamine” struck a chord (because I literally think I saw someone snort that off of a piece of garbage yesterday), but the most impressive moment was a cover of Crystal Castles’ ‘Baptism’ that had me dancing like it was midnight at the The Enmore. Raave Tapes are a superb magnetic energy melded with sharp witticism, a wondrously danceable punk package that are as catchy as they are captivating. This Novocastrian trio were the biggest find for me and I can’t wait to see them again in the very near future.
Rock music in its most base form has stayed pretty much the same over the past billion years, and I mean, why change the formula of three to four people just rocking out and having a good time right? That being said, Le Butcherettes fall into the comfortable category of the above. Teri Gender Bender is definitely a frontwoman; sufficiently weird and exciting to keep me around while the the show goes on, but the show does go on, seemingly forever. It’s just very neutral. If you like simple rock music you’ll like this. If you don’t, you won’t. It ain’t no Bosnian Rainbows that’s for sure.
As I’d already walked around a lot yesterday, and had been dancing non stop for three of the four bands I’d watched today, I decided to get some food (free toast of course) and fall asleep in a hammock. Nothing special today, besides maybe waking up in the dirt next to what smelled like a mushed pile of dumplings and cigarettes.
There was only two bands left for the night so I kicked myself back into party mode and headed to the main stage to wait for the juggernaut of 2000s punk rock, At the Drive-In. Having had the pleasure of seeing them at the Enmore last year left me with fuzzy memories that I couldn’t wait to relive, yet their album weighed heavy on my mind as the lights began to signal their arrival. However, it shouldn’t have. “Let’s fuck” was the first thing from the band and the ensuing maraca shakes of ‘Arcarsenal’ were still as intoxicating as ever. The crazed marionette form of Bixler-Zavala assuaged my doubts with his stage antics, diving off every slightly raised surface and just being a general menace. Even the newer songs like ‘No Wolf Like Present’ and ‘Governed by Contagions’ sounded acceptable when accompanied by the environment of a live music venue. Whatever you may think about their new music, it’s pretty undeniable that as a live entity, At the Drive-In still kick ass know how to put on a show that’ll have you jumping along to every hit.
At this point, I was so lethargic and exhausted, I was more than happy to slink over to Sorority Noise and prop myself against members of the crowd whilst watching the band. However, it wasn’t meant to be, because one thing that the studio versions of their music doesn’t quite get across is just how raw their music can be sometimes. Sounding like Brand New in the lyrics department, accompanied by the musicianship of Hawthorne Heights, Sorority Noise can pump out loud like nobody’s business before returning to melancholy and heartfelt. I really quite like it. New track ‘No Halo’ and classic ‘Mononokay’ resulted in sections where the entire band just went bonkers, showing more energy than most of the bands I saw all day, yet it felt so cathartically right. The show had a very personal feel, primarily because it was pitch black at this point and the secondary stage had little to no light production and the crowd was by far the smallest I’d seen all day thanks to The Presets, working very much in their favour. It felt like I was in a club with cleaner air, because I could actually hear Cameron Boucher as he tried to talk to the crowd. It was a wonderful way to end the night and the weekend.
Overall, Yours and Owls: Day 2 was by far more enjoyable than Saturday. Possibly because the start was so much more promising, or possibly because it catered more to the rock aficionados. Either way, it made me appreciate just how much work goes into this moderately sized festival. From the teetering and oxygen lacking highs of the morning, to the amazingly satisfying low impact end. Thanks Yours and Owls, catch you next year.
Review by — Dylonov Tomasivich
At The Drive In
Raised As Wolves