Playing their second high-profile support in less than a week, Wollongong crew Totally Unicorn were as buoyant as ever. However, while they performed to a crowd more attuned to their schizophrenic brand of hardcore/post-metal opening for the likes of The Chariot, it was amusing to let manic, heavily bearded and shirtless frontman Drew loose on a largely unsuspecting university crowd. Stage-diving, flailing about the crowd, wiggling his hefty beer gut and finishing the set atop the venue bar, they left a sizeable impression on many stunned onlookers.
After that relentless barrage on the senses, pop/punkers The Optionals seemed decidedly less inspiring. The Sydney-based crew didn’t lack in effort or a few worthwhile hooks either – just a distinctive personality and an adequate number of knockout songs and stage presence. The crowd were mildly appreciative, but many seemed to head to the bar having got their fill from their predecessors, or headed to the same place to get their lungs lubricated for the evening’s headliner.
There is something very reassuring when Frenzal Rhomb dusts themselves off for a tour every year or two. No matter the trends in music or fashion, loveably droll frontman Jason Whalley and outspoken guitarist Lindsay McDougall help deliver a punk rock show that’s as fast as it is genuinely funny. Case in point; frenetic new single "Bird Attack", and the band selling accompanying ice cream containers with marker scribbled all over them. If you don’t at least chuckle a little at the sheer absurdity of that, there’s something wrong. On the musical side of things, the quartet opened with "4 Litres" from their 1995 debut Coughing Up a Storm, after which Whalley deadpanned that they would solely perform pre-1992 material.
Frenzal Rhomb aren’t exactly the tightest or most fluent live band around, but that has never been the point. The Sydney veterans instead proceeded to rip through a wave of fan favourites, from the short and sharp "Mum Changed the Locks", "Bucket Bong", "Ship of Beers", "Racist", "You Can’t Move Into My House" and "Punch in the Face" to the even shorter "Beaded Curtains Part Two", "Russell Crowe’s Band" and "Johnny Ramone was in a Fucken Good Band But He was a Cunt". The pit was a writhing mess of bodies and those not moshing were bellowing the profanity-laden lyrics with unbridled enthusiasm. With a much anticipated new album in the works, hopefully it means a more regular touring schedule and plenty more fun-filled evenings like this.