Starting off the all Sydney lineup with the female fronted Scabz, originally from Wollongong, now residing in good old Newtown; things didn’t take long to warm up with the crowd taken by the charm and stage presence of vocalist Shaz.
It was good to see the respect given towards the Indigenous being the founders of the land before kicking things off with the catchy Beach Song, familiar to those following Triple J’s Unearthed last year. In the style of Primus Sucks and NOFX’s “I Heard They Suck Live”, announcing they were the shittest band in Newtown and possibly the world, modest, and sarcasm at its best, as the crowd would differ with this statement as Scabz sure did kick ass.
And that they did as they plowed through the aptly titled New Song, a Fuck You to former NSW Premier with Mike Baird, which was then followed by an entirely different subject going by the title Nice Guy, and a different kettle of fish to Baird.
From politics to location the drums took a beating with Wollongong and a nifty guitar riff tore the roof off the venue. The bass groove gave way to the ska infused ode to the Marrickville Metro which was most welcome after the punk fury of Stray Dogs, a song about Newtown. “The shortest and shittest song, Yoko is dedicated to Totally Unicorn,” blurts Shaz before unleashing the energetic track, something the lads from Unicorn were full of and soon to deliver.
The set closed with crowd favourites Shit Cunt and Victoria Bitter; a song about a girl that broke Shaz’ heart. “How are those for lyrics?” Shaz asks. After a group hug between bandmates, Shaz informs us it’s now time for them to go get pissed and from the crowd response, Scabz conquered old Sydney town in style, letting out he inner anarchist in us all.
To think the bar couldn’t rise any further would be an understatement with more talent from Wollongong in the form of Totally Unicorn. Perhaps drinking from the same fountain or keg to be more precise, seeing the love of beer from both sides.
Crazed front man Drew came running out with streamers dressed in full party costume, hat and all. Informing the crowd that they are going to have the best night ever after being unzipped from his costume to reveal the gut, something of which he got shit for in Newcastle and the cause for late rent, giving it a light tap.
Concentrating tonight mainly on the smashing debut LP, “Dream Life” (2016), with each song being introduced as “another one.” They all sound good so why do they need to be named? To be fair the “number one’s” referring to that song made famous from the hilarious video to boot for Customer Service Station, among other gems. Other standouts included, Space Congratulations and the spoken word onslaught of You Smell like a Trophy. Drew spent just as much time off stage amongst the crowd as he did on it. The musicianship on display was tighter than the grip of Tiger Wood’s hand on a golf club or anything else for that matter.
The blistering bass set the groove for one mammoth of a performance. From cartwheels to guitarists jumping off amp stacks, one must witness a Totally Unicorn show to experience the madness at hand. The musical equivalent of your favourite post-hardcore band combined with Rolf Harris. Only more than kangaroos will be tied down, sport?
As the 10CC Classic, I Want to Know What Love Is, was played through the PA the lads from Frenzal soon hit the stage in Hi-Vis singlets taking a glance at the crowd before them, glad to be home in Sydney, most humble thanking the supporting acts all Sydney locals.
Jay jokes around saying that 85% of the crowd will have to pretend they know the words to the new album as the gig was the first time it had been played in Sydney. Most fans knew the words to the first three songs to start the set, that being Classic Pervert, the ever-so catchy, Ray Ahn is my Spirit Animal and the crowd-sing-a-long, Cunt Act.
Like a lot of bands have been playing albums in full in can work, whereas sometimes it’s nice to mix up the set a bit and thankfully tonight Frenzal have chosen the latter. A lot of new tracks are given the light of day and they go down well with the ecstatic crowd. For example, the catchy I’m Shelving Stacks (As I’m Stacking Shelves) mixing in nicely between Russell Crowe’s Band, taken off “Sans Souci” (2003), Mummy Doesn’t Know You’re a Nazi from “Smoko at the Pet Food Factory” (2011) and Bucket Bong, another off the 2003 album.
It is a treat to hear the cool guitar riff courtesy of The Doctor on The Ballad of Tim Webster and the crowd favourite, Mr. Charisma, two back to back tracks off “Meet the Family” (1997) with it being its 20th Year Anniversary it really is a nostalgic moment. Ship of Beers and You Can’t Move into My House was also from that same album and were later played that night, bringing smiles to many.
Two new songs, Storage Unit Pill Press and the angst unleashed with the growls of Jay on Pigworm are welcomed with open arms where the rest of the twenty-song encore which Jay describes as legendary as, “It never ends.” From the frenzy of Bird Attack where two members of Totally Unicorn run out guitars in hand dressed down to their briefs to the ballad of I Miss My Lung, Frenzal cover ‘em all. Other songs from “A Man Is Not a Camel” (1999), included, You are not my Friend, and We are going out Tonight, pleasing fans alike.
The highlight of the night was the surprise Frenzal had in store for the Sydney folk, that being original guitarist, Ben Costello brought to the stage with Lindsey given the boot for two tracks. To see the band jam Run taken from the debut, “Coughing up a Storm” (1995) set one on a time warp back to the nineties. 5000 Cigarettes and, When my baby smiles at me I go to Rehab brought back not too distant memories from the album prior to the current, “Hi-Vis High Tea.”
Ending with the Frenzal anthem from “Not So Tough Now” (1996), Punch in the Face gave all happy punters that much-needed slap or “punch to the face”, being hit with some of Australia’s finest punk outfits still going strong today. The only difference conversation’s with the crowd about Sydney’s light rail and mentions of band members going home after shows to talk amongst purple tea with family member’s and neighbours are where the Frenzal camp is at today. Still, stage diving like it was the nineties, there’s no stopping Frenzal Rhomb & Co who all pulled off a night to remember for every man and his dog, who would be told all about it when it’s owner got home and handed him or her those much wanted Schmakos.