Words by Natalie Blacklock
Photos by Brendan Shanahan – Brendan Shanahan Photo – FULL GALLERY LINK HERE (gallery includes Regurgitator, The Fauves + Shonen Knife. Unfortunately Dicklord, Tape/Off + FAT were not captured by our photographer due to unforeseen circumstances)
Brisbane’s favourite electro-pop come hip-hop sons, Regurgitator are back to celebrate 25 years of being consumed on their ‘Quarter Pounder’ tour. Emerging from the independent underbelly of Brisbane’s 1990s music scene, the past two and a half decades have been an interesting ride for Regurgitator – their affection for self-parody, effervescent enthusiasm and their shameless comedic spirit is what sets them apart. On the back of the release of their ‘best of’ album, ‘Quarter Pounder: 25 Years of Being Consumed’,the band are throwing one hell of a celebratory trip around the country to relive some of the greatest moments of the past.
As the ‘hometown’ of the ‘Gurg, Brisbane are set to be treated to a two-night stand at one of Brisbane’s best live music venues, The Tivoli. Built in 1917, the Costin Street venue, originally purposed as a Bakery, making some of the finest cakes in the Sunshine State, The Tivoli has been remodelled a number of times since. From the State Library of Queensland’s store for rare books, to a French-style Cabaret theatre for Expo ’88 before morphing to its current form as one of Brisbane’s premiere music venues – boasting 3 bars, an upstairs balcony, and new offshoot, What’s Golden, situated inside the main foyer for more intimate shows. As doors opened, a steady stream of young and young-at-heart punters made their way to the front, ready for the long haul of a 6-band bill before them.
With one foot somewhere between metal and punk and the other kicking down doors, Byron Bay’s Dicklord opened up with a bang. Dicklord’s unique blend of guitar driven muscle punk, fight inducing riffs and piss taking attitude are the perfect recipe for an engaging live show. Frontwoman Jade Louise cheekily exclaimed to the crowd “We’ll always give it up for you, darling” before launching into a set full of thrusting, gyration and bluntly suggestive lyricism. With a small crowd building, the band were surprised, saying, “There are a lot more of you here than we thought” and for a 5:30pm kick-off, it’s probably a fair statement to make. Keen to get the crowd involved, Dicklord launch into a new track (so new that a back-of-the-setlist cheat sheet was needed) about men fingering women ‘weird’ – complete with hand gestures from the crowd! Other highlights of the set included, the angsty C U Next Tuesday as well as the catchy Debra (yes, I’m sure we ALL know a Debra) and another new track, the previously unheard Kill Them With Kindness. It’s clear that this 4-piece really encapsulates what Aussie punk is all about – tongue-in-cheek lyricism, high energy and the right amount of middle finger. Expect more from Dicklord!
Next up are long-serving stalwarts of the Brisbane scene, Tape/Off. Like me, you might even recognise Drummer Branko Cosic and Bassist Cameron Smith from their show, Unnecessary Knowledge on 4ZzZ. Over the years, the local 4-piece have played alongside a swag of international acts such as Royal Blood, Kurt Vile, Pity Sex and Future Of The Left as well as a slew of top-notch homegrown bands including Violent Soho, DZ Deathrays, Screamfeeder, The Peep Tempel and Batpiss. The band’s sophomore record ‘Broadcast Park’ released last year, is a dynamic and poignant delivery of songs that question “existentialism, the male psyche, societal conventions and restrictions, familial bonds and the myth of life on the road” while bringing in some quintessentially Brisbane sounds to the forefront. The set starts with hugs and high fives between bandmates, before an Acknowledgement of Country to the land’s traditional owners. Drummer Branko Cosic opened the set with huge drum sounds as Tape/Off launched into the scuzzy Peggy’s Lookout. Wake In Fright and the amusingly accurate Vigorous Lover are big highlights of the set – teaming catchy lyrics and fuzzy guitars to create something pretty damn beautiful. The band’s new single, Work Xmas Party says more than it doesn’t. With a stage backdrop of a single Jatz Cracker, the track takes a look at the perils of party season – flat beer, meat pies, sausage rolls and the only vegetarian option, spring rolls but most importantly, knowing when to take yourself home. To close out the set, frontman Nathan Pickels puts down the guitar first single from ‘Broadcast Park’; Day In, Day Out – a narrative of social breakdown amidst a backdrop of class division and social apathy proving that empathy for one’s fellow man is firmly a relic of the past. Tape/Off have definitely struck the balance right between the mundane, the agitated and the perpetual struggle of everyday life just right and their innovative approach to songwriting and production makes for an appealing listen.
Brisbane alternative-punk favourites, FAT, know a thing or two
about the Australian music scene. With their beginnings in Victoria at the end
of the 1980’s and a colourful history that has seen them play with some of the
biggest names in Australian music, FAT
are an accomplished bunch of blokes and a formidable musical force. With Glenn
Brady on Vocals and
Guitar, Laszlo Kananghinis on
Guitar, Joe Seymour on Bass
and Rudi Weber on Drums and Piano, FAT were ready to give us a musical
education as we collectively stepped back in time, as they also celebrate a
massive musical milestone – 30 years as a band. FAT’s sound varies from fast-paced and thrashy to almost poetic and
as Drummer Rudi Weber was shirtless
by the end of the first song – things were heating up. Beastiality, taken from 1994 record ‘Call It What You Will’, as Frontman
Glenn Brady pointed out “is not a song about people who fuck
animals. It’s about people who fuck themselves to fit in”, a sentiment that
seemed to resonate with plenty of punters in the crowd. Throughout their set, FAT dropped some political truth bombs,
making reference to democracy, fuckwits, politicians and Asbestosis crisis in
which manufacturing company, James
Hardie, were heavily embroiled. 2018 album ‘The H.M.A.S Australia’, mastered
by Bryce Moorhead (the name behind
some great Brisbane records including, Violent
Soho’s ‘Hungry Ghost’) delivered some lighter moments of the set.
Particularly, Things, was a highlight
and spoke to the ‘short. fast. loud’ nature of punk music. 30 years of
musicianship is clear as FAT run an
extremely tight and well-oiled machine – with heavy drums, thick vocals and a
bold stage presence to rival younger acts, FAT
have still got it and are showing no signs of slowing down.
The Fauves were a staple of the Australian music scene in the 1990s. Formed in the Mornington Peninsula region of Victoria. The band are known for their witty lyrics, melodic pop-rock and often satirical or evocative exploration of Australian themes. Straight off the bat, the trademark wit of Frontman Andrew Cox copped plenty of laughs as he encouraged the crowd to go backstage, even if the security tells them they can’t. Frontman Cox said “when you’re old like us you’ve gotta do something to keep you relevant”, referring to the release of the band’s new double album, ‘Driveway Heart Attack’ earlier this year. As they launched into newer track, Back On The Gear, The Fauves seemed oh-so-comfortable to be back on the stage following periods of extensive hiatus from the scene and this was evident as the band ripped into Don’t Get Death Threats Anymore, taking a pleasant step back in time to 1996 record ‘Future Spa’. Nairobi Nights was funky as hell and saw Philip Leonard ditch the Guitar in favour of the Keyboard. With Drummer Adam Newey actually smashing his way through a Snare Drum, a replacement was sourced before The Fauves brought up the end of their set. The #58 track from the 2000 Triple J’s Hottest 100 countdown Give Up Your Day Job got the moshpit in the spirit and the easy crowd favourite, 1996’s Dogs Are The Best People saw Cox and Bassist Timothy Cleaver unleash A+ guitar power stances, shredding their axes hard. For a really long time, I’ve wanted to see The Fauves, and they absolutely did not disappoint. ACHIEVEMENT UNLOCKED!
In a bit of a change of pace, Japanese alternative-rockers, Shonen Knife, were up next. Formed in 1981, and heavily influenced by 1960s girl groups, pop bands, and early punk rock sounds, creating stripped-down songs with simple, yet unconventional lyrics sung in both Japanese and English. Taking to the stage in matching smock-style dresses (but in different colours) and band-branded towels, the Osaka trio look ready to rock. The band, sisters Naoko Yamano (Vocals and Guitar) and Atsuko Yamano (Bass) as well as newest member Risa Kawano (Drums) maintains a distinctly underground garage rock sound rooted in edgy instrumentation and D.I.Y.aesthetic. With a career spanning 21 studio albums, there is no shortage of material for Shonen Knife to draw on and they opened with some older cuts,1991’s Lazybones and 1983’s Twist Barbie – a song which Naoko taught to the late Kurt Cobain of Nirvana. It did not take long however to jump on material taken from new record ‘Sweet Candy Power’, released earlier this year. Back-to-back tracks, Party and Dizzy had the crowd energetically jumping around and clapping along. The audience are told 2010 track, Capybara, sung by Drummer Risa Kawano is about a very cute animal – an animal, which I’ve since found out, is the world’s largest rodent – akin to an overgrown Guinea Pig. Inspired by 1970s British hard rock, My Independent Country hits the spot for the fans of heavier music and California Lemon Trees brings back the indie vibes. Naoko and Atsuko Yamano crack out the Kazoo’s for All You Can Eat from 2012 record ‘Pop Tune’ much to the amusement of the excitable crowd. Rounding out the set with title track of their new record Sweet Candy Power, Buttercup (I’m a Super Girl), which featured in children’s cartoon series The Powerpuff Girls and closing track Cobra vs. Mongoose, it’s hard not to have a soft spot for this electric and energetic 3-piece!Over the course of their extensive career, they have earned a solid, worldwide cult following and if you hadn’t heard of Shonen Knife before now, there’s no doubt you would be converted as a fan now.
Formed in 1993, Regurgitator have been a constant in the Brisbane scene for the best part of the last 2 decades. With Quan Yeomans on Vocals, Guitar and Keyboards; Ben Ely on Bass, Keyboards and Vocals; and Peter Kostic on Drums, the band have earnt themselves a reputation for their risqué song titles and heart-on-your-sleeve live shows. Over the years, Regurgitator has become the appropriate moniker to describe the assembled mass of styles, sounds and attitudes, fuelled as much by an unmitigated irony and geekish nature as an irreverent take on themselves, corporatisation of culture and degradation of human social behaviour – something that is as relevant now as it was 25 years ago.
From takedowns by radio shock-jock Alan Jones, living and recording in a ‘bubble ‘in the middle of Federation Square in Melbourne, playing shows dressed as zombies, to their latest foray into children’s entertainment, Regurgitator are just about as transformative as musicians can get and are now appealing to a whole new generation of fans. After seeing Regurgitator a whole bunch of times over the years, it is clear that this show was going to be a whole lot different right from the outset. As the lights went dark, fictional Television show, “Tonight’s The Night!” lit up the screen. Hosted by former Recovery (now Recovered) host Dylan Lewis is easily on of the best ‘walk on’s’ possible. As Lewis introduced “The band that put hip in hip replacement”, the crowd were in hysterics and Regurgitator emerged clad in pommed jackets, similar to something you would see Brisbane ‘I Make It, You Wear It’ blogger and Tinsel Bar brainchild, Rachel Burke donning. The ‘Gurg smashed through the early parts of their set with unrivalled energy and intensity; Track 1 aptly kicked off the set followed by the band’s first ever track, I Like It Like That, followed by In One Ear, the cheeky yet probably very honest I Sucked A Lot Of Cock To Get Where I Am and FSO. 2004’s Bong In My Eye and 1994’s Nothing To Say had the crowd like putty in the palm of their hands. It wasn’t long before the band launched into clear crowd favourites, Blubber Boy, based on an Inuit fairytale about blubber and drowned boyfriends and Kong Foo Sing; the apparent tale of Frontman Quan Yeomans sending Janet English from Spiderbait a box of the Kong Foo Sing Fortune Cookies in an effort to get her to go out with him.
As quickly as it started, it ended, with the band exiting the stage and the big screen once again coming to life. This time, a young Yeomans and Ely are sitting amongst the highrise buildings of the CBD, discussing how they could possible fuse “the horniness of rock with metal with hip-hop” together as one… and the audience all knew what was coming next – it is definitely not just a phase, Mum! Regurgitator returned – in matching Fluro Tracksuits – ready to relive the hip-hop phase of their career with Fuck The Goddamn World, The Drop, Light Me On Fire and the hilarious Fat Cop from 2001 record ‘Eduardo and Rodriguez Wage War on T-Wrecks’. Cue yet another intermission and a special guest appearance from You Am I’s Tim Rogers to promote his burgeoning small business Uncle Timmy’s Party Palace – a place where the 90s never have to end. As the name suggests, Uncle Timmy’s Party Palace aims to offer a fun-filled childcare option for punters who want to get on “the coldies and the coke and fucking rip it up” – an offer that I’m sure some members of the audience would gladly take up.
Regurgitator emerged in yet another outfit – silver space suits (complete with MASSIVE shoulder pads for Yeomans) and a new band member! Enter Seja Vogel, a musician in her own right; fronting Brisbane 3-piece, Sekiden, first joined Regurgitator in 2007 on the Keyboard. Vogel was a welcome addition to the set as the band launched into cuts from 1997 album, ‘Unit’. I Like Your New Stuff Better Than Your Old Stuff and Everyday Formula were well-received as the audience bounced around and my absolute Regurgitator “ride-or-die” Polyester Girl was a standout (although it’s probably important to note that 6 year old me thought they were singing about Barbie Dolls, not Sex Dolls). Modern Life was up next – and as the filmclip played through on the big screen – it was hard not to notice familiar Fortitude Valley spots along Winn Street and Ann Street near Brisbane icon, The Zoo. It was clear that Regurgitator were having the time of their life as they smashed through the ever cheeky I Will Lick Your Arsehole, I Get The Internet and The World of Sleaze. Ending the main set with Black Bugs (ending with a sneaky addition of the jingle from a Cherry Ripe commercial as well as the theme song from Beverley Hills 90210, which clearly amused Ely and Vogel to no end) and the iconic ! (The Song Formerly Known As), the room was steamy and the crowd were sweaty as hell but still keen for plenty more.
Changing into light-up pink leotards and tutus, Regurgitator got in position (complete with an impressive array of Ballet vernacular) and got straight to business with the infectious Blood and Spunk and Distractions getting the crowd off their feet again. Born Dumb from 2011’s ‘Super Happy Fun Times Friends’, was dedicated to “your local MP” before Regurgitator closed with their “superannuation plan” and future aspirational anthem, I Wanna Be A Nudist, complete with extended ending, which was the icing on cake for what was an absolute stunner of a show. Regurgitator have been a Brisbane icon for 25 years, and they are showing absolutely no signs of slowing down (or growing up). So cheers to you Regurgitator and here’s to at least another 25 years of fun, frivolity and songs that should probably come with a parental warning!
Be sure to catch Regurgitator on the remaining date of their ‘Quarter Pounder’ tour. For dates, locations, and ticket information click HERE.
Sunday 27 October – The Tivoli | Brisbane (18+)
Friday 1 November – Prince Bandroom | Melbourne (18+)
Saturday 2 November – The Corner Hotel | Melbourne (18+)
Sunday 3 November – The Lost Lands Festival | Werribee (All Ages)
Monday 4 November – Howler | Melbourne (18+)
Thursday 7 November – Cambridge Hotel | Newcastle (18+)
Friday 8 November – The Metro | Sydney (18+)
Saturday 9 November – The Metro | Sydney (18+)
Sunday 10 November – Unibar | Wollongong (18+)
Friday 15 November – Astor Theatre | Perth (18+)
Saturday 16 November – Metropolis | Fremantle (18+)