Punk gigs are somewhat of a novelty for a reviewer – given the current lean towards indie rock – so to be given the opportunity to cover Frenzal Rhomb is a breath of dirty, stinking, I-don’t-give-a-fuck-about-you-or-your-hipster-music air. And damn it smelt amazing.
First band for the night was Hard Targets. This band is like a bunch of traditional Aussie ‘blokes’ playing hard hitting music – think chest thumping beats from three instruments and husky rough vocals, along with tough exteriors and more tattoos than all the kids at General Pants put together.
These guys were tough, but because they exuded a genuine attitude in both their music and their stage presence, they weren’t the least bit intimidating. Their music, as refined and uniform as a punk band can be, was to the band’s credit; the audience absorbed and appreciated every individual beat.
Up next came Canberra six-piece, I Exist – a metalcore, quadruple guitar attack of loud, grungy music. Their complex sound, likened to Parkway Drive, Bullet For My Valentine and Killswitch Engage, came complete with deep vocals and energy as the band bounced around stage.
With such a distinctly different sound to both Hard Targets and Frenzal Rhomb, I Exist seemed to have drawn their own fans to the venue, who enthusiastically demonstrated their love for the band by a mass of hair flipping. For their support, were rewarded by the band with a shot of Jagermeister. The last song saw the microphone passed to different members of the audience to bellow the lyrics and despite their clear stylistic differences, I Exist was not out of place.
The stage had barely been cleared of I Exist’s equipment by the time the “Frenzal” chants started. The few minutes between changeover seemed like an eternity as the crowd’s mood elevated from excited to ecstatic.
The set was dedicated to recently No Use For a Name frontman, Tony Sly, who passed away last week at the young age of 41. After a moment to remember, the band flew into their first song, “Genius”.
Lead singer, Jason Whalley nattered between songs for the entire set. The audience was asked for drugs, and Whalley later informed, “I’m having a pretty good time to tell you the truth. I know you were all wondering.” This banter only made the gig more personable. It was as if we were at a party, rather than a concert.
The music itself was loud and typical of the band’s iconic style – it could definitely be summed up by Whalley’s comment: “I think I just had a stroke coupled with an aneurism.” Furthering the feeling was half way through the show, a couple of the members of I Exist ran through the stage and jumped onto the crowd, starting an onslaught of crowd surfers.
Whalley revealed that Frenzal Rhomb has been a band for twenty years now. Obviously with the sell out audience, the music is still relevant to today’s music fans. However, that moment made the dated elements to the lyrics shine though – for example when Whalley first belted out “Worlds Fuckedest Cunt” in 2003, he was probably wearing those massive baggy jeans that were all the rage a decade ago – as he sang it to the 2012 audience, he was wearing black skinnies.
As you can see, strings have been pulled to find some kind of fault to their performance. Tight pants or not, people left with gigantic grins on their faces.
- Tara Emily