ReviewedSunday September 15

Hailing from the sleepy south coast, the fire-cracking four-piece Totally Unicorns blew the crowd away with their self-proclaimed “magical animal hardcore”. Far from a symbol of grace and purity, the talented quartet philandered their topless, hairy, sweat-slicked Homer Simpson figures with obvious pleasure. Bearded lead vocalist Drew Gardener crotch-thrusted and threw himself around the mosh pit, whipping the crowd into a trance with his entertaining gorilla-like unpredictability. Gardener’s lunatic antics brought to mind images of a deranged man-child on acid, with his tie-dyed drooping underpants, backward-sideways baseball cap and pulled-up black socks.

Totally Unicorn’s buffoonery definitely injects some light-heartedness and humour into their rather brutal music style. There was floor swimming, man boob wobbling, crash tackling the audience, jumping into a nearby garbage bin, belching into the microphone and tabletop dancing outside. They also very kindly dedicated one of their heart-warming songs to “all the pole dancers out there.” Sounds like a scene out of Jackass, right? Throughout all of this the Wollongong outfit maintained their powerfully abrasive vocals and a super-tight pulverising hardcore sound. Their performance is more vulgar Rich Fulcher than mystical unicornian folklore. The effect is hilariously crude and lowbrow but the punters loved it.

The crowd surged and chomped at the bit as the intriguing Norwegians Kvelertak appeared onstage. Frontman Erlend Hjelvik kept up the shirtless trend for the night and donned what appeared to be a spectacular taxidermy owl headdress with creepy Warlock-glowing eyes. Kvelertak’s technical versatility and diverse sound is dangerously catchy and addictive. We were served up a fresh and tasty Frankenstein fusion of metal, hardcore, punk and rock.

An anarchic dance broke loose in the mosh pit and the crowd saluted the band eagerly with air punching and trademark rock’n’roll horns. Each of the four heavily tattooed guitarists delivered skilful speedy riffs and thunderous solos. They fervently throttled their instruments in the air with satanic craze. Kjetil Gjermundrød’s high-powered drumming was slick and ferocious. I may have ground down some of my teeth witnessing their neck-breaking moshing and unflinching energy.

Kvelertak create one hell of an intoxicating, turbo-charged performance despite no-one understanding what they’re actually singing about in their native Norwegian tongue. It was an epic performance from both bands that left me feeling overwhelmed and fuzzy when the bright lights signalled the end.


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