Words Jem
Photos x613media

It was Wednesday night and I headed to Stay Gold in Brunswick for an intimate punk-rock / hardcore show to partake in some midweek madness, but with Melbourne’s once again gloomy weather, it was more like Stay Cold in Brunswick.

The venue opened at 7:30pm and the punters began to file in while the first band to grace the stage was now local Melbourne punk-rock trio Something Something Explosion. Originating from Toowoomba, QLD this was for vocalist/guitarist Grace Drummond and bassist Daimon Motbey their first show in Melbourne as a VIC based band. They were accompanied by Sam who was drumming with them for the first time. Something Something Explosion are a punk explosion, musically they took me to a dive bar in the 90’s with their raw sound and hard-hitting relatable lyrical content. They’re a band to keep an eye out for.

Diploid, another local trio played next, opening with a moody intro that fit perfectly with the gloomy Melbourne weather. Diploids setup was a little different to a standard 3-piece as they had the element of synth style setups with tonnes of cool effects and soundbites added in on the fly which accompanied their loud, heavy and aggressive grind/black metal/doom tones. If you like your music loud and angry then Diploid are the band for you!

The venue began to fill out as the touring support band, Sydney based Totally Unicorn took the stage… kinda. Frontman Drew took to the floor, then to the bar, then to the back of the room, then outside, then onto the stage, then back onto the floor again. If you took your eyes off him for just a second, you’d lose him in the sea of people with puzzled faces. That was until he was back in front of the stage making punters skip over his microphone lead. Totally Unicorn would best be described as a party punk/happy hardcore band because while their music was gritty and rough with relatable everyday lyrical content, the vibe was like having a jam with your mates at a house party. During one song they shifted into the intro to Blind by KoRn while exclaiming to the crowd, “We totally wrote this!”. There seemed to be a heckler at some point who was affectionately referred to as ‘Dad’, his interferences were handled hilariously. Totally Unicorn are a sight to see, they are the type of must-watch band even if their music isn’t your style, the theatrics are sure to make you smile.

As a huge fan of Cancer Bats, I was hyped for the Canadian band to finally take the stage. As an intro played, the band appeared and the line-up was looking a little less hairy. As guitarist Scott Middleton was taking some time off to be with his new-born child, his position had been temporarily filled by Wade MacNeil of Alexisonfire and Gallows fame. The intro, which I believe to be the Keymaster bit from Ghostbusters, finished and the band blasted into Gatekeeper off their 2018 release The Spark That Moves which resulted in a huge reception. This was followed by Sorceress from the Hail Destroyer album that shot them into popularity in 2008. During the third song some punters started crowd surfing and in trying to settle the crowd the security got a bit rough which did not go down well. A security guard was grabbed and shoved off the stage by Wade who told him to “let the kids do their thing!”. The security presence was scarce thereafter.

One more song was played and then Liam addressed the crowd, he informed us that Wednesdays are underrated, they are the true party day and that anyone that says they prefer Fridays is a poser. He followed this up with “I didn’t fly all the way across the world to party like I have a job, I came to party like it IS my job!”. They lead into Bricks & Mortar from 2012’s Dead Set on Living album followed by another newer release called Space and Time. The next song needed no introductions because it was easily recognisable by its intro… the venue erupted as they began to play their cover of Sabotage made famous by The Beastie Boys. Next, they played what is easily their most popular song, and the one that hooked me into become a fan, Hail Destroyer. “Now it feels like a Wednesday!” said Liam before the band ripped the room apart with Butterscotch from the 2006 release Birthing the Giant. All this chaos and it was only halfway through the set. At some point ‘Dad’ from earlier in the night began yelling at the band, they took the joke and continued to roll with it, humouring him until the guitar tuning was done and the next song could be played. They played a few more new and old songs including True Zero from the Searching for Zero album released in 2015. Their even mix of new and old catered to all eras of Cancer Bats fans and their collective energy was and is second to none. Their last show of the Australian tour was just held in Adelaide, but if their tour history is anything to go by, I’m sure they’ll be back next year, and I can’t freaking wait! 

Cancer Bats are currently touring around Australia, you can check out the dates here and stay up to date with the band on social media.

Big thanks to Destroy All Lines and Stay Gold Melbourne.