Regurgitator UNITS @ Eaton’s Hill Hotel
- Meanjin-Brisbane rock legends Regurgitator’s second and possibly best studio album Unit blew up the airwaves upon release way back when in 1997. Hit singles Black Bugs, Polyester Girl and ! (The Song Formerly Known As) soaked up the sun in the mainstream and all the others sneaking onto Triple J and community radio stations across the country. Unit is without doubt one of Meanjin-Brisbane’s greatest exports and Regurgitator’s most commercially successful record, peaking at number four on the ARIA charts and their only album to reach triple platinum in sales. So to celebrate the album’s twenty-fifth anniversary, Destroy All Lines in partnership with the ‘Gurg’s management and record label Consume/Valve put their heads together and came up with this sick little twenty-five-year anniversary mini-festival to be held on the Twenty-fifth of March this year at Eaton’s Hill Hotel in -you guessed it- Eaton’s Hill.
The ‘minifestival’ is becoming more and more often the du jour of Meanjinite live music but this one was a real doozy. Aside from the the ‘Gurg headlining, DZ Deathrays, Custard, Screamfeeder, Glitoris, Butterfingers, Mitch Please, Models, Flangipanis, The Stress of Leisure, Platonic Sex, Resin Dogs, Cable Ties, Cheap Date and Soy Division all took turns playing across two stages. Eaton’s Hill Hotel itself oozes swanky style and doesn’t strike one as the first place to hold an independent rock’n’roll super-event. The Ballroom hosted the indoor stage: a massive room framed in red velvet curtains. Many of the newer players in the Australian alternative scene were set to storm the Ballroom, playing only fifty metres or so away from the enormous main stage, erected on the grassy knoll maintained by the Eaton’s Hill Hotel just outside. The rusted-on '90’s alternative Brissy trinity of Screamfeeder, Custard and Regurgitator were front and center on the outdoor mainstage and beside a pathetic spittle of rain their sets were exactly as advertised. One electric stream of sound and colour. Glitoris arrived to open in full makeup, their fans made themselves known with their ever provocative ‘slut power’ t-shirts. Butterfingers were the talk of most punters up for a chat around the traps, quite a few told this reviewer that the Brisbane-based hip-hop outfit were the main drawcard of the festival. Resin Dogs were also quite a fan favorite, another hip-hop outfit with a multitude of influences not exclusive to the vibe. If there’s something Regurgitator do well it’s bringing people together and Units happily and irreverently leaped back and forth between the realms of pop, rock, punk and hip-hop.
The ‘Gurg like to have their cake and eat it too and when it comes to pinning them down to a particular style, give up immediately. Unit irrevocably changed their sound, and this mélange of influence on parade within made them the saucy genre chameleons we know and love today. They burst on stage in light rain, clad in the (exact) same silver jumpsuits, bunny ears and fluffy tails they wore during their ’98 tour. Unit in its glorious entirety was played from start to finish, and everyone knew exactly what to expect. A smattering of mosh and a dash of just plain boogie down, the feeling of anticipation when the familiar hook of Polyester Girl played just that little earlier in the set than it should have was electric. One might have even assumed they meant to tease the crowd, but Regurgitator are nothing if not playful. A wonderful day on the green and a memorable slice of Brisbane music history; much thanks owed to Valve/Consume’s Paul Curtis, who (as always) worked like the devil himself to put on this monumental day of music. Well done.
- Matt Hall.