Totally Unicorn have already got a reputation as a band that gives absolutely everything on stage night after night, and they’ve also got a reputation for being a bunch of legendary loose units. It’s lucky for us, then, that they documented all of the above shenanigans in a hilarious new tour diary, which chronicles their adventures at the recent BIGSOUND conference and Poison City Weekender, plus all the house parties, wine tastings and assorted other hijinks that came in between.
Day One – Deathproof PR Showcase, Crowbar Brisbane
We’re staying at a hostel in the Valley during BigSound. The real bonus here is our shower. The water pressure is like being pissed on by a post-coital penis; a fine mist – more vapor than liquid. The next few regretful mornings spent washing away the previous night’s sins are going to be great…
Fortitude Valley is overrun with people wearing lanyards. Every café and bar is loaded with people close-talking and circle-jerking over their field of expertise.
No. Big. Deal.
Tonight we play two sets – one at Crowbar and one two doors down at a place called the Greaser Bar.
The first starts like any other show – we setup, line check, de-robe and wait for the show’s dude-bro to emerge and claim their throne. Without a doubt, every time, there is always that one guy. And tonight, as the amps begin to howl and the cymbals wash, the crowd parts and he takes his place, front and centre. As always, poor old Drew cops the full brunt of this loose unit.
The show at Greaser Bar is a little hazy. The place has a smoking lounge vibe about it and for most of the day it has hosted chilled band vibes. Earlier in the night we watched a laid back Shining Bird’s set.
As soon as we set our gear up in the tiny room, it becomes apparent that any ambience that remains will soon be destroyed. Thirty seconds into the first song, Drew separates the kick drum and toms from the drum kit. Mike then spends a few minutes reassembling the kit in awkward silence. I grab a beer from the bar for everyone in the meantime. I feel sorry for the one punter who showed up. We kick back off and play the rest of the set. A crowd begins to dribble through the entrance into the drunken chaos that is our midnight lounge bar set.
Day Two – BigSound Showcase, Crowbar Brisbane
Drew and Mike are up early to have ‘business meetings’. Lee and I get up at 2pm, skip breakfast and head straight to a pub at the mall. Brunswick Street Mall is a great place to have a beer and people-watch. If we hadn’t rinsed ourselves with a few pints, it would have been heaps depressing. We get a call from Mike, he wants to have a chat about our drunken performance at Greaser’s last night, he finds out we’ve beat him to it and have started drinking again, understandably, he’s not heaps stoked. On top of last night’s performance, Drew’s lost his voice – right in time for our main showcase tonight. Heaps good. To make amends, Lee and I knock back a few more pints and go in search of Manuka honey for Drew’s yelling tubes.
Tonight the crowd is 90% Lanyards, most are recognisable as successful Australian and New Zealand musicians. Show goes well, everyone seems to dig it. We drink till the early hours with the Crowbar crew and the Ceres guys. I wake up to Lee with his undies stretched up to his pectorials, and man crushes on Tom and Grant of Ceres. Lee and I hang out in our underpants in my bunk and send photos to my wife.
There’s no aphrodisiac like hanging with ya mates in your grundies. #bunkbros
Day Three – A Big Mess 3.0, New Farm (house party)
We’ve been here for almost three days but it feels like more. After a short Uber ride from our hostel, we arrive at New Farm to play a house show. The stage is a DIY setup underneath a large tree and acts as the show’s centerpiece. Away from all the industry hustle and lanyard-wearing bustle, this show is the best vibe at BigSound. Drew rode a bike during the set to the amusement of the packed backyard.
On a high from a grand time at the house show, we hit the town in time to catch Mere Women and Ceres tear up the Zoo. We return to Crowbar to continue drinking. Crowbar closes and nothing else is open. The others head to bed and Lee and I meet a standup citizen named Abraham. He tells us we should go to the Casino, as it’s open till all hours. Lee and I get a taxi and somehow get in. Abraham, accompanied by a friend, is already knocking back a beer when we walk into the bar. We make a new friend named Mark – he’s a plasterer from some rural town in Queensland. After a few hours, Mark takes a turn for the worst and starts spouting racial slurs at Abraham. Abraham and Mark have a scuffle and everyone’s kicked out. Abraham invites us back to his house to continue drinking. We get home at 9am after trudging our drunken shit all over social media.
We were broke before we left Sydney; we’re now at a deficit.
Greenwave Beth serenading a chockers backyard.
Missed our chance, there aren’t any hashies left.
Hate is being startled awake and catching a cab to the airport at 5am. Taking into consideration the state we’re in at such a time, I am surprised we haven’t suffered bigger losses, like MIA instruments, wallets, or phones.
Scrap that, Drew left his bag in the taxi.
Too broke to buy breakfast, too hungover to not look like a sex offender.
We arrive in Melbourne with heads full of hangover and anxiety. We’ve got two days off. Lee’s discovered Fat Little Lamb (for those at home, think Kirks soft drinks – just as cheap, but soused to the eyeballs). This will be outstanding.
Mike, Drew, Jules (Bennies) and Jamie Hay (Fear Like Us) after a filming an episode of ‘Wine About It’.
Mike sleeps like a dolphin mid breach.
Day Seven – Sunday at Poison City Weekender, The Reverence, Footscray
This is our last show for a few days. The lineup, the people and the rider are fucking excellent.
The show goes well, we hydrate with watermelon daiquiris, every one kicks on. The pub closes for a lock-in and everyone’s sectioned off to the back ‘band room’. Without a moment’s hesitation, Stevie of Clowns is behind the sound desk and assumes the role of DJ. Everyone dances to ABBA. Lauren from High Tenno/Fear Like Us has found a mandolin and is performing each banger on the packed-down stage. We call it quits by 1:30am and catch an Uber home. Our Uber driver is cool about me eating a sausage roll in his car, I spill all the contents of my sauce packet on my jeans and have to dip my snag roll up and down my leg to reclaim the cost.
Drew and Stevie (Clowns) do a shirtless tango to Queen.
En Route Home
Drew and Mike hit up Triple J for an interview with ole’ Josh from Short Fast Loud, despite kicking on till 4am. This has been common practice for them all week, good boys.
We make it to the airport in time for a Valium and a pint, which thankfully kicks my horrid hangover and post inebriated anxiety in the crotch. We go our separate ways as Mike heads home to Adelaide, and the rest of us to Sydney. We’re home for two days, heading back to work, and then fly out to the next leg – Adelaide and WA. The thought of it sends shivers through my loins and I already hate myself.
Mike’s flight has been delayed and he spends nine hours drinking vodka at the Qantas lounge in Melbourne. All’s well that ends well.
Watch: Totally Unicorn – ‘Customer Service Station’
Totally Unicorn Dream Life Tour
with special guests Pagan
Thursday 15th September
Crown & Anchor, Adelaide
Friday 16th September
Saturday 17th September
Prince of Wales, Bunbury
Friday 23rd September
Northcote Social Club, Melbourne
Saturday 24th September
The Brisbane Hotel, Hobart
Thursday 29th September
Newtown Social Club, Sydney
Sunday 2nd October
Yours & Owls Festival , Wollongong
Friday 7th October
Saturday 8th October
The Northern, Byron Bay