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 tour diary, which chronicles their adventures at the recent BIGSOUND conference and Poison City Weekender, plus their own headline tour and all the house parties, wine tastings and assorted other hijinks that came in between.
The Foundry, Brisbane w/ Pagan, IDYLLS and Blind Girls
And so we reach the last leg of the Dream Life tour. I’m haggard AF, but it’s been a blast. As sad as it is that things are coming to an end, I’ll be glad when I’m yet again able to chuck a Friday night sloth. I’ll be happy to not see another plane or airport for a few weeks.
We disembark at Brisbane airport; the weather is warm and the sun is stinging. Mike’s flight arrives about an hour after ours, so we hang out in the smoking area. Someone must be hoarding dirty nappies or a family of Ibis’ close by because it fucking stinks. Mike arrives; we grab the hire car and head straight to the venue.
Mike has a Wine About It episode to film at Crowbar with Violent Soho, so we drop off him and Drew and try to find a parking space. We spend a good half an hour trying to find a car space close to the Foundry. No luck. We settle with the overpriced parking station a few hundred metres away, and three of us lug the gear to the venue.
We’re staying at the venue tonight. Due to a lack of rooms, Pagan and Totally Unicorn are sharing a dorm. We are one bed short – Lee and I opt to share beds, of course.
It’s time to sound-check, but Mike is still busy with his filming. We setup in the hope that by the time we’re done, he will have just waltzed through the door, ready to check a song or two.
There’s still no sign of Mike, so Matt from Pagan fills in.
The gig has officially kicked off. The crowd – aside from some diehard fans who traveled all the way from Toowoomba – is minimal, but it’s a great room with a swell vibe.
Mike’s finally made it. His eyes are glassy and his once white shirt is now covered in red. He retreats to the accommodation for a kip; here’s hoping that gives us a fighting chance for the show.
Blind Girls absolutely blow my mind. I venture upstairs to check out how Mike’s doing and find him drumming on his bunk; the floor is littered with debris from a kebab he smashed prior.
I call him Mi-Kebab.
We play the show to more people than expected. One of our Brisbane regulars strips down to a tie-dyed mankini and let’s loose. Despite Mike’s initial state, the show’s a hit.
Everyone heads across the road to Crowbar. We have a 1am DJ set, and a full two hours of party hits. It’s tame at first – I don’t think anyone in the band has ever ‘DJ’d’ before – ten songs in and it’s like a 15-year-old’s house party. It takes Drew about half an hour before he realises there is a microphone on stage; it hardly leaves his grip for the rest of the night.
It’s closing time, so we gather up our jackets and move it to the…Foundry. Mike does his part and helps the bar staff clear the venue…
We party upstairs till the early hours; people drop off one by one to our shared dorm room. Lee and I are the last in bed and spend an hour pissing everyone off until we pass out.
The Great Northern Hotel, Byron Bay w/ The Coathangers, Pagan, and Bleach Girls.
I wake up in the morning disoriented, showered and dressed in my boardies; drunken Aaron must have been very keen for a dip in Byron.
Kerim and the Pagans head out for a nice breakfast and coffee. Lee, Mike, Drew and I head next door for a morning beer. By late lunch, Kerim meets us back at the pub and drives our drunken arses to Byron.
None of us have really had much sleep, and the early morning drinking is taking its toll. We arrive at the venue, locate our on-site accommodation and try for a nap. The Pagans arrive, and all but Lee head to the beach for a swim. I’m still drunk as I attempt a dive into the waves and nearly break my neck in the shallow water. Shaka.
It’s our last night of tour and everyone reminisces on the few weeks the Pagans and Unicorns have had together. It has been fun AF and we’ve made some great friends out of the Pagans.
It’s great to see The Coathangers play again. We met at Yours and Owls Festival the week prior. They ruled then and they rule even harder in an enclosed venue.
Our set gets off to a rocky start – Drew heads into the crowd, second song in and cuts his vocals off for the remainder of the song. He heads back on stage and we troubleshoot the problem. The soundie is not happy, after he unties the mess of chord and streamers, he gives Drew an earful and storms back to the sound desk. It sucks that he’s got shit on the liver; he’s only doing his job, but so are we.
We get back on track and plow through the set list. The vibe is weird; I’m left with a bad taste in my mouth after the soundie lost his shit – he probably had cucumber for lunch. The remainder of the set gets a little wild. Everyone does their best to up the ante; Kerim takes his wireless for a spin; Lee climbs and jumps off the speaker stacks. Towards the end of Dream Life, Lee takes a big punk jump (I’m going with punk jump because I don’t think there is such thing as a grunge jump) and cooks it. He spends the rest of the set parked on the drum riser. It only takes a few disgruntled looks to work out that he’s done himself a mischief.
As we pack up, I walk over to the small crowd that’s quickly surrounded Lee. He says that his busted his ankle and can’t walk. He thinks it’s broken but everyone else (including yours truly) assures him it’s probably just a sprain. I carry him off style to the green room, The Bodygaurd-style. Lucky for us, a first-aid officer is in the crowd and has come back stage to assess the damage. **If you’re reading this, please get in contact with us/me. I would love to thank you properly for your swift action and care xxx.
Lee is in bad shape and can’t move from his seat in the green room. We drunkenly ponder a way to get him upstairs. In the end, Kerim piggybacks him and hauls his arse up a few flights of stairs to the accommodation balcony. Lee’s positivity is as fucked as his ankle; he’s preparing for the worst. I feed him any booze I can to try and change his outlook, but it only makes him more vocal.
We party with the Pagans and Coathangers, sharing stories of our last few weeks, how the Coathangers have enjoyed bogans for their second time in Australia and shoot the shit on all things music and life back home.
It’s morning and Lee’s foot hasn’t improved at all; in fact, it’s declined. It looks like Ken Griffey Jr in that Simpsons episode where he’s downing nerve tonic like it’s caffeinated Mount Dew. The Coathangers say their goodbyes and leave us with a parting gift – American painkillers. Lee shoves a few down, and I join him…for prosperity.
Everyone packs up their belongings. Kerim heads for breakfast, and yet again, the rest of us head to the pub downstairs for a rinse. We load up on cheap beer and head to the airport.
Drew gets Lee a wheelchair and we load him up with gear. Mike’s flight is about four hours before the rest of the band, so we find a bar and spend the afternoon drinking Lee’s worries away. We sip daiquiris and make new friends.
This is the end. The past few weeks have melded into one memory; of booze, music, laffs, grumps, fights, hugs, dicks and friends. Although I’m not grateful for the anxious walks to work in the mornings, I am grateful for the friends I’ve made, the venues I’ve played, the hospitality I’ve received and the all round good natured humans I’ve met. If you came to a show, bought a shirt, fed us drinks (mid-song), housed us, conversed ’till the early hours and offered gifts – I thank and applaud you. We’re lucky enough to have had the experience and come out with only a fractured ankle (it’s confirmed, he’s gimped his kicking foot).
To our PR pals, Deathproof; our label lads, Farmer and The Owl; our booker 123 Agency; and anyone else I’ve forgotten – thank you so fucking much.
To my band mates: I love you guys like that shit uncle who – although always plastered at Christmas and family occasions – ain’t so bad the rest of the time. Thanks for putting up with me.
Thanks for reading,