REVIEW: Yacht Club DJs, Hunting Grounds, Moonbase Commander @ Unibar

Words by Regan Kerr

The Los Angeles Raiders were an NFL team that existed from 1982-1994, after the Oakland Raiders were moved from Oakland to Los Angeles. How Guy from Yacht Club DJs managed to find one of their caps will remain a mystery to me forever; it’s OK though, it’ll sit right alongside the other mystery of where he managed to find his Michael Jackson t-shirt…with Michael Jackson still looking pretty black. One thing I did know for sure though was that two of the hippest party starters in Australia tonight brought their A-game to Wollongong

It was a rainy Thursday night as I arrived at the UniBar with my party accomplices. Super keen for a night of filthy mash ups from Yacht Club, we arrived to find a very empty venue. Moonbase Commander had just come on stage, spinning his chilled beats to a crowd of only about 50 people, all seated.

“Where the hell is everyone?”, “Did we get the right night?”, “Should we just change into singlets and snapbacks and head to 151?” were the questions on all our minds, but after consulting the tour poster to confirm we had indeed got the right night, we headed on in. Inside only confirmed our suspicions that there simply wasn’t very many people here, surprising considering the sold out nature of many venues on the They Mostly Come At Night tour. Back in 2009,  support act Hunting Grounds (formerly known as Howl) won Unearthed High, and have since gone on to receive regular airplay on JJJ, so it was just a little bit disappointing that only about 120 people turned out the whole night to see two hardworking Aussie acts.

Moonbase Commander’s set finished with little recognition from the crowd, and the nights disappointment was further compounded by this reviewer missing happy hour by five minutes.  Hunting Grounds came onstage, their six members lined up onstage and kicked the evening up a notch or two; raucous garage punk filled the UniBar, backed by their signature thumping beats and the perfect amount of synth. The lack of attendance wasn’t lost on the Ballarat rockers, prompting their ironic declartion to the standing crowd of three that “There is a whole lot of fucking rock and roll here tonight!” but no one felt offended; rather it was as if the crowd shared the frustration that more people weren’t here to witness an energetic and entertaining set from the band. Instruments were swapped, three members shared a drum kit and a raucous cover of the Beastie Boys “Sabotage” ended an hour-long set. “White guys are just so good at rapping,” quipped vocalist Lachlan Morrish, “The Beastie Boys, and uhh… 360?”. The boys then ripped into a cracking rendition of new single “In Colour”, featuring spilled beer, crowd vocals and a special dedication to the drunk guy in front of the stage who threw his wonderfully uncoordinated forearms around all set.

Yacht Club came onstage just shy of 10:30 to an empty dancefloor, which was surely a rarity for them. “This will be a lot better if you get up and dance. This isn’t a set you sit down and watch,” the duo instructed before opening with the hook from Dr Dre’s “The Next Episode”. What happened next was one of the most amazing things I’ve ever seen at a gig: everyone, literally everyone, stood up, walked down the front and danced. By the time they actually started playing their new mixtape, there was not a single person anywhere but the dancefloor. No one outside, no one sitting down, no one at the bar. Perhaps there wasn’t the volume of people anyone expected, but everyone had came to party.

For the next hour, Gaz and Guy spun, scratched and messed with their own mixtape, while dropping in party favourites to the delight of the crowd. Hunting Grounds were in amongst it, getting loose in the crowd and throwing down some rad dance moves, which always adds to the vibe of a gig. Comparisons to Girl Talk are probably unavoidable, and whilst lacking in the polished production and seamless transitions of Girl Talk, Yacht Club are just straight up fun. Not limiting themselves to chart pop music, the sheer depth of knowledge of music is evident as the boys dropped in songs from across genres spanning at least thirty years, as well as theme songs and advertising jingles. Ludacris’ ‘Move Bitch’ layered over the top of the Seachange title music? Yeah, it works (Fatboy Slim’s ‘Praise You’ mashed with ‘Sunshine of Your Love’ is still growing on me though). Full credit has to go to the boys for keeping it so entertaining all night, considering how depressing it must have been to come to a near empty UniBar after selling out many of their other national venues. Seriously, even Hobart sold out- once again, questions need to be asked of venues and promoters- but that’s another dead horse to be flogged another day. For now though, it was just a shame to know a lot of people missed top notch sets by two of Ballarat’s finest exports.

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