Yours & Owls memories: Totally Unicorn

In the lead-up to Yours & Owls’ 2nd birthday party this weekend, we asked some of the bands playing the three-venue celebration to reflect on their memories of Owls; both as performers, and as regular gig-goers. Next up is Totally Unicorn, as drummer Mike ponders egg/bird metaphors, getting laid, and dancing like Michael Jackson. TU will be playing the “after-party” at Blue Note/Fever nightclub, so make sure you’re still conscious enough to get in to see them (disclaimer: Mike says the Totally Unicorn boys will make no such guarantees as to their sober-ness)

What was your first gig at Yours & Owls?
We’d been friends with the boys from Owls since well before the egg hatched 2 years ago, and had been keen on playing there when they were still fertilising their ideas and spraying the white undercoat on the walls, but held off until September last year on a tour to promote the ‘Cool Dads’ film clip. There were streamers, piñatas, nudity, and the booze was flowing through the party hats. They probably don’t agree but that was their FIRST birthday celebration, so it’s an honour to be playing for them again at their second.

What has been the favourite show you’ve played there?
The first one was hard to top and there was a lot of hype around that show, but the last time we played there with Rosetta, City of Ships and Nuclear Summer was incredible for a whole different set of reasons. All the bands played so tight that night and the crowd was super-intimate – it was a completely different vibe… almost grown up! It may have also been the last show Drew played in his tie-dye morph-suit too, so it holds a pretty special place in our hearts.

What’s your best memory of the place?
I think any night that we’ve been there and one of us have gotten laid during our afterwards would have to be a highlight. There’s been a few of those (thank you Owls). As for the best memory?… let’s just say it involves 8 men, the Weeknd, some party lights, and a huge sack.

What are some of the highlights of shows you’ve seen at Owls?
The Rosetta show was great, so was The Flatliners with Joe Knott, Pear & The Awkward Orchestra, and some folky type 5-piece band that played a handsaw, a washboard, and a whiskey bottle amongst other things – they were amazing.

How much of a role do you think Owls plays in the Wollongong music scene today?
They definitely take a more purist approach to music and arts from what I’ve seen. The guys always support the people that play there, are generous, flexible and happy to work with anyone with a splooge of talent or creativity. To be so eclectic and tuned in to what’s happening in Australia, and to be a 60-cap room and not have gone broke yet is a tribute to them as well as to all of the locals that support them each week. Without them I think it would definitely be a considerably more barren town artistically. Not to say that other venues in the Illawarra aren’t contributing by any means – but this is a significant place in our eyes.

Why do you think they’ve been so successful so far?
Because unlike the glasshouse you don’t have to be a cunt to go there.

What are you expecting for the 2nd birthday party?
Look, our main goal at this stage is to somehow stay sober enough to be physically able to play the after party at Blue Note or Fever or whatever it’s called (I’ve never been there before but I’ve heard the floor lights up like a Michael Jackson film clip, so I’m stoked). Apart from that I’m going to try to pick up any bi-drummers that may or may not be playing and check out Step – Panther, Fait Accompli, Let Me Down Jungleman, and Mega-Shark – anyone with a band name that good should be checked out!

What band are you most looking forward to watching on the night?
Oh fuck, did I just fuck this interview? Uhhhh… Let’s say Alotta Pressure & Doc Holliday Takes The Shotgun.

If you could buy Yours & Owls a birthday present, what would it be?
I already got them this Owlet (below) – they can fuck off.

TU play the Yours & Owls 2nd birthday party on August 31. The three-venue party will take over Owls, the Town Hall and Fever/Blue Note nightclub, with The Walking Who Step-Panther, Alotta Presha, Let Me Down Jungleman and a dozen more playing throughout the night. For all the details, click here.


Yours & Owls – a video retrospective

When the quiet little coffee shop opened two years ago, nobody could have ever predicted how much Yours & Owls would shake up the local music and culture scene. Two years on, Owls has become the hub for live music in the Wollongong CBD, and has inarguably become the nucleus around which the new local music scene has been built. Playing host to virtually every local band, as well as nationally touring stars and even a smattering of well-respected internationals, Yours & Owls has provided a space (albeit a cosy one) for music to flourish and live in the centre of Wollongong.

Two years down the track from their unassuming opening on Crown Street, Owls has hosted many shows that will likely be forever etched into the memories of local music fans, young and old. From acoustic sets by The Flatliners, to secret Totally Unicorn gigs, to epic Budha Nights where music lovers are introduced to their new favourite bands, Owls has something for everyone. Basement, Bomb The Music Industry, Tim Hart (of Boy & Bear), The Rubens, Hunting Grounds,  Fait Accompli, Millions – Yours & Owls has played host to many of the most memorable local shows in recent memory. Luckily, thanks to Owls’ policy of video recording most of their shows, we can look back and remember the epic gigs that we’ve been to, or check out the ones that we missed. With the Yours & Owls 2nd birthday party fast approaching (this Friday, August 31!), here’s our look back at some of the more memorable shows that have gone down within the walls of Yours & Owls:

Sticky Fingers
On their most recent tour, Sydney funk-rock outfit Sticky Fingers played a two-night-stand at Owls. They blow us away whenever we see them, and seeing them in the cosy surrounds of Y&O was pretty special.

Tommy M & The Mastersounds
Tommy M seem to play Owls every single week, but that never seems to diminish the crowds they bring. Surely holding the record for most consistently packed-out shows (we hear that their Budha Nights gig with Rocking Horse a few months back was the fastest pack-out of the venue ever), the eight-piece quickly became an Owls favourite.

The Walking Who
These guys, too, have become something of a regular fixture on the Owls calendar. Their brand of fuzzy psych-rock has won The Walking Who a lot of fans recently, including Sydney institutions Select Music and FBI Radio.

The Rubens
Back before they blew up on JJJ, The Rubens were playing places like Owls. Check their performance from 2011 right here.

Totally Unicorn
Arguably the most memorable gig in Owls history was the Totally Unicorn show of September 2011. The final show on a quick east coast tour, the Totally Unicorn guys destroyed the tiny venue in a show that saw punters flying off the stairs onto the crowd below, Drew crowd-surfing the length of the venue, and a greater concentration of tie-dye than any other location in history. Check out the chaos below.

Of course, Totally Unicorn and The Walking Who will be some of the star attractions at Yours & Owls’ 2nd birthday celebrations on August 31. The three-venue party will take over Owls, the Town Hall and Fever/Blue Note nightclub, with Step-Panther, Alotta Presha, Let Me Down Jungleman and a dozen more playing throughout the night. For all the details, click here.

Totally Unicorn to tour with Pour Habit

Totally Unicorn will again be bringing their infamous live show to the country at large later this year, after being announced to join acclaimed US punk outfit Pour Habit on their Australian tour in November.

TU supported Pour Habit on the Wollongong leg of their tour with Smoke Or Fire earlier this year (see our photo gallery here), and obviously impressed enough to be selected for the entire tour this time around. The tour, which also features Hightime, will hit all major capital cities as well as a number of select regional sites in November and December. Luckily enough for local fans, they’ve also booked a Wollongong date at The Patch (the only regional NSW date) on the itinerary.

Tickets for the tour are on sale now.

In other Totally Unicorn news, the bearded bruisers have apparently completely sold out of copies of their new EP, ‘7Inches.’ The two-track vinyl was limited to just a few hundred copies, and every copy has reportedly been sold – just a week after being made available for order. You can listen to a new track here. The four-piece will also be playing the Yours & Owls second birthday party later this month – click here and here for more information.

Pour Habit, Australian tour
w/ Hightime, Totally Unicorn

30th – Unibar, Adelaide [Lic/AA]
1st – FEST-MAS @ The Evelyn Hotel, Melbourne [18+]
2nd – The Tote, Collingwood [18+] Pour Habit playing their album “Suiticide” in full.
5th – Brisbane Hotel, Hobart [18+] * Totally Unicorn not appearing.
6th – Crowbar, Brisbane [18+]
7th – Miami Tavern, Gold Coast [18+]
8th – Annandale Hotel, Sydney [18+]
9th – Valve Bar & Venue, Tempe [Lic/AA] Day Show
9th – The Patch, Wollongong [18+]

NEW MUSIC: Totally Unicorn, Joe Mungovan

* Totally Unicorn will release a new EP, titled ‘7 Inches,’ on October 11. With just two tracks on special pink vinyl, the boys are also streaming a special bonus track on Bandcamp. You can hear it online now, or download it for free upon purchase of ‘7Inches’.

* Joe Mungovan, drummer of Tommy M & The Mastersounds, has released his first solo single online. ‘The Strength’ can be downloaded or streamed free via Soundcloud.

GALLERY: Tonight Alive, Young Guns, Totally Unicorn @ The Patch

Click for our review of the gig

REVIEW: Tonight Alive, Young Guns, Totally Unicorn @ The Patch

Click for our photo gallery from the gig

Words by David Young

Given the fact they’ve managed to pack out the Patch in their own regard previously, it’s no surprise that an enthusiastic batch of early birds leapt at the chance to see Austinmer’s finest Totally Unicorn set off the evening’s proceedings. Basically everything one has come to expect from the band’s live show is present and accounted for, from Drew Gardner’s snow angel in the middle of the dancefloor to his theft of Mike Bennett’s hi-hat at the set’s conclusion. Just because you know what to expect, though, certainly doesn’t mean that the band are prone to put on a boring show. They are the kind of live band in which you only get out what you put in – so uncross those arms and expose some wizards.

Having Totally Unicorn as your opening act is a double-edged sword. On one hand, it sets the energy and entertainment levels at a remarkable high for the rest of the evening. Conversely, that also means that the acts that follow will have great difficulty clearing the bar that’s been set – such is the case with Londonite pop-punks Young Guns. Although putting on a technically proficient set, their Jimmy Eat World-flavoured and radio-friendly take on heavy guitar pop cohesively delivered , the band struggled to maintain the interest of most of the audience. With their star on the rise in their native U.K., it’s clear that the band is used to not only playing to a much bigger crowd, but a much younger demographic. Not a bad performance, but certainly not a gripping one.

A layered build-up eventually brought all five members of Tonight Alive onstage to tear straight into album cut “Listening,” which quickly got the audience heaving towards the front and shouting along to the song’s irrepressible hook. Although the show was not a sell out, there was ample energy within the room to carry the early part of the band’s set, complete with older favourites such as “Wasting Away” and “Revenge and Its Thrills.” The band are at a point where they have a very clear idea of how to run their live shows, taking both dynamics and a flourish of theatricality into consideration. This has its good and bad points – although the band are hugely confident and certainly engaging in their live show, at times it felt like Groundhog Day to the band themselves. A rough new song, “Breakdown,” didn’t help the mid-set slump any further; presenting a tepid chorus and a poorly transitioned key-change.

Still, when the band launched into the grand finale of “Breaking and Entering,” there was no time for cynicism. There were stage-dives to be had and big sing-alongs to be sung, after all. Perhaps inhibitions and cynicism should be best left at the door in order to properly enjoy what Tonight Alive have to offer. It’s up to you.

Tonight Alive tour: Dangerous Summer out, Young Guns in

With Tonight Alive’s “No Place Like Home” tour (featuring Totally Unicorn) just weeks away, the Sydney pop-punk outfit have announced a change to the tour lineup; American pop act The Dangerous Summer are out, and have been replaced by much-hyped British rock band, Young Guns.

“We regret to inform you that The Dangerous Summer have had to cancel their appearance on our tour but we’re excited to announce that our good friends Young Guns from the UK will be joining us,” Tonight Alive announced via Facebook.

All other details and dates remain the same. Tickets for all dates, including May 24 at The Patch, are on sale now. See more info on the Facebook event page.

Tonight Alive “There’s No Place Like Home” tour
w/ Young Guns, Totally Unicorn
May 24, The Patch

Totally Unicorn release tour video

Totally Unicorn have released a video chronicling their ‘Totally Gay Dammit’ tour of December 2011 – don’t worry, there’s barely any proper nudity.

Soundtracked by a live rendition of ‘Kids In Suits,’ the video logs their time on the tour with Gay Paris and God God Dammit Dammit, as the trio launched their split EP late last year. There’s a plethora of tie-dye, partial nudity, crowd-surfing, body hair, party hats and alcohol, as you would expect.

Watch it below.

Totally Unicorn head out on the ‘There’s No Place Like Home’ tour with Tonight Alive and The Dangerous Summer this month. The tour pulls into The Patch on May 24th. Click here for full details.

Totally Unicorn to tour with Tonight Alive, The Dangerous Summer

Totally Unicorn will team up with pop-punk acts Tonight Alive and The Dangerous Summer (USA) for a 12-date national tour in May.

Unicorn will join Tonight Alive’s “There’s No Place Like Home” tour, with both TA and TDS recently coming off appearances on Soundwave Festival. The oddly paired lineup will hit all major capital cities, with a stop in Wollongong at The Patch on May 24th.

Tonight Alive’s last few local gigs have sold out, and with Totally Unicorn’s live show quickly attaining an almost legendary status in local and national circles, you can bet tickets won’t last long. And really, it will be worth the price of admission alone to see the expression on the faces of 16 year old girl Tonight Alive fans when Drew stumbles out wearing nothing but tie-dyed underwear, with ‘DICK PARTY’ scrawled on his stomach in texta, and starts climbing walls and spilling beer everywhere (see below).

Tickets go on sale this Thursday. See more info on the Facebook event page.

Tonight Alive “There’s No Place Like Home” tour
w/ The Dangerous Summer, Totally Unicorn
May 24, The Patch

Radar Illawarra Music Award winners announced!

The winners of the inaugural Radar Illawarra Music Awards were announced on Saturday night, with a packed-out event at the Patch.

Totally Unicorn were the big winners on the night, picking up awards for “best live act” and “best video” for their clip ‘Cool Dads With Cool Sons.’ The four-piece, who were on tour in Adelaide at the time, were good enough to send in a few choice pre-recorded acceptance speeches for the night.

Other winners of the RIMAs were Tommy M & The Mastersounds for “best band,” Places People for “best solo artist” and Sydney Girls Choir for “best release” for their recently-released EP.

The publicly-voted awards saw over 200 entries from fans and local music-lovers, with many of the categories decided by just a handful of votes.

Tommy M, Places People and Sydney Girls Choir celebrated their wins with performances at the RIMAs event, with Vulpes Vulpes and Jack R Reilly – both of whom were also nominated in various categories – also showing off their tunes for an appreciative crowd.

For the inaugural event, the RIMAs were (in my opinion) a success, with many fans turning out to the event and many votes being received. From the bottom of my heart, I’d like to thank everyone involved in the RIMAs: from Jeb Taylor at Music Farmers and the Patch for allowing the awards to be held at the venue; to the bands who gave up their time; and everyone who voted, and of course, attended the RIMAs.

I would also like to thank all the sponsors who made the event possible; New Millennium Trophies and Gifts, who supplied the awesome trophies to the winners (see left); Haworth Guitars; 55ive Design; Laww Media; Main Street Studios; and Music Farmers.

Keep an eye out for more Radar-presented events in 2012!

Click here to see photos from the night.

Radar Illawarra Music Award winners (as voted by the public):
BEST BAND: Tommy M & The Mastersounds
BEST LIVE ACT: Totally Unicorn
BEST RELEASE: Sydney Girls Choir, EP
BEST VIDEO: Totally Unicorn, ‘Cool Dads With Cool Sons’

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