Live Review: Frenzal Rhomb, Agitated, Negative Reinforcement

19 June 2012 | 3:16 pm | Daniel Cribb

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You know you're at a Frenzal Rhomb gig when the first thing you see upon arriving at the venue is a punter vomiting in a car park. But in their 20 years as a band Frenzal Rhomb have secured more than just a dedicated, party-ready fan base – amongst an impressive discography and unique charisma, they've perfected their up-and-coming bands radar, which was working nicely when they selected supports for this show.

The night kicked off with a slightly staggered music flow, Negative Reinforcement smashing out an energetic hardcore set an hour after doors opened and finishing 20 minutes early. Although their set was brief, it packed an enthusiastic punch that opening bands rarely deliver. Playing to a sold-out and intoxicated Frenzal Rhomb crowd is a potentially dangerous feat, but luckily Agitated had just the right amount of punk rock-infused hardcore to tame the beast. Forty minutes of music three hours into the show – you can imagine the amount of alcohol consumed by the time the headliners came on.

20 years is a long time for a band, and if nothing else Frenzal Rhomb sure know how to make an entrance, strutting through the stage door and gearing up to Earth, Wind & Fire's Just Groove. Opening their set with a disclaimer – warning punters about vocalist Jay Whalley's loss of voice – no doubt from intense partying in Bunbury the night before – they managed to cross an album's worth of material off their setlist quicker than patrons could get through a drink, which was surprising considering the rants their stage banter often turns into.

Whalley's voice issues were easily resolved by frequent trips to the barrier, which saw him engulfed in a sea of sweaty male love, and bassist Tom Crease taking on the role of lead singer from time to time. Tailoring their humour towards WA, they joked about winning a WAMi award for their song I Know Why Dinosaurs Became Extinct and referenced Jebediah on numerous occasion, guitarist Lindsay McDougall rattling off bits of their hits in-between songs.

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By the end of their set Whalley's voice had just about had enough, but the crowd's collective voice for Never Had So Much Fun and Punch In The Face was a remedy that showed why this band sells out most WA shows. Drummer Gordy Forman took control of McDougall's mic to urge the crowd to check out the openers when they next played and jumped back behind his kit as the stage fairy lights turned on for Home & Away and You Can't Move Into My House.