Review: Frenzal Rhomb at Marrickville Bowling Club, 10 August 2018
Frenzal Rhomb playing the Marrickville Bowlo was probably the most ‘Sydney’ thing 2018 will bear witness to.
The band treated fans to a double-billed weekend, playing sold out shows on both Friday and Saturday nights at the inner-west institution. The humble venue was packed with people enjoying beers, smokes and the buzzing energy.
Friday night’s show started with the raucous Legal Aliens, bringing an act mixed with ferocious screaming energy from the lead singer, offset by a tempered stage presence from the rest of the musicians. Their sound was disjointed, as the garage-punk tones of the bass player and guitarist directly contrasted the grindcore energy and styles of the singer and drummer. The group show a lot of promise, but have a few kinks to work out with their live set.
Next up were Shaky Handz, who brought a lo-fi, clean tone with Garage Punk sensibilities. A fun blend of refreshing, upbeat punk with moments of jangly shred, They proved to be a good break between the brash Legal Aliens and what Frenzal were due to provide.
After a quick set change, Frenzal sauntered up on stage to their signature wry 70s ballad intro, this time to ‘This is it’ by Huey Lewis and the News. Packing the usual banter, they opened with the galloping fan-favourite ‘Racist’, a old critique of the One Nation party that’s sadly become relevant with their fractured return to politics in the last few years.
Powering through a packed setlist from all over their 26-year career, the band reminded everyone of their incredibly consistent and energetic output. At no point did any of the songs feel tired, or any of the members look to be slowing down.
Songs like ‘Mummy Doesn’t Know You’re a Nazi’, ‘Fuck My School Reunion’ and ‘Russell Crowe’s Band’s a Fucking Pile of Shit’, drenched in satire and scathing wit and mixed with breakneck-speed punk, proved to be an incredibly compelling live show.
They are also able to put the wits to one side and bust out some dumb fun, with songs like ‘Bird Attack’, ‘Bucket Bong’ and the hilariously disparaging ‘Punch in the Face’.
The night ended on their classic ‘Never Had So Much Fun’ as a sweaty and bruised crowd dispersed slowly.
Many bands 25 years into their careers become shells of their former selves, rehashing old material and leaning on the nostalgia with no progression. While there is a heavy emphasis on the greatest hits, Frenzal are finding a balance between moving forward as a band and writing more exciting songs, and being faithful to old fans by keeping the old hits around.