Regurgitator @ Stones Corner Festival

Some bands just never get old

The Stones Corner Festival has been going all day by the time I rock up at 8pm, and it seems like it has been quite a party. Literally a few metres from the entrance, four cops are holding a guy down on his stomach with his arms pinned behind his back. Another guy is being escorted out by security: “I'm a lawyer, and what you're doing is illegal!” he slurs. I prime myself to enter a battlezone, but once inside it turns out atmosphere is crowded and inebriated but friendly.

I Heart Hiroshima are on stage, bashing out their distinctive angular dancey rock. On the festival PA they sound huge and epic – I've never seen them like this before. They seem slightly uncomfortable on the big stage in front of the vast crowd (which I should clarify, is humungous – stretching from one end of the block to the other). Saying their farewells before the final song, drummer Sullivan Patten is almost apologetic - “if this is the first time you've seen us, I hope it's been ok”.

They leave the stage, but not many of the crowd are moving. For one, it's hard to go anywhere when you're packed tighter than Schappelle Corby's suitcase. But also, the main attraction is close by. Among the crowd of well lubricated 20 year olds, there are a few impatient looking older music nerds who are obviously not just here for the party. It's not every day that Brisbane legends Regurgitator are in town.

Unlike I Heart Hiroshima, Regurgitator are obviously experienced at playing to huge crowds – being at the forefront of Australian alternative rock in its 90's music festival heyday will do that. Instantly bass player Ben Ely is hyping the crowd, a routine he never lets up for the whole set.

The band are tight, and the sound immaculate. The keyboard parts from songs off Unit (which the band plays almost all of, even annoying album tracks like World Of Sleaze) are played off a backing track, but that doesn't detract at all from the performance.

The crowd is in high spirits. At the end of Modern Life, as the band breaks into a My Disco-style extended one chord jam, a woman climbs atop some of the staging equipment and from there starts hanging upside down off a nearby poinciana branch. The crowd cheers, although it turns to awkward groans when she falls a couple of metres to the ground. Happily, she seems unharmed and even climbs up later in the set for an encore performance.

The biggest crowd response though is for the track Ely introduces as “the most aggressive song we've ever written” - Polyester Girl. For me the song brings back memories of Saturday mornings spent watching top 40 music videos on TV, but a fair chunk of the crowd mustn't even have been born when it came out. Yet it seems everyone knows it, and that I reckon says something about Regurgitator's place in Australian music – whether you're a dedicated fan or not, for a decade they were a constant presence – from moshpit starting first album to the genre defying second one; from reality tv recording experiments to satirical social commentary; they managed to cover a lot of ground yet keep the songs catchy enough to stay in the mainstream for a long time.

There were a lot of people there on Sunday night, and all of us somehow shared some connection to those three guys onstage. As they closed with the glorious ! (The Song Formerly Known As) and the crowd went wild, it made you realise what a lasting impact these unassuming Brisbane nerds have left on a generation of music fans.

Andy Paine

Zed Facts

The 4ZZZ news team won a national CBAA award for Youth Contribution in 2009. This award recognised the news team's efforts in highlighting youth issues and providing a voice for marginalised groups.