Unify Off The Record @ Hindley Street Music Hall, Adelaide 26/5/2023
Unify is exactly that, it does not matter your gender or race. It doesn’t matter if you wear all black or every colour of the rainbow. What matters is everyone treats everyone with respect and enjoys what we are all here for. The music.
The sense of togetherness throughout the whole event , where people can just be themselves surrounded by like minded folk is absolutely magical.
The travelling festival has as few subtle differences from most festivals. For a start it’s indoors and not every band plays every line up. However the Adelaide date is arguably the most solid of the lot.
A number of artists pop into the signing desk for selfies and chats with the fans including Ocean Grove, Yours Truly and Alt. giving younger fans exclusive access to the artists.
What of the music though? Nine of Australia’s brightest and best bands descend on the city for a near full day extravaganza of music.
I arrive in time for the second band The Last Martyr from Melbourne. Led by the incomparable Monica Strut, who gets the crowd to squeeze forward, the band is full of catchy choruses, harmonies and can get heavy when needed. A unique cover of Freestyler with Strut in cowboy hat and shades displays the bands panache to embrace the days harmony.
Each band for the day has their own Auslan interpreter at the side of the stage in another sign of inclusivity, and to be honest, watching the interpreters headbang and sign the lyrics is worth the entrance fee alone, they are that enthusiastic.
The Beautiful Monument were here last month supporting Escape The Fate and won many fans, so it’s not surprise to see the crowd energised for them. Full of high energy and melody’s, the dynamics and charisma engages the crowd as they bounce around the stage.
The Gloom In The Corner turn the bass down and get heavy, really heavy. Every member of the band is a whirl of high kicks, head banging as the band drop New Order and Behemoth with the latter sounding like cannons going off when that imperious breakdown hits.
Hometown heroes Alt, fresh off touring with Don Brocco across the east coast, hit the stage with Insubordinate and it’s clear they have the bait to capture the audience on a hook.
The Great Depression grooves and has the crowd head bobbing along however it’s the evenings first wall of death during A.D.D. that confirms that Alt. have truly conquered tonight.
Yours Truly are going to have to bring something to top that and they rise to the challenge. Back from their own tour of the US, vocalist Mikaila Delgado covers every inch of the stage, connects with each audience member and is a devilishly whirl of energy while belting out her emotional lyrics
Lights On, Hallucinate, High Hopes and Walk Over My Grave are included in a set list chock full of fan favourites that the three piece pull off to loud cheers from the crowd.
Every one of the bands is currently touring and working extremely hard at their craft, and the performances all round have been powerful. Their hard work and dedication showing in this festival of music that is becoming more glorious than first thought.
So now it’s time for Ocean Grove. A time of people on shoulders, crowd surfers, clapping, wall of deaths, circle pits as everyone is literally swept up in the fun of the bands live show.
The lid is well and truly off the place during Sex Dope Gold and by the time we run into Bored and Sunny vocalist Dale Tanner is already crowd surfing in what can only be described as absolute scenes.
Thornhill just keep better and finding their spot. Their blend of atmospheric vocals and pointed riffs creates a unique potion of dynamics that has the crowd spellbound. Circle pits and moshing are commonplace as the heavy Hellfire Club and Lily & The Moon has everyone jumping up and down having a great time. By the time they finish, there are a lot of smiles and sweaty bodies abound.
That leaves Teenage Joans to finish the evening with their chaotic, anarchic punk harmonies. The two piece trash and crash their way through while still impressively keeping the songs in sync and sounding great for the hardy and dedicated souls down front.
With that, eight hours of music has passed, and the festival finishes. Unify have tried something different and it will come back bigger and stronger next year. What’s not to like about a selection of Australia’s finest on one stage , in a place everyone feels safe to express who they truly are, in a true gathering of souls. A unifying event indeed.
Live Review By Iain McCallum