Don’t Bore Us had the pleasure of attending the 2019 instalment of Unify Gathering. What a spectacular weekend it was. The sense of community and camaraderie born within the grounds of Tarwin Lower is undeniable. It is a festival were friendships flourish under harsh weather conditions. Where moshers clad in horse masks, bananas in pyjamas costumes and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle outfits roam free. It’s also an environment that fosters inner growth. You’ll find inner strength you never knew you had once you’re three days into picking clumps of dust and dirt out your nostrils. It’s a spiritual experience.
Unify is a celebration of the world-class heavy music that Australia is producing. The strength of Unify lies within its ability to pioneer local bands, giving them an opportunity that they may not find in any other major festival hosted within this country.
Up-and-coming acts Yours Truly and Between You and Me tore up the stage with their polished, pop-punk responsibilities. Whilst Melbourne’s new kids on the block Caged Existence delivered one of the most visceral, fervent sets of the weekend.
I’ve never considered myself to be religious, but after watching Pagan’s set I can safely say that I am a devoted worshipper of the Church Of Black Wash. I struggle to think of a more unique band operating within Australia’s heavy scene. Frontwoman Nikki Bruman is a powerhouse.
One of the most heartwarming moments of the set was witnessing Stand Atlantic make their Unify debut. 2018 was nothing short of triumphant for Stand Atlantic. They released their stunning debut record Skinny Dipping. And signed to legendary pop-punk label Hopeless Records. Their performance incited sweeping midday sing-a-longs and impassioned fingerpointing. By the end of their set, there was not a shoulder in the crowd that didn’t have a person sitting upon it.
Watch: Stand Atlantic – Lavender Bones
Brisbane rockers WAAX are responsible for putting on one of my favourite sets of the weekend. All hail queen Maz! who thrashed and convulsed around the stage like a woman possessed, her stage presence is inimitable. WAAX are undoubtedly one of the best live acts in the country right now and we can’t wait to see what the future has in store for them.
Watch: Waax – Wild & Weak
This year saw Hellions make a glorious return to the Unify stage after 2018’s monolithic set. Suffice to say, they brought the funk. Weaving their way through a carefully curated setlist of pickings from their latest release Rue and 2016’s stunning Opera Oblivia. Hellions have a uniquely personal connection with their fans. One that you can feel vibrating from the stage.
Watch: Hellions – Smile
Trophy Eyes set proved that they are a band on the top of their game. Their setlist was comprised predominately of tracks from their latest offering The American Dream, it was euphoric. As soon as the opening riff of Chemical Miracle‘s ‘Chlorine’ pierced through the arena, the crowd erupted into a frenzy of guttural screams.
Unify 2019 was a testament to Australia’s thriving heavy music scene. Heavy music is alive and well and in its most interesting state of reinvention. There is an undercurrent of change within the scene that feels tangible. The push towards inclusivity and equality within the genre has birthed the most diverse and captivating lineups we’ve seen yet. Whilst we still have some way to go, we can’t wait for what the future has in store.
All photos by Georgia Moloney.
To check out all the action, head to our photo gallery!