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DRAMA PRINCESSES

Unicorn
Unicorn

UNICORN w MYTHS AND CURLEY
MOJOS 23 FEBRUARY

PRELUDE
I should have sensed something was wrong when I drove past the venue looking for a parking spot. There were people waiting outside for the doors to open. Locals really should generate this sort of welcome, but they rarely do. Craning my neck to see what was going on, I almost missed the rock star spot someone had saved me right outside the burger joint next to Mojos. I backed in thinking tonight was going to be a good, good night. I joined the throng and the suspicion that something was wrong grew. These were not my people. I couldn’t really explain why. They weren’t like the dead children I saw walking down the street just after my mother passed away, but they weren’t from my world, either. The doors opened and the throng surged forward. I slipped into the line, ever unobtrusive, and looked over shoulders into the dimly lit doorway, searching for something that would tell me what was wrong. Then I saw the sign. Literally. I checked my phone. I was exactly one week early. I headed for home, calling a friend on the way to share my stupidity. She laughed and laughed and laughed. I shared my ignominity on socials. People on the Internet laughed and laughed and laughed. I went to bed and spent a restless night wondering what my life will be like when I slip further into what is obviously the early onset of dementia. It runs in my family, so why not?

Unicorn are nothing but themselves and, in Jenna Hardie, have a unique and enigmatic frontwoman who rides the line between familiarity and interstellar distance just about perfectly

Arriving back at the scene of the first stage of my inevitable downfall exactly one week later, to the minute, I was greeted by an empty venue. The only people on the street were burger enthusiasts, one of whom had stolen my parking spot. I was greeted at the entry to Mojos by a rockstar masquerading as the door person. She greeted me warmly, inked my wrist and waved me through, telling me she’d just flown in on her magic carpet. I believed her. Rockstar number two was moonlighting as the sound engineer. We chit chatted about the news of the day and why sometimes two-door cars need three doors, after which I left them to it, looking to find a spot where I could (1) sit comfortably and (2) not have to spend the whole evening pulling hair from my eyes as it was blown across the vast expanses of my face by one of the venue’s abundance of fans. Initially, I was successful in neither endeavour. This was the night I began to seriously flirt with the idea of surgical options to fix my visage. What else would I use my superannuation for?

VERSE 1
Earlier than I had expected (I really should pay more attention to dates and times, it’s not like people don’t tell me these things), someone stepped on stage with a guitar and played a song. It was interesting, there was something about them. It couldn’t have been Curley, though, because they’re a band. Maybe it was a surprise guest artist? That’s something I would do if I ever put on a show. Then three other people joined the one already on stage and they played some more songs. It dawned on me that this was Curley, which news the one who’d started things off on their own confirmed part way into his band’s set. I’d been told Curley were good, but I didn’t really know what to expect and, given the week I’d had, I was looking for someone to dislike.

I pulled the hair out of my face and leaned forward, almost falling off my stool with all the clumsiness of the almost elderly. George Gare, singer and guitarist — and I daresay, driving force — with Curley, was reeling off witty, opalescent pop songs like they just came to him in his dreams, easy as pie. He moved with the gawky awkwardness of someone who knew exactly what they were doing and, as others before me have noted, I’m sure, immediately laid credible claim to the title ‘future darling of indie pop’. Think adopted child of Darren Hanlon, Ben Lee and Ben Folds, although his bloodlines alone are enough to have him marked as a future great. I was beginning to feel glad I hadn’t stayed home after all.

Curley – Opalescent pop

COMFORT TO ME
During the changeover, I moved to one of Mojos’ legendary couches, spotting my chance when the room emptied so people could go out into the ‘beer garden’ to do anything but drink. I’ve never been out there, I live clean and despise those who try to escape the humdrum of the end-of-the-world times we’re living in. I prefer it when everyone is equally miserable. By the time the second stanza was about to be presented, I was encased in comfiness and my biggest problem was how to stay awake for the rest of the evening.

VERSE 2
MYTHS. Oh, fuck not again!

Nah, it’s OK, they know I love them, and so do you.

Right now this band seems ubiquitous. I’m just hanging on the moment when they take centre stage to an audience of thousands. It’s no less than they deserve, but this is a very cruel and unfair world.

TIPS FOR YOUNG TOGS
If you’re taking photos of live music and you want to make a half-empty venue look full, just throw a few pills to some millennials in exchange for them standing between you and the stage for a while. If you’re lucky and have a magnetic personality, like me, they’ll do it for free. Works every time.

Thanks for the hangs

VERSE 3
In a three-act play/movie — whatever — the third stanza is always the business end of things. This is where everything resolves, characters get killed off and new heroes take their place looking to a brighter future. If you’re a purveyor of the really good writers, you’ll understand that a proper denouement always leaves room for more. Not a sequel — that’s just banal and unnecessary — but greater lives that are never written, always implied. You have to use your imagination. Shock! Horror! So it is with Unicorn.

I spent most of their set marvelling at Jenna Hardie and Ellis Munro’s stagecraft, these two know how to pull shapes and interact with an audience. But I also hurt my poor fading intellect trying to figure out what it is Unicorn actually do. For the 40 minutes or so of Unicorn’s set, I flipped through my rolodex of rockstars, going through every index card from Courtney Love to Franz Ferdinand and landing on nothing that would suffice. It annoyed me that I couldn’t pin Unicorn to the corkboard of my past experience and then I realised it was a good thing. Unicorn are nothing but themselves and, in Jenna Hardie, have a unique and enigmatic frontwoman who rides the line between familiarity and interstellar distance just about perfectly. Their music is vital and sweet, but with a kick, delivered like an ice cream spider with a shot of vodka skulking at the bottom of the glass.

Unicorn are Drama Princesses. If Hardie ultimately takes on the mantle of Drama Queen, they will be quite something — not that they aren’t already. I’m not sure who Hardie will have to take down to wear the crown, but that’s a gig I’d like to be at. There will be people waiting on the street for the doors to open that night.

Andrea Thompson Andrea Thompson

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HOOKED

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CULTURAL RELEVANCE?

DEF FX DEF FX

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