LIVE REVIEW - Regurgitator - The Tivoli

Brisbane legends Regurgitator are on tour once again, as they do a lap of the country in honour of their 25 year anniversary. Dubbed the Quarter Pounder tour, with a best of album in toe, I headed along to The Tivoli to witness the band as they looked back on 25 years of musical debauchery.


The band must of found commercial success at some point in the last quarter of a century (probably their new kids show), because they had shelled out for a video introduction. One part The Eric Andre Show, one part tortured PS2 graphics, their primer was a faux late night talk show, with the band members being not so lovingly rendered as digital avatars.


As the bugged out, body horror versions of themselves faded on the screen, Regurgitator came out to play ‘Track 1’. I’d say it was a clever choice, but I just know that is exactly what they want me to say. It isn’t the first track on the Quarter Pounder album though, so fuck the system I guess.


‘I Like It Like That’ took it right back to the start, as the very first song off the band’s very first release, their 1995 self-titled EP Regurgitator.


After that, it got controversial.


1996 was a simpler time for Australia. We hadn’t yet seen a standing Prime Minister take a bite out of raw brown onion, so, when ‘I Sucked a Lot of Cock to Get Where I Am’ dropped, it was no surprise that it shook our radio stations and their listeners to the core.

I didn’t get a chance to ask Quan or Ben if the song was autobiographical in nature. But judging by the band’s earlier music, I can only assume so.


The band dedicated their next track, ‘Bong in the Eye’ to “smoking so much MJ”. I think it was quite sweet of the guys to remember the real MVP of Regurgitator.


If you want evidence of Regurgitator’s infinite weirdom, look no further than one of their early hits, and according to Quan, the first pop song he ever wrote; ‘Blubber Boy’. Who would have thought that a retelling of an Inuit fairy-tale about a woman who carves a piece of blubber into the shape of her dead lover could be so catchy?


As you sing “I’m your blubber boy, you should rub me”, just try not to think too much about how in the fairy-tale, the woman brought the blubber to life by rubbing her genitals on the gelatinous mass.

Yeah, Regurgitator everyone.


The first section of the set was closed out by ‘Kong Foo Sing’, which was also the first of many crowd sing-alongs. The band fled back stage for a costume change as another video began to play. Not sure how they could afford all this VFX, but the entire tour may be a money laundering scheme.


The interlude was a short retelling of how Ben and Quan first met on a bus in Brisbane, as they debated whether hip-hop or hard rock was the superior genre for angsty, over-sexed teenage men. In the end, hip-rock was born, and subsequently stolen by Jonathon Davis of Korn. Davis couldn’t be reached for comment.


This was all a lead into the next sub-section of the show, a 4 song showcase of their heaviest hitting hip-hop rock mashups. Standouts here were ‘FUCK THE GODDAMN WORLD’ and ‘The Drop.’


There was no time to linger on the old Regurgitator though. Another interlude, another video and another costume change, and were into the meatiest part of the show.


An entire section dedicated just to the band’s seminal album, Unit. What more could fans ask for, seriously?


Their keyboardist came out to join them as they started it the same place as the album, ‘I Like Your Old Stuff Better Than Your New Stuff’. A fitting transition from the hip-rock we had just heard before.


‘Everyday Formula’ was next, followed by ‘I Will Lick Your Arsehole’. I will never be able to listen to that song again without visualising the graphic that played behind the band during the entire track; a giant disembodied tongue floating and wiggling its way up a wall sized anal cavity. My therapist is in for a real treat at our next session.


Quan was in for a rough night. He’d already rolled his ankle at some point and during ‘Modern Life’ he blew a guitar string. If you wanted anymore proof of how much Regurgitator has sold out, Quan was happy to confirm that after 25 years, they were “next level” and could now afford to bring a spare guitar on tour with them. Rock just isn’t what it used to be.


Described as “The song that started the 80s takeover of the band”, ‘Black Bugs’ was there in all its retro glory, as it for some odd reason, transitioned into the theme song from Beverly Hills 90210 towards the end.


As the Unit dedication winded down with ‘! (The Song Formerly Known As)’, I started to put Regurgitator’s longevity into perspective.

I was 5 when Unit was recorded in an old warehouse, not far from where the Tivoli is located. It was over a decade later, while watching Rage late one Friday night, that I discovered the album for myself.


It was bizarre and weird and disturbing and awesome. Even after all those years, the first time I heard that album, it still sounded unique and fresh. Unit changed the Australian music scene in 1997, and I think, is still reverberating through it today.


There was time for one final video before the encore, and with it came the return of the nightmarish, hellscape digital band members. This time they stepped into a ‘machine’ and were transformed into hulking, muscular versions of themselves. It was the most thinly veiled metaphor for cocaine addiction I have ever seen.


Regurgitaor almost had time to fit in another costume change. While the rest of the band had committed to the full ensemble, white tops and stockings with a fluffy pink tutu, Quan had decided that shirts and pants were entirely optional.


I mean, Quan’s not looking bad for a bloke pushing into his late 40s, but he is apparently well aware of it. Seems it was only a matter of time before he found an excuse to get his shirt off and his rig out.


It might have all been part of the act though, as the show was closed out with ‘I Want to be a Nudist’, a song the band described as their “retirement plan”.


Retirement seems a ways off though, as this definitely didn’t feel like a farewell tour.


Regurgitator have repackaged all their old material into the Quarter Pounder album, which is available to stream now, or if you are a total sucker, be purchased.