Monday, June 21, 2010

The Meanies 21st Birthday @ the Hi-Fi

Saturday 19th June, 2010
Hi-Fi Bar, Melbourne.

Money For Rope
Wicked City

I wasn’t originally going to go to this gig but really wanted to as I knew it was going to be a big deal. Overworked and too many things on, admittedly I first thought it best to have a weekend to chill. Then I was reading Beat Mag over lunch last Thursday and saw they had a competition. All you had to do was write how you would celebrate their birthday to win free tickets... why not?

Submitted for the Celebrate The Meanies 21st competition June 17, 2010 - 13:37pm.

“Celebrate like we used to. Annandale Hotel, Sydney, early 90's. Pub was packed, everyone swillin beer and going nuts. Pull yourself up onto what there was of the stage by grabbing hold of Link, couldn't even take a step, there was just no room. Twist and dive out onto the crowd. Just as you'd jump you'd hit so much hot air from everyone going crazy that you'd pass out for a split second and come to just as strange hands threw you back where you came... At Linky! Best Meanies gig in one of Australia's best venues!!! “

Then the e-mail came and I was on my way. Thanx Beat!

You can tell you are tired when the door person asks you have you been here before upon entry… I said “yes, not for a while, may-be a few months ago, why?”. “Umm, tonight? Do you have a stamp?”. Or may-be it was just her wording…? Too funny.

As my name was being checked off the door list, someone walked up on my right, my peripheral knew that face. It was Whitt from Spiderbait. He was looking at me and I was trying not to be too crazy stalker with my eyes and keep my revisited teenage excitement to a minimum. I looked away. He look again, I said hello. He asked if I was a guy from a band he had met. I said in my head – ‘no, you’re the guy in the band’. We walked down the stairs together with two semi-awkward conversations going at once. Still it was cool knowing he would be cranking out some old school familiar’s later.

Who sees the 1st band on a bill these days? Usually I am always running late and completely miss them. Well damn straight we all should! 2 drummers, 2 guitarists, bass player, keyboardist, the right amount of cruisy and a shitload of crazy... Money For Rope are a hell of a wall of sound not to be messed with.

Then came on the second band for the night. Wicked City work hard, play hard. A three piece with concrete riffs and kick ya fuckin teeth in ferocity! I'm addicted to riffage and this is some of the best shit I've ever heard. Short and cutting to deep and bludgeoning in half a breath, that'll also be your last.

I will be on the search for more gigs from these two and to see what they’ve released. Highly recommended.

The anticipation of Spiderbait gracing the stage was like waiting for an old friend at the airport. You know the minute they land it’s going to be fuckin beautiful. The first couple of songs seemed a little awkward and they spent some time finding their momentum, but once they landed firmly on the stage and all cylinders were running, Spiderbait were back like never before!

The beauty of seeing them live is that their songs are an ever changing scenery of quiet whispers slowly and steadily building momentum to locomotive speed. Their eyes were on one another and smirks emerged as they seemed to be enjoying it all. I haven’t seen Spiderbait, or the Meanies for that matter, for years. Having seen Kram solo, supporting EofDM and at Cherry Rock, it was great to see him actually sit still for most of the set. I think as he gets older he finds it harder to stay behind the kit and his style sounds more and more like a couple of trains having a drag race and building momentum until one loses control! I was standing in front of Whitt and as soon as he planted his foot on that distortion it threw me back in time. His SG looked like it had been paid a visit by Sid Phillips, Andy’s toy-destroying neighbour in Toy Story 2. The bridge had been taken off and a new one added, one humbucker was pulled out with the bunker left covered with black gaffa. A sticker plastered on the front, read something like ‘Religion – Teaching our kids about hell everywhere’…?!? It was great seeing one of my favourite rockin' chicks back up there on stage. After singing for a while she was patting her chest and mouthing something to Kram like her voice was a bit hoarse and couldn't give it her all. Janet, you are beautiful and your voice was perfect. It was almost angelic when she started singing Calypso, "Sunshine on my window" and one of the white spot lights was pointed down and shining a light upon her head. Nice to see Spiderbait after all these years and especially looking at each other across the stage with a smile.

Vinyl I would looove to add to my collection I have never been able to track down: Sha Sha Va Glava. Oooh sweet sweet vinyl.

Earlier in the evening I had to remove myself from the wall I was leaning against, half in slumber between bands, when two ladies were carrying a pretty big box covered in black fabric down the stairs from the top bar. I stepped out of the way and next to a guy clearly enjoying his liquid. He was from the old school way of thinking and naturally disgusted that the male bouncers were looking on and not helping. It was eventually carried across the stage by the guys and out back, resurfacing later with a couple holding up the fabric in front out of view of the punters with lots of tape being unrolled quickly from it’s roll. As the fabric was pulled off it was like a magician revealing his secret! It turned out to be a rather large 21st Birthday present brought out on stage for the Meanies.

After some hoorah, a woman jumped out wearing what looked to be just a pink bra and covered in a wrapping paper dress. She threw streamers out into the crowd, party poppers were flying everywhere, followed by a cake flying out past my head! I grabbed a couple of virgin party poppers from the stage and pulled the string at Link’s feet, he looked down and yelled “Terrorist!”.

Cake lady climbed out, Link kicked the box around and instant Meanies chaos ensued!

From the getgo Link was into it. Thrashing about and throwing himself through the air and onto bare stage. His roars are still one of best you’ll get drawing blood and psyching the punters into a frenzied mosh.

Wally is more subdued and looks out over the evening occasionally swinging round to the left quickly to avoid Links feet as they’re flung in somersaults from one side of the stage to the other followed by the rest of him. The only other time I saw him move at rapid speed was another quick head tilt to the left as what looked to be a plastic water bottle at warp seed whizzing past. If the Meanies are Melbourne royalty, which of course they are, then surely it must be ‘King’ Wally. He holds himself with a coolness and control yet has been a part of and contributed to some of Australia’s most chaotic gigs as well as the Melbourne music scene.

The Meanies over their years have had some amazing highs, during recent times though they have lost two talented guitarists, DD and Tas. Hard shoes to fill? Jordan “Jaws” Stanley (The Onyas, Casanovas) has done well. The other chilled member up on stage, he gets on with it like he’s been a part of the gang for years. His playing drew us back in to why we first went nuts to the Meanies, loud and fast.

There were a few heckles and punters shouting out for classics between songs, the loudest by far were a group of guys right down the front next to me chanting “Ringo Ringo Ringo”. After the gig when I was chatting with him he was wearing a cheeky grin, up on stage he’s a machine. Beating the life out of his kit and going harder and faster than ever before.

Past gigs from back in the day usually can’t be compared, nostalgia and fond memories sometimes turn lacklustre and it’s a shame that what you hold dear is shattered. Last night just added to the past. Showed that the Meanies and Spiderbait as well, have still got it and are ready to continue to blow us away.

It’s certainly feels like it’s been a while since those 90’s moshes and when fans started crowd surfing the security guards were not impressed. Doing the usual running squats and shuffling at speed across the line of foldbacks like crabs running to water, their eyes scanning for danger. At first they didn’t seem to know whether to throw them back in or pull them out. After a few attempts of stage diving, some successful and some clearly too quickly floor bound and painful, one of the bouncers decided to have a word with Link, with Wally stepping in for a chat. May-be it was the fact the Jaws pedals got kicked and his sound was cut, Link said a few words and then Wally added after his own, “that’s enough parenting from me”.

After a while and a few of those eager there wasn’t much more interference and stage diving crept in. Nice to see some old school action out at gigs once again.

After all these years, Link still brutalises his body. Stage diving into the crowd, throwing himself at the stage, breaking microphones and even twisting himself backwards over one of the foldbacks to land his head right in front of mine and share a chorus with us both screaming “Sorry Bout The Violence”. Ironic as the bouncers looked on nervously. His crew and friends looked on in agony as one final somersault seemed to break something as he lay in agony in front of the kit holding his shoulder. At times towards the end it took him a while to get back up after a couple of songs but this looked pretty extreme. Check the look on his face in the photo. He finally got up and chatted side stage. Coming back on explaining his doctor had said it was ok.

The encore nearly only consisted of Link a capella until he realised and left to come back with the rest of the band. It could have gone on all night and may-be could’ve gone on longer had the bands not all started late.

Went to the upstairs bar after, as the Meanies had repeatedly let everyone know they’d be up there for drinks. Waited for a while and chatted to a few guys I met during the night, one, Aaron, another fellow carrier of his Meanies vinyl collection hoping to get signed.

The guys were pretty cool about signing a shitload of things from both of us. I decided to just take my vinyl I hadn’t as yet had signed. Left the CD’s and other gear at home. Thought I’d be pushing my luck as it was and it turned out they seemed pretty happy to see some of it from the two of us. Ringo was stoked on a couple including a negative version of the Paranoid 7” sleeve that was done by mistake and never produced for release. A few of them Ringo and Link didn’t have and were into show and tell. Ringo was signing Aaron’s and then went over and grabbed Link to start on mine. As '(I’m) Stranded' was playing in the background, Link shared with me the fun of The Saints drinking game. Which seems to be a favourite between mates. They were all great and easy going about old school collectors and we fuckin appreciated it.

(Sorry for the confusion in that paragraph – as much for my own memory in the future!)

I walked in the door at about 3:30am and took off my jacket, small streamers fell out of the hood onto the floor. I reached in my bag to grab out the vinyl and an unused party popper had somehow landed in there. The Meanies 21st Birthday party continued…..

Never hearing Money For Rope and Wicked City before and now being converted.

Seeing them all together again rockin out!
Janet singing Calypso.
Whitt playing guitar with his teeth.

Never, Lyin, Gangrenous.
Watching Link’s acrobatics (minus the injury).
Chatting to them after during the signing marathon.

Actually, the whole night was awesome.
BIG thanx to the Meanies & HAPPY 21st !!!

Spiderbait set list:
Take Me Back
Outta My Head
Pack It Up
Buy Me A Pony
Sam Gribbles
Black Betty

Meanies set list:
Just What You Need
Monopoly Money
Battle Of Wax
Eating Roaches
Plan Nein
If I Say Uncle
Round In Circles
Lay Your Body Down
Cruelty’s Fun
Meanie Way
Sorry ‘Bout The Violence
10% Weird
Ton Of Bricks
Mr. Authority
Feed The Dog (Bored! Cover)

For more photo's and larger versions of the above,
please check out my Facebook page.....

No comments: