Words Anthony Moore.
Photos Josh Harper – Downtown Tracks.
The Meanies are like part of the furniture in the Australian music scene. Well when I say furniture, I mean something that’s been around for ever and every time you sit down in your favourite chair you can’t help but get pissed, jump around like you’re still a teenager in the mosh and laugh when you get kicked in the head from stage divers. You know; that type of furniture. They’re celebrating their Silver Jubilee! 25 years of being rock royalty in the sticky carpeted pubs of Australia and that’s what brought everyone to the Hi-Fi in Melbourne on this night, MEANIES MAYHEM!
Flour opened up the night. Their name intrigues me. If they named themselves after something everyone should have in the cupboard, then they’ve nailed it. They sound like they’d be sharing the stage with the Hitmen, Celibate Rifles, Hellmenn and Lime Spiders and be included on seminal underground compilations that fed the ‘90s alternative scene and allowed it to become what it did. Flour’s songwriting style and sound has a familiarity to it that welcomes you in yet still manages to throw you unexpectedly on your arse. Absolutely impressed!
Clowns kicked off their set thundering and ready for battle. Their popularity continues to grow and their live show is usually testament to this. Though it was somewhat disappointing as the guitars felt too far back in the mix and lost some of their power on the night. It’s not to say they didn’t impress, they went hard and sounded great but they could’ve exploded. Singer Stevie Williams has one of the most kick arse vocal growls you’ll ever hear. He can’t stand still and even ended up somehow under the drum rise at the end of the set with his feet sticking out and flailing about like he was being electrocuted.
Batpiss have a guttural nastiness and utter determination for their sound to break through. They’re a solid unit and unrivalled when it comes to playing live. They know how to control the crowd and can build a mosh in one furious strum. They’re riffs are like they’re rolling down the steepest mountain gorge uncontrollably and belting themselves on every rock on the way down. With vocals like they’re screaming out and distorting in a cathedral. Drummer Marty Mortal nearly booted his kick drum off the rise a few times with Jaws from the Meanies fixing it twice and then Link Meanie sitting and holding it in place. And that bass sound from Thomy Sloane! The sweetest bottom end you’ll ever hear; Tym’s should make a Batpiss bass pedal; that sound is perfect .
After breaking his foot while playing a Meanies gig in Adelaide earlier in the month and now supported by crutches, Link Meanie made his way a little more gingerly out to the mic. Then they kicked into Never and the set didn’t look back from there. Monster classics mixed in with some light hearted banter in between songs. Any Meanies gig is like catching up with old friends both on stage and in the crowd and it’s always great to see so many smiling faces at one gig having a blast!
Guitarist Jaws had a few glitches with his sound cutting in and out early on but after Link explained he was playing guitar through Tas Blizzard’s old amp (the band’s previous guitarist who passed away in 2008 in a car accident), there was an extra dimension of appreciation added to the night.
Due to the cast and crutches Link was a little more reserved than usual and he looked like he was going to throw them and totally cut loose at any time. Although it didn’t stop him from stumbling a few times and falling onto the foldbacks when he got a little too carried away.
Some of the standouts for crowd on the night were Darkside Of My Mind, Scum, Sorry ‘Bout The Violence, Gangrenous and their kick arse cover of Bored’s Feed The Dog, with Inside bringing Flour / Batpiss guitarist Paul Pirie running out from the back of the stage and diving into the crowd. You have to love that support from someone else on the line up! By the end of the set there was the standard crazy Meanies mosh down the front with loads of smiles, heaps of fun and mates going nuts! It was an awesome set and a huge night in total.
25 years is a massive undertaking for any band and especially one that’s only ever released gold. It’s a great accomplishment and to coincide with it, Poison City and Tyms Records are re-releasing some quality Meanies vinyl! Get clicking on the Poison City link as they’re taking pre-orders HERE NOW!