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The Meanies, Batpiss, The Kremlings and The Dipsticks Live @ The Tote, Collingwood

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It had been nearly 24 years to the day since The Meanies played their first gig, which also happened to be at The Tote and here they were once again.

The Meanies said in their press release “Thank fuck we’ve toured the world and elsewhere in between times or we’d be feelin’ pretty shit about that right now”. It was awesome seeing a new run of the legendary 1991 Gangrenous EP t-shirts at the merch table. The Tote is always a great place to be and with this line up, punters were psyched!

I only got to see some of The Dipsticks, but their self described “knucklehead rock” seemed right at home at The Tote – raw with lots of attitude.

If you’ve ever seen the ABC music quiz show Spicks and Specks you’ll know what I’m talking about, The Kremlings vocalist, Andre Merino, is a definite contender for Musician or Serial Killer. Don’t misunderstand me, I felt somewhat safe watching him devour not only his mic but also the attention of all those in the band room within about five seconds of starting. Merino though, is the real deal; classic Iggy Pop madness with a bit of Charles Manson in there for good measure.

Backed by a killer band, these guys should be playing headline spots the world over. The buzz around them at the moment is growing and well deserved. They have a beautifully cacophonous groove that just can’t be matched but it’s Merino that continually steals back your attention. He leads the charge to create the soundtrack to a crazed mental institution. Even his eyeballs look scared as they tried to escape his head. If that alone doesn’t get you salivating at the thought of seeing them live then their own unique blend of sludge punk will.

Batpiss started with screaming feedback and the sheer volume and intensity kept on going from there. Another band with a massive buzz surrounding them and if anyone didn’t understand why, tonight they were definitely set straight. With guitarist Paul Portal and bassist Thomy Cones facing each other in front of drummer, Marty Mortal, their energy and excitement was non-stop, hardcore punk and at times they’d drop it back for a sludgier feel. Props too go to Cones for the ‘Chooch’ from Top Cat sticker on his bass.

“We’ve been recording a new album this weekend. The first time since ’94. We’re starting with a new one, There’s A Gap” was Link’s intro The Meanies set and it’s straight into the new track. Its sound is classic Meanies yet it feels almost happier like it was written after listening to They Might Be Giants. The punters listened intently and took it in and it didn’t take long for them to start rocking out as the ol’ faithfuls came one after the other by way of What You Need, Meanie Way and especially once they kicked into Darkside Of My Mind. The old fans jumped in with the new and the ‘90s came back with a vengeance.

You can always rely on The Meanies to put on a solid set and their fans to mosh like crazy. Although some of the stage diving from those unsure seemed a little more like falling in rather than diving, well that is until Link jumped in himself! The guys played the usual set of classics including Gangrenous, Scum, Sorry ‘Bout The Violence, 10% Weird and their standard cover to finish that sounds as incredible as the original, Bored’s Feed The Dog. Amongst all the fun between old friends and new, bassist Wally brought up that ex-Meanie, Tas, would have turned 41 the next day had he not passed.  Everyone raised a glass, rock in peace Tas.

Meanies set list:

There’s A Gap
Just What You Need
Meanie Way
Darkside Of My Mind
Plan Nein
Scum
Inside
Kill
Try History
Circles
Authority
Uncle
Sorry ‘Bout The Violence
Lyin
Never
10% Weird
Gangrenous
Ton Of Bricks
Feed The Dog (Bored)
Rhyming Logic
Dr Seuss

Photos by Adam Russ – Right Eye Media.

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