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LIVE: ME FIRST & THE GIMME GIMMES – Perth, WA, 14 Feb 2023

| 15 February 2023 | Reply

LIVE: ME FIRST & THE GIMME GIMMES – Perth, WA, 14 Feb 2023
With The Secret Buttons and Noah Skape
The Rosemount Hotel, Perth, Western Australia – Tuesday, 14 February 2023
Reviewed by Shane Pinnegar
Photography by Karen Lowe

If there’s one thing guaranteed at a Me First & The Gimme Gimmes show, it’s fun: a whole lot of punk n’ roll, good time, best-cover-band-you’ve-ever-seen, fun. I mean, how can you not love some of your favourite punk rockers covering (mostly) Seventies hits loudly and with extra lashings of irreverent good humour?

Kicking off the night was Noah Skape (geddit?) who delivered a set of hot and messy Frank-n-Furter rock which was as high on theatrical melodrama as it was on passion and volume, with a cover of Cliff Richards’ In The Country thrown in for good measure.

Noah Skape

“We normally have practice Tuesday nights. This is a step up from that,” and The Secret Buttons’ MC5-cum-Stooges rock revival kicks out an appropriate amount of jams. Just Make It Easy, I Saw Her Downtown, Mind Of Steel and The Beasts Of Bourbon’s I Don’t Care About Nothing Anymore are as unsubtle and free of fanciness as they are thoroughly enjoyable, even if almost every song is introduced with a “Let’s go, Bitches” or “…Motherfuckers.” Time for some new stage patter aside, The Secret Buttons’ garage rock homage hits all the right… errr… buttons.

The Secret Buttons

Suitably warmed up, the crowd are chomping at the bit for ‘Masters of Covers’ Me First & The Gimme Gimmes. Originally a vehicle for NOFX’s Fat Mike to have some fun with his mates, the project has developed a life of its own and this Australian tour sees a mostly new line-up treading the boards, turning the amps to eleven, and cracking some jolly japes and spiffing wheezies. Singer Spike Slawson is still out front doing his best punk cabaret act; and joining guitarist Joey Cape of Lagwagon in the snazzy suits are CJ Ramone on bass, lead guitarist ‘Swami’ John Reis of Rocket From The Crypt, and The Damned’s Mike Pinch on drums.

Spike Slawson, Me First & the Gimme Gimmes

The set starts with a ukelele take on Steely Dan’s Rikki Don’t Lose My Number, John Denver’s Leaving On A Jet Plane, Paul Simon’s Me & Julio Down By The Schoolyard and the traditional-by-way-of-The-Beach-Boys Sloop John B. It’s all good, raucous, mildly inebriated fun (I’m gonna need frequent flyer miles on that word in this review) and the crowd are at times fanatically invested in proceedings.

“CJ Ramone’s gonna play the intro to Paula Abdul’s Straight Up now,” is not a sentence we expected to hear any time soon, and as we run through Science Fiction/Double Feature from The Rocky Horror Show; Olivia Newton-John’s Have You Ever Been Mellow; and the country quartet of Dolly’s Jolene, Willie’s On The Road Again, Johnny’s Ghost Riders In The Sky and John’s Country Roads, asses are whupped and bystanders lassoed into the good times corral.

C J Ramone, Me First & the Gimme Gimmes

It’s apparent that the set list is almost exactly the same as they’ve been playing for a fair few years now. Not that the sold-out crowd of wannabe punks gives a damn: burly blokes and mohawk- or dreadlock-sporting hoary old rockers are happy to not have to think too much about what’s coming up next, and shout the lyrics to these pop and country standards as if they’d grown up listening to their parents play them their whole lives – which they probably have.

Unsurprisingly, with such an abundance of good tunes and good times (and that F-word again) the bar does a roaring trade, new friends are forged, if only for one night, and we’re reminded of the unifying joy of rock n’ roll.

An extended routine follows, Slawson pretending he’s forgotten where he is; while band intros allow each musician to say a few words, Pinch quipping, “I’m thankful to be in the only other country in the world where it’s okay to say cunt!” to a rousing cheer of approval.

Pinch, Me First & the Gimme Gimmes

The classic hits keep coming, including the surprise addition (well, as much of a surprise as it can be when the tour is named after the track) of The Angels’ Am I Ever Gonna See Your Face Again, before an encore featuring a ukulele version of Mike Nesmith’s Different Drum and a boisterous take on Boyz II Men’s End Of The Road.

If this really IS the end of the Me First road, and we aren’t to ever see their face(s) again, it’ll be a damn shame, because there are few bands who can deliver such a fun (sorry) show and such a warm and entertainingly convivial gig atmosphere.

Set List:
Rikki Don’t Lose My Number
Leaving On A Jet Plane
Me And Julio Down By The Schoolyard
Sloop John B
Straight Up
Science Fiction/Double Feature
Have You Ever Been Mellow
On The Road Again
Ghost Riders In The Sky
Country Roads
I Will Survive
Over The Rainbow
Sweet Caroline
Who Put The Bomp (In The Bomp, Bomp, Bomp)?
Danny’s Song
Rocket Man
Am I Ever Gonna See Your Face Again

Different Drum
End Of The Road

Category: Live Reviews, Photo Galleries

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