Oxford Tavern gig review

Oxford Tavern, Wollongong, 21st January 2001

A trip to Wollongong was on the cards this fine Sunday eve because a) The Meanies were playing, b) I'd missed the other Sydney shows due to other gigs and c) as the great Chakradiva put it, "I just like to drive".

Opening the set were locals Monstrous Blues. The first half of the name is probably more applicable than the latter, with a volume setting that would put Sydney Airport to shame. Comprising of a few original Tumbleweed members (replete with original long hair, I was happy to note), they ground their way through a formidable performance that at times sounded a bit Kyuss, at times a bit 'Weed, at times like neither. It's that kind of solid, bass through your spleen style music that by the conclusion makes you feel like the morning after a big night out. Quite impressive.

The Meanies have always held a special place in my heart, even though I never really got the chance to see them that often. As a young punker I was drawn to the energy and oddball lyrics, and entranced by the harmonies that helped them rise above a lot of other local hard and fast groups. Tonight was pure bliss, and with a group of fans rising to start a mini-mosh in the Oxford, I was transported back to the days of Feedback in Newton (remember that venue?), I felt eighteen again dammit. As for the performance, it was about as perfect as anyone could ask. Link has once again ignored the guitar in favour of stage antics, and like a demented gameshow host (attired accordingly in a debonair white suit) he shimmied, clapped and lunged around the stage, grinning maniacally and obviously enjoying the show as much as anyone. That was probably what made the night so special - The Meanies weren't just having a great show, they were absolutely loving it, and the energy was pushed forward to the audience, with more and more people getting up to boogie as the show continued.

New songs were showcased (to the dismay of some...what's with people not wanting to hear new stuff, especially when it's this good?) and a lot of old favourites were remembered, such as Scum, Never and the first ever single Darkside Of My Mind.

The climax came when Link - tired with the restrictions of a small stage - threw down his mic, leapt into the audience and proceeded to catapult himself around the room. I'm not talking mere running about and jumping on people, Link actually took flight and launched himself at tables, walls, audience members; anything in his way was either bounced off or knocked out. Now that's what I call showmanship. I don't know if The Meanies are back for good, but god I hope so. The world needs more performances like this.

- Craig New