The Corner Hotel, Richmond.
Me First and the Gimme Gimmes (hereinafter "The Gimmes") are a punk cover band specialising in covers of decidedly non-punk songs. (I use the word "punk" advisedly here, and only because this is the word used in their Wikipedia entry. Speed metal, or at the very least, pop-punk, might be a better description for their style, but more on this later).
The Gimmes have been around since the mid 1990s and even after their seventh album (the eighth due sometime this year) show no signs of running out of material.
Selections in last night's show included Kermit the Frog's Rainbow Connection, Barry Manilow's Mandy and My Favourite Things from The Sound of Music. Every single one of these songs was vastly improved with the Gimmes treatment.
The postmodern wanker part of me wants to deconstruct what they do in terms of breaking songs down into their base components . . . they're displaying these songs as they really are in a language easily understood by anyone. Sort of like turning Shakespeare's plays into a kid's colouring book.
But then the headbanger part of me gets the postmodern wanker into a headlock, throws him to the beer-drenched floor and glasses him for being such a tool. And he deserves it too.
There's no analysing this stuff. It's just flat out great fun.
The Gimmes were all dressed in cowboy regalia to complement their most recent album ". . . Love Their Country" (with songs like Jolene and Desperado) and much was made of the large handlebar moustaches sported by three of the five members. Banter in general was plentiful and amusing, although lead singer Spike's announcement that "this next song is a cover" before just about every song soon went from amusing to irritating.
For some reason I was surprised to see such a large headbanger contingent in the crowd. I guess I was expecting more audience members like myself: Gen X types moved to ironic amusement by these clever-clever shenanigans. While such people were surely there (but being much quieter) there were a lot of younger people who've probably never even heard the original version of Sloop John B.
Still, they seemed to enjoy themselves. God, I feel old.
More traditional hard rockers Roshambo and Stolen Youth provided worthy support, although Robb was bothered by the appearance of Roshambo's bong-monkey (their term - a roadie who brought a white space-age-looking bong on stage for use by the band between/during songs). I'll let him expand on this in the comments (if he will) but it was basically about the pretension and affectation this indicated, unworthy of a second-support act.
This got us talking about the relevance of traditional punk tropes in a post-modern world and didn't get very far before the wanker was again glassed by the headbanger (see above).
Anyway, my point somewhere in there was that the nihilism and sense of impending doom that characterised the great punk bands just isn't there for The Gimmes. They clearly love what they're doing and it rubs off on the audience. There's nothing quite like a version of Blowin' in the Wind at double speed and triple volume to make you think that Dylan should not only have gone electric, but should have moved to Seattle.
But all this thinking is well and truly beside the point.
It was very good and very loud. And that's all.