Me First And The Gimme Gimmes

Photos by Chris Zwaagdyk

Photos by Chris Zwaagdyk

By Labretta Suede

Artist: Me First And The Gimme Gimmes

Date / Venue: Sunday October 15th - The Powerstation, Auckland

Fucking Cover Bands! Every originals band’s nemesis but when the band self-professors to riding the razor thin edge between homage and mockery but not ever being a tribute band. Well, you really need to let the show spill its inner diva out of any orifice possible, which is exactly what happened tonight.

How I got to this event all begins with a Californian girl who was so excited and wanted to see a taste of home. However, I was left at the altar when she backed out last minute. So with a free pass in exchange for a review - my only way into this sold out show. Here I am at midnight helping you, to help me, help you….

I squeezed in to a very full house (sold out) Powerstation, with what seemed like the whole population of the North Shore. They all seemed to be holding very petite Corona tins high above their heads with jubilant proclamation.

The sound of music begins and the hills were most certainly alive, as the crowd ROARS and Spike takes centre stage. Lavished in a gold lame jacket and dark shades, perspiring a Tony Clifton type appeal VS a Las Vegas lounge singer, alla Wayne Newton. They open with ‘SummerTime’ and ease us in gently only for it to turn into a surf/punk classic.

Spike gains the audiences trust throughout the evening with his swindling witty banter between songs, which was top-notch, frat boy, excellence. Every part of the show was more than a nod to Amercian music history all wrapped up in suggestive, camp, storytelling that really took us down many garden paths.

Cue Paul Simon ‘Me & Julio’ reminding us of what it must have been like for Paul growing up in Queens and his love for Latino boys and his exploits of doing them in a local playground. This wide sparkly bowl of covers created and recreated spanned from Paula Abdul’s ‘Straight Up’ to Dolly Parton’s 'Jolene' and the crowd of very buff men erupted. 'Isn’t She Lovely’, Stevie Wonder sung pitch perfect thrown in with The Rocky Horror Picture Show’s ‘Science Fiction/Double Feature’ but they really put the c**t into country when they did one of the best versions of ‘Ghost Riders In The Sky’.

Attention to detail is always appreciated especially when the band takes notice of their audience’s appearance too. Pointing out how buff this audience was - describing their rubbing and pushing of muscles on one another as man dancin’. Call them out on their well-groomed facial hair as chiselled, yet asking them to really channel their inner diva’s. Even if just for a moment, from any orifice so they could to help sing and mosh along to ‘I will survive’…

Meanwhile my bandy self was splayed up again the wall for comfort grinning and laughing out loud at how brilliant and clever this show was. I mean who needs back handed compliments when you have straight up abuse but all in good jest eh? The crowd did get a good chant on at Spike yelling “You C**T, You C **T, You C**T’”, which he seemed to bask in….

Ukulele’s were played and it had honestly been decades since I had seen a mosh pit that spanned from the stage, right back to the sound desk and that was for the song ‘Over the Rainbow’. Who knew these ex -skater dudes and dudettes were up to party on a Sunday night to show tunes, country music, contemporary R & B and 60’s pop songs? Even the band stopped to mention how commendable it was for a Sunday night.

 Joey Cape, front-man from Lagwagon on rhythm guitar was surprised by the chanting of “Jerry, Jerry, Jerry” which happen more than a few times through the 2 and half hour set. The musicianship was tight as all hell but what would you expect from these incredible musicians and their lineage of great bands that they all hark from? All  coming together to fun around as a covers band.

 Spike (Swingin’ Utters) introduces the bands drummer, Dave Raun (Lagwagon) as “4 to the floor American steel” while growling like an engine into the mic he says “ That ain’t no Volvo, that’s American Steel”.

Dr Jay Bentley on Bass (Bad Religion) our non-stop, wacky, dazed and confused, day tripper. Insatiable on the bass and moved in a way that I wanted what he was on…. Lastly Dr Lindsay McDoogall (Frenzal Rhomb) whom they picked up from Sydney, Australia. So happy to be there on stage having the time of his life with these maniacal fools and wow could he shred. Anyone that can play some of the worlds most complicated show tunes like a machine, has my attention.

This spectacle was like watching a 90’s punk version of Sha-na-na and with their newly released greatest hits album, ‘Rake it in’. It looks like they just might.

“This song is a cover” never got old between almost ever song. Oh comedy!

I had an unexpectedly brilliant night to a very entertaining covers band. As they boast ‘The Best Covers Band In The World’.