Words: Stephen Buckle
Photos: Charlyn Cameron

A change in the weather wouldn’t stop punters from attending what is the first of two shows within the Triffid walls for Me First and the Gimme Gimmes. From the moment doors opened at 5pm the bar was active and surrounded by thirsty fans, keen to fuel their adrenaline with liquor of all sorts!

With the bands line-up always on the change as there isn’t really a set group of guys for the band, tonight consisted of Dave Raun on Drums (Lagwagon), Chris Cheney on Lead Guitar (The Living End), Joey Cape on Rhythm Guitar (Lagwagon), Jay Bentley on Bass (Bad Religion), and Spike Slawson fronting the group on Vocals (Uke-Hunt). 

Opening the stage and setting the mood quickly was Toowoomba three piece; Something Something…Explosion. With an interesting band name came a thuggish and bass heavy set off songs. Having formed 2 years ago, Grace, Daimon and Jazz have made it a long way quite quickly with their gruelling sound; stomping drums, driven guitar and bass-bashing of sorts.

With only a small amount of songs out the band played through their EP, showing off their dirty mix of grunge and punk, with vibes similar to that of old school Silverchair and Hole. Just before the end of the set the boys went off stage and left Grace to play her rendition of Slipknot’s ‘Snuff’, as it seemed like tonight would be the perfect night to bust out a cover or two!

Their set came to a close when the band played their song ‘Jaws’ and they deserved every cheer they got. A surprising find for me and I shall keep track of this band in the future.

Hailing from up north in Rockhampton, QLD, Pandamic were up next and were sure to continue to movement of the crowd with blistering punk songs about heartbreak and scumbags alike.

Opening with a new song, Pandamic caressed the crowd with a slower jam first, giving off early Smith Street Band vibes. This quickly changed when the went into their second song, to which Rhys mentioned that the song was about an old best friend that basically disappeared when he got a missus. With a bang on the drums and the duelling guitars it sped up a few notches which made the crowd move a lot more. The song quickly became my favourite of theirs as it reminded me of Strings by Blink-182.

With songs like ‘Yeah Nah’, ‘Broken’ and ‘Scumbag’, Pandamic brought the Rockhampton pub vibe to the Triffid and provided a back story to their life through song. Closing off with their latest release ‘SAM’ they gave the venue and its temporary inhabitants something to remember them by. A band I’m sure many won’t forget any time soon.

As the lights went out the opening riff for ‘Summertime’ started to play, and was soon quickly recognised by the crowd. Each member, dressed in silver silk dress shirts, casually graced their position on stage with Spike Slawson coming out last.

With an ecstatic amount of energy and intensity, there was no stopping Me First and the Gimme Gimmes. With a night full of cover songs performed by America’s (and for tonight an Australian too) greatest loonies, the Triffid were in for a treat. Rolling through the song ‘Sloop John B’ they kept everyone on their feet. Following that they performed a classic song ‘Do You Believe’ which was originally performed by Cher. The movement in the room and on stage was unprecedented and it was unmissable that the following the band had in Australia was massive. 

Now ‘Uptown Girl’ everybody knows, but when you see it with a punk twist and Spike singing it, you can’t not join in and sing back! Watching Chris Cheney perform these songs with the band for what seems to have only been the second time on a tour with them, shows how much the band love our Australian musicians and the country in a whole.

Travelling through their many albums, the band hit us with everything they had; from ‘Jolene’ to ‘I Believe I Can Fly’ and even ‘Rocket Man.’ Hearing these classic pop songs turned into punk anthems for the last 20 years is a delight in itself and it shows that any song can be performed differently to the taste you want. Me First and the Gimme Gimmes sure proved that tonight.

Closing out their set with fan favourites ‘I Will Survive’, ‘Sweet Caroline’ and ‘End Of The Road’ the band didn’t miss a beat and proved loyal to their fans on the first of two nights within Brisbane’s Triffid.

I always enjoy punk songs but when there is a twist like there was tonight, and seeing a band enjoy playing songs that were also favourites of theirs, it gave me new life that cover songs are definitely not dead. For a super group they sure know how to keep us entertained with their matching costumes and banter to go with it. If you enjoy different renditions of old songs you’ll be sure to enjoy a show like tonight, its a show like no other!