Me First and the Gimme Gimmes – Gig Review & Photo Gallery 14th Feb @ The Rosemount Hotel, Perth WA

Spike Slawson in a red suit with his band me first and the gimme gimmes at the Rosemount hotel

Me First and the Gimme Gimmes
The Rosemount Hotel, Perth, WA
February 14, 2023
Supports: Noah Skape, The Secret Buttons

The best thing about seeing Me First and the Gimme Gimmes is that even if you don’t know any of their songs, you probably actually know all of their songs. That’s because they’re a cover band. Sorry, I mean, they’re the cover band, or at least that’s how vocalist Spike Slawson put it to the crowd at their Rosemount Hotel show. And judging by the sold-out crowd on a Tuesday night, he’s probably onto something. 

But before the Gimmes could grace the stage the crowd was treated to what-the-fuck-is-going-on ostentatious punk rock stylings of Noah Skape. I have seen Noah play shows before with his previous band Faim but nothing could prepare me for this. I still have no idea how to describe it – all I can tell you is it’s fucking incredible and it’s an act of cruelty to have any band have to follow them. Noah’s outrageously versatile vocals (not to mention his physicality) take you on a journey from the depths of musical theatre to straight-up hardcore punk. The set touched on Noah’s recent ‘Work of Art’ single to left field covers of NoFX, Billy Joel, and Cliff Richard. The set was completely unpredictable and I don’t think there was a single person in the room who didn’t have their eyes glued on him the entire time. 

This set was volatile, it was over the top, but there was also a vulnerability to it. Even when writhing around on the floor screaming like a banshee, Noah is reaching into the deep, dark depths of his soul and offering it to the audience on a platter. It’s personal and it’s beautiful. If you get the opportunity, Noah Skape is one act you must check out.

I actually feel bad for The Secret Buttons, they’re really fucking good at what they do but being sandwiched between Noah Skape and the Gimmes is a really tough ask. But if the Buttons were worried they didn’t show it and the crowd certainly didn’t give a shit either. Their full-throttle rock ‘n’ roll sound feels like an ode to the best of Ramones and Motorhead with enough AC/DC to keep you’re average Perthican very happy. They might lack the theatrics of Skape but they make a great case for just getting up on stage and kicking ass – it ain’t easy but someone has to do it, right?

With the room packed tighter than a Jetstar flight to Bali during school holidays, Spike hit the stage with his signature ukulele, dressed head to toe in a flamboyant red suit and stylish matching glasses. Spike is one of those artists who just owns the stage. He knows exactly who he is and what he is there to do, he’s an honest to god entertainer and he owns every single bit of the room. He kicked off their set with a solo rendition of ‘Rikki Don’t Lose My Number’ before the rest of the band joined him on stage. It’s hard to capture just how incredible it is to watch these folks walk on stage. Dressed in matching red and white attire the punk rock royalty of the Gimmes lineup brought screams of excitement from the crowd as they jumped into John Denver’s classic, ‘Leaving on a Jet Plane’. I feel like I can still hear it now… or maybe that’s just tinnitus.

Part of what makes the Gimmes so fun is that, with the exception of Spike, the live line-up could be almost anyone. This tour had OG Gimme Joey Cape (Lagwagon, Bad Astronaut), Andrew ‘Pinch’ Pincher (The Damned, English Dogs), John Reis (Rocket From the Crypt), and another guy from a band you may’ve heard of – CJ Ramone of the god damn fucking Ramones. I’d be excited to see any of these folks but all of them in the same room is just mind-blowing. And judging by the noise from the crowd, they felt the same way. I think it also makes it slightly more interesting for people who have seen the band play before – it’s always going to be different. Like, in this case, instead of Fat Mike, the Gimmes founding bassist, talking shit for 20 minutes straight, it was mostly Spike filling that role (if you know, you know, right?)

After blasting through a number of their classics, Spike declared, with much enjoyment, that they were going to put the ‘cunt back in country’ by smashing out four country hits in a row. And while I’m not sure about the biology of all that, they certainly did their level best to make good on the promise. The played ‘Jolene’, ‘On The Road Again’, ‘[Ghost] Riders In the Sky’, and ‘Take Me Home, Country Roads’. Which got the entire, extremely drunk-by-this-point room singing along. After a little ribbing about exactly which city they were in – asking if we were Hobart or Adelaide – Spike pointed to the crowd and said ‘out there, that’s Western Australia, well up here [on stage] is San Fransisco you crazy mother fuckers and we love our show tunes!’ As the band jumped into ‘Over The Rainbow’ from their 1999 Are a Drag record, which is a personal favourite of mine and if you haven’t listened to it, you should re-evaluate your life up until this point.  

Spike had made a few jokes about the men in the crowd being a little too macho and needing to let the women dance – which ironically seemed to set off a few fights or scuffles because apparently self-awareness is lost on some men. It wasn’t particularly bad but it’s a really good way to ruin a fun night. Do better folks. 

As they got to the tail end of their set, which included ‘Rocket Man’ (which is a song by Elton John and also the title of the film about him entitled Rocketman, which is weird because the song is two words but the film is one… that’s weird right?). Spike launched into a diatribe about how they had specifically learned a song for the *Perth, the immortal ‘Am I Ever Gonna See Your Face Again’, by the famously Adelaidian band, The Angels. He also vehemently stated that they were definitely sticking to the recorded version of the song and defintely not the live version. Which, by law is actually illegal in Australia. So the crowd helped them out and responded to Spike’s ‘Am I ever gonna see your face again? With the obligatory ‘No way, get fucked, fuck off’. It was a fun moment really encapsulates how much fun being part of a Gimmes audience is. 

*I assume the joke is that they actually played it at every single show on this tour. 

After a brief break, Spike returned to the stage with another solo uke song – ‘Different Drum’ before the rest of the band returned to crank out the Boyz 2 Men classic, ‘End of the Road’. And that was it, show over. But what a show it was. A huge crowd for a venue like the Rosemount and an absolutely killer set. You really can’t ask for much more than that. Me First and the Gimme Gimmes have been doing this for a long time and while some bands started to waver at this point, it’s great to see that the Gimmes still have plenty left in the tank. 

Review and Photo Gallery by Dave Mullins @davos418
Dave Mullins on Instagram

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