knighty metroRoss Knight.  


Metro Theatre, Sydney
Saturday, January 13 2024

Nice Day To Go To The Pub? Aren’t they all during an Australian summer? Tonight in Sydney it’s muggier than a brickie’s armpit and there’s no reason to break convention, but, fuck me, The Sir John Young Hotel on Sydney’s George Street sure has changed. 

It’s been re-named “The Resch” (gee, wonder where they dug up that one), the front bar has been opened up and there’s not a TV set in sight. All that polished concrete makes for a brutalist existence. Of course, it lacks live music, with a DJ setting up while we sip our beers, and the usual crowd of pre-Metro gig people absent. The schooners have not unexpectedly crept up close to the $10 mark. That’s life in Sydney!

zeke metroZeke in full flight. 

Just up the hill at The Metro (where the cans start at 10 bucks), Downgirl were apparently opening the night. “Apparently” because they weren’t billed anywhere that I saw and it only became obvious when I looked at the merch table. Oh well. If they can’t be bothered answering messages when they’re offered gigs, a bloke can’t be bagged for not arriving early enough to see them. Probably my loss because they’re said to be really good.

Zeke haven’t been to Australia since 2006 and as we walk into the Metro’s main room, the Seattle hardcore kings are making sure everybody knows they’re back. Guitars pointing to the sky, devil’s head hand gestures and a blur of short, solar plexus-rattling songs, delivered with barely any between-song patter.

Can’t say I know their back catalogue intimately but the singles in my collection are brutal. Live, the band is even more so. 

Drummer Donny Paycheck earns his salary with a double-time loading. The guy works very hard and he and bassist Jason Freeman are in complete lockstep. Tight? Paycheck and guitarist-vocalist Blind Marky Felchtone are the original members but you’d be hard pressed to work that out. The band is a unit. 

Hardcore’s problem is that when the time signatures are this fast, any melodies or hooks fail to stick. To these ears, Zeke are playing the same two songs 40 times tonight, but doing them very well.

mad macka metro2Mad Macka

In a world of lightning change, jigsaw demographics and worship of the ephemeral, Cosmic Psychos defy fads. They just exist. Cleverly so, because they’ve managed to build a new audience by being themselves and keeping good company. All those Australian tours with young “apprenticed” punk bands are paying off – as evidenced by a recent US run supporting The Chats.

Tonight is a classic Psychos set. Meat, potatoes, and gravy. Beer on the side. Not so much beer; just a couple each. Heavy on the older stuff: 

Pub, Nice Day to Go to the Pub, I'm Up, You're Out, Dead in a Ditch, Custom Credit, Rip 'n' Dig, Dead Roo, Fuckwit City, C'mon Cunt, Wanna Get Out of It, Quarter to Three, Lost Cause, David Lee Roth

 mad macka metro

Let’s make a couple of salient points here. They put out an album every few years just to keep it fresh for themselves, but the old songs still define the band live. There’s also a lot of musicality in a Psychos show.

Ross Knight leans into his work like he always has and still sets the high mark for devotees of fuzz bass. Mad Macka is as home as Dirty Jones or the late Robbie Watts, while making his own mark. At times, his guitarwork takes on a psychedelic edge. 

For Macka’s turn at the mic, “Fuckwit City” is dedicated to Sydney’s rugby league New South Wales State of Origin supporters, and we wouldn’t have it any other way. 

dean metroDean Muller.

Tonight’s MVP was Dean Muller. He’s a monstrously good drummer, with style AND substance. Under all those flashy stick twirls, the solo and Rob Hirst flourishes, there’s a drummer who actually “plays” the songs and keeps the (tractor) engine running without missing a beat.

Trudging through the small pile of crushed cans (“A Mountain of Piss”) on The Metro floor (when will they buy some bins?) on the way out, it’s hard to think of a better way to have kicked off 2024.