Brian Mann and Mick Medew trading licks in Thirroul. Shona Ross photo.
Gonna break that rule about not reviewing I-94 Bar gigs, as the second of this two-night engagement was badged thus. If you can’t write about things you like, what’s the point? It’s the ethos of why we do this e-zine thing.
So let’s be up front and say that Mick Medew is a good mate and his band, The Mesmerisers, are lovely people. In customary evangelical spirit, I’m unashamedly going to tell you that if you love rock and roll then you have to see them - in their native Brisbane or on one of their few forays outside of Queensland.
The first leg of this two-night weekend stand was a support to the mighty Sunnyboys, opening a bill shared with the mercurial Ups & Downs. The venue was the magic Anita’s Theatre in Thirroul, an hour-and-a-bit south of Sydney. The second was a Sydney show at the increasingly familiar stamping ground of Marrickville Bowling Club. The Mesmerisers are making the road trip a family affair with partners and two offspring in tow.
Psychopharmacologist - Mick Medew (I-94 Bar Records)
Issued by this website's very own head honcho, The Barman, who is responsible for organising many, many gigs which you've all thoroughly enjoyed. The kind of punter who decides he wants to see bands, and figures you will, too, so he puts them on.
This LP rates 5 bottles, and that's not because I know Barman and he's slipped me a brown envelope behind the cistern at Central Station, but because “Psychopharmacologist” is bloody lovely, and you absolutely need it in your collection. The press release explains that this is “Mick Medew’s first true solo album and his most surprising musical adventure yet with its broad stylistic sweep and kaleidoscopic use of sound”, and that's a fair comment.
The 1980s was in many ways a dire period in music: if you look at the charts or are forced to endure a few re-runs of “Countdown”, you’ll agree. Mainstream music was based on synth and a chorus pedal, gated snare and re=recordings of “Funky Town”. And there was fucking Phil Collins and his drums.
The padded shoulders and “eat the poor” mentality that saw the rise of the trickle down economics of Reagan and Thatcher. Whenever I see any sentimental recall of the ‘80s, I run the other way. The exceptions lie in pockets of underground music
Sydney particularly reacted against the culture of Ken Done tea towels and pastels and third rate sounds. We real street music with some of best bands in the world, many of whom you could see live for five bucks.
Just as then, we still have a Sydney underground music scene in 2022. We can still see shadows and glimpses of the past and talented young bands who have been handed the baton.