Describing themselves as “having a cult following only second to Allah and The Rocky Horror Picture Show”, local six piece Mesa Cosa were a fine choice to kick off a great night of rock with a capital ‘R’ at Yah Yah’s. Imagine if The Birthday Party and the Dead Kennedys had a baby together. Mesa Cosa, specialising in highly impactful and in your face garage rock, featuring guitar torture and screaming vocals of the highest order, would be the result.

This is a party band to be reckoned with. With a set list that featured great tracks like “Los Perros”, “Day Of The Dead” and “Shoplifter”, Mesa Cosa proved to be hugely enjoyable and entertaining for the arriving patrons. This is a band to really keep an eye on in the future.

Legendary local stalwarts The Meanies were up next. Still kicking after twenty plus years together, tonight proved that the four piece still have what has made them such a wonderful live proposition in absolute spades. Link Meanie, the band’s lead singer, is still a sensational front man, acting like a man possessed, with his highly charming interpretive dancing and some serious Iggy Pop stylings, such as jumping any which way into the crowd and tackling patrons. Bassist Wally Kempton, with a beautifully jaded, ‘seen it all before’ expression on his face, was a great visual counterpoint to Link’s antics.

The set featured a hugely enjoyable selection of songs from throughout the band’s career, such as “Darkside”, “Just What You Need” and the rumbling “Gangerous”. It was the best known tracks of the band, such as “10% Weird”, “Ton Of Bricks” and the sensational “Never” that got the biggest response from the crowd. It was a real treat to see The Meanies still doing their thing, making and playing such sensational music and managing to make it look so effortless.

Brat Farrar, the latest project from the former lead singer of Digger And The Pussycats, hit the stage around 11:30pm. Kicking off with the ace “Punk Records”, a 21st century musical riposte to ‘list’ songs such as Bob Dylan’s “Subterranean Homesick Blues” and Billy Joel’s “We Didn’t Start The Fire”, Farrar, backed by The Fazio Rhythm Machine on bass and drums, put in a blistering if somewhat sameish set. The band excel at the type of deafness inducing garage rock with a strong ‘outsider’ stance and touch personified by great bands from the past such as Butthole Surfers, Pere Ubu and, most notably, The Ramones.

Farrar did, at times, come off a something of a poser, with his affected ‘I’m in my twenties and pissed off with the world’ attitude and approach. However, this was outshone by the sheer ferocity of the band, a three piece that is one of the loudest in the world this side of Japan’s Guitar Wolf and the immortal Motorhead. Promoting their debut long player, tonight’s set featured some brilliant noise rock, including tracks like “Ask The Night”, “So Overwhelming”, “I’m Not Free” and the band’s highly infectious debut single “It’s On Me”.

About to take off for a European tour, Brat Farrar and his band really specialise in a highly confronting and antagonistic attitude and sound that will endear them to many, as tonight’s close to sold out crowd would attest to.

Tonight was a gloriously rowdy and rambunctious night featuring some massively enjoyable punk pop from an impressively strong line-up. Who said rock and roll was dead?

– Neil Evans