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COSMIC PSYCHOS/DUNE RATS

Cosmic Psychos - Photo by Daniel Grant
Cosmic Psychos – Photo by Daniel Grant

Leeches/Emu Xperts/Ray Finkle

The Rosemount Hotel

Saturday, March 27, 2015.

Dark horses par excellence, Ray Finkle surprised many this evening simply by being a totally kick-arse band that nobody seemed to have heard of – this despite them having been a group for over five years. And you could tell, too, ‘cause these blokes delivered hard-edged garage somewhere between The Dirtbombs and Zeke, and they did it seamlessly.

On paper Emu Xperts were the perfect support for Cosmic Psychos. They’ve got personality in spades, and they mine that dirty Dwarves/GG Allin vein with a can of lager proudly in hand and an all-night party firmly in mind. And the contingent parts are all there – guitarist Simon Kuczma has chops up the wazoo, Blake Edwards is a committed loose-unit frontman – but they gotta work on that rhythm section and get the drums locked in tight. Great fun, but on a stage this size fun’s only half the story.

Conversely Leeches were tight as fuck, relaxed and confident, and delivered their lightening-fast old school hardcore with consummate ease.

Brisbane’s Dune Rats kicked-off this kick-arse double header to a by-now packed and very pumped Rosemount. These dudes draw a surprisingly vast array of sounds out of their fairly stock-standard buzzsaw garage punk staple, mostly through the use of layered vocal harmonies that have them sounding somewhere between a less acid-soaked Wavves and the poppier end of the Hard-Ons.

Great band, but there is an unshakable sense that every element of Dune Rats has been deconstructed and analysed by the sort of behind-the-scenes people who use words like ‘demographics’ and ‘niche’, before being rebuilt and released with maximum efficiency, targeted firmly upon the unsuspecting wallets of Australian dudes in their 20s who aspire to be ‘cruisy’. There is just something so perfect about covering Blister In The Sun with sketchy guitar bits to indicate irreverence—there is not a crowd of drunken yobbos from Byron Bay to Bunbury who wouldn’t cut sick to that. Tonight was no exception.

Cosmic Psychos don’t care though, as Ross Knight [vocals/bass] proudly introduced his (fucking legendary) band as the ‘bastard fathers of the Dune Rats’. Clearly there’s a shitload of fraternity between the two groups. Knight and [guitarist] Macca visibly enjoyed this, the last show of the tour; and the Rosie was absolutely heaving as they burned through the classics. Nice Day To Go To The Pub featured early as did Dead In A Ditch, and Fuckwit City from the new album. Lost Cause was dedicated to Dune Rats.

And then David Lee Roth… only Ross Knight could get away with describing the song’s namesake as ‘a big poofter’ less than 24 hours after the defining Supreme Court decision of a generation, and he did so just by the skin of his teeth, to be honest, before making a joke about Rolf Harris and then making fun of his own penis.

It was sorta like having a larrikin drunken uncle making relentless vegetarian jokes during Christmas lunch with your vego in-laws – it’s certainly a generational thing but it’s still gonna come up in conversation sooner or later so we better address it now. But that’s the Cosmic Psychos: 30 years of being nobody but themselves, and – by accident moreso than design – a crucial window into the national psyche.

BEN WATSON