Published on September 20th, 2015 | by The Nazzarene


The Cosmic Psychos

Cosmic Psychos, Sat 5th Sept, Newtown Social Club

“Fuckin’ spewed me guts up about an hour ago,” grunts silverback punk rocker Ross Knight as he takes to the stage of Sydney’s Old Sandringham Hotel on this rainy spring evening. He rapidly finishes his beer, and starts hammering out the intro to the anthem Pub. As drummer Dean Muller applies snare and guitarist Mad Macka leans on his fuzz pedal and starts strumming, the night is underway and the punters are happy.


For many, having a vom one hour before work would be reasonable grounds for having the day off, but not when your job description is “Cosmic Fucking Psycho”.

This is my first ever live Psychos experience so I am very happy Knight is soldiering on. Even though I was into similar kinds of bands back in the early ’90s, I never made the effort to listen to these infamous Aussie stalwarts. I knew they had introduced the expression “get a dog up ya” to a generation of inner-city punks, and that they had had a few songs on JJJ, but that was about it. It was watching the excellent documentary on them about a year ago that got me interested in them, and I have now made my way through much of their back catalogue.

This evening I am excited about my first round of psychos-therapy, and they don’t disappoint. Due to a prior engagement, my wife has also been dragged along, despite having heard the group for the first time in the car on the way in, and having very little interest in the genre. I expect her to sit in the corner facebooking, but to my surprise she has a great time watching the spectacle unfold and even chats to some of the crowd.

It is good news that the Psychos are writing some of their angriest and funniest songs 30 years into their existence

These songs about fightin’, rootin’, drivin’, hatin’, eatin’, shootin’, and sinkin’ copious amounts of piss are an acquired taste, but they provide much needed sustenance to the lizard brain. There is a brutal honesty in many of these songs that appeals to me. Some of them push (and break) the envelope of offensiveness and bad taste, while others are very funny. The Psychos promote the old school Aussie way of being humble blue-collar blokes who live hard and simple, never pursuing any fancy show pony or progressive bullshit. A way of life that seems to be disappearing slowly.

These idiotic yet cleverly crafted songs are very easy to sing along to, which adds a lot to the live experience. For some reason screaming out rude words and phrases in unison with another 200-odd people is quite cathartic.

There are a few unhinged punters in the mosh, one of whom emerges with blood all over his face

About five songs in to the set they play an instrumental version of their classic-within-5-minutes-of-being-released song Better not Bitter, but the crowd suddenly goes quiet and I seem to be the only one yelling out the words. Maybe the punters are mainly old-school fans. This song has a furious fuzzy fast section in it with really raw emotion that reminds me of some parts of Negative Creep, only more intense. I guess it is about the Knight’s divorce that is described in the film, and I feel for his ex-wife.

Untitled copyIt is good news that the Psychos are writing some of their angriest and funniest songs 30 years into their existence. The crowd is going pretty wild as they play Custom Credit and I leave my friends at the back to go and check out the action at the front.

There are a few unhinged punters in the mosh, one of whom emerges with blood all over his face. Another guy is annoying various punters and thankfully goes away for some reason. I move in front of a foldback speaker and hold on for grim death to hear some of Mad Macka’s work up close. He has a superb guitar sound and his wah is screaming for much of the night.

They could’ve been a fair bit louder on this night, but not to worry. They finish with David Lee Roth, with has the charming chorus, “Suck me off! Suck me off! Suck me off!”

So ends my first Cosmic Psychos experience. I will no doubt be back for more.

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