With rock’n’roll having been consistently saved every single year since it died back with Jimi in 1970, you wouldn’t be remiss to ask how long it actually needs to be dead before it can be saved again. Well, after local legends Whipper smashed it as the support on Sunday, rock’n’roll was undeniably dead for a full half hour until Fat White Family took the stage and saved rock’n’roll!

Fat White Family at Yah-Yah’s, Melbourne, Sunday July 24 2016

It’s telling of the current state of indie rock music that a psych band can develop a reputation for being “druggy”, however the Fat Whites have predictably already made headlines here. Apparently someone somewhere thinks it’s controversial that a band on tour likes getting wasted (or at least hopes they can spin it that way).

That said, it’s immediately apparent which members are new to the Family and which have been stuck in this hellhole for some time. These fresh-faced additions (on the bass & guitar) are reportedly replacing the bad influences in the group, and their skin seems to sit a lot more comfortably on their bodies than the others. Still, as they launch into the sleazy psych of Auto Neutron, the opener to their debut record Champagne Holocaust, it’s apparent from the get-go that Fat White Family have every intention of dragging the crowd into the pit that they’re in.

Frontman Lias Saudi, who starts the set carrying eight individual beers under his arm, has ripped his shirt off and jumped into the crowd to get a mosh going by the first kick of the first tune. It’s rare to see a psych band that puts on this sloppy and raucous a show. Guitarist Adam J Harmer and Lias seem to make it a mission to cover the crowd in as much beer as possible. Lias’ brother Nathan Saudi is playing one of his organs with the other one. Even the nice new members are at least punching darts on stage.

They get such a party going that soon Lias is copping a crowd that thinks they’re friends with him – jumping on stage and trying to interact with him. He throws them back into the audience, which gets everyone crowdsurfing (some more successfully than others, given the place isn’t close to full and there aren’t so many hands to catch you).

This is all the more impressive given Fat White Family aren’t exactly a punk band. Most of their tunes are pretty slow and sleazy, but during the show, it’s apparent how many of these already feel like classics considering there are only two Fat White Family records out (which are missing two of the best singles). I Am Mark E Smith, Is It Raining In Your Mouth, Whitest Boy on the Beach, Tinfoil Deathstar, Touch the Leather – all kick like a mule live, where they stew on the record. Even the lo-fi acoustic Garden Of The Numb has a newfound, massive kick to mosh to here.

The band ends on a riotous Bomb Disneyland, with Lias copping other crowdsurfers piling up on him while he’s crowdsurfing. The rest of the band sweat through the amped-up audience to get back to the green room. Rock’n’roll will be dead again for about 24 hours, before Fat White Family take the stage once more at Cherry.