The Paradise - Boston, USA

silverchair works teen spirit into real rock

By STEVE MORSE, Globe Staff
The Boston Globe, Feb. 22, 1997

silverchair is the real thing, no matter what you hear. The Australian teenage band pumped up the volume and happily blasted a sold-out Paradise crowd. Comparisons to Nirvana hung in the air since singer Daniel Johns and Kurt Cobain have a similar vocal range and raspiness (not to mention the same dirty-blond hair), but silverchair's live show definitely had its own zing.

Johns has said that silverchair, despite the success of its first two albums, lives for the stage. It was easy to see why at the Paradise, where the Aussie teenagers worked themselves into a sweaty pulp. Johns coaxed crazed feedback from his guitar near the end, playing the instrument over his head, then falling to his knees and ultimately leaving the guitar onstage -- still at Spinal Tap volume -- as he trotted off.

The crowd loved it, especially the young women shrieking at a high pitch up front who appeared to be having a religious experience. A bunch of them later besieged the heartthrobs for autographs -- and a few seemed more than willing to give out their phone numbers. silverchair is not quite ready to replace the Beatles, but the mania at times felt the same.

Johns, a wiry, beach-boy handsome you who flapped his long hair to the beat, boyishly fueled the women's excitement by calling a crew member on stage (to play second guitar on one song) and referring to him as the band's guidance counselor." The scream-o-meter went off the scale.

But silverchair backed up the teasing, smells-like-teen-horniness pose with some solid, no-frills rock 'n' roll. The band drew from its new Freak Show album (a follow-up to the multi-platinum frogstomp), starting with the hard-hitting Slave, Roses, and current hit Abuse Me, a look at the rock-star/audience relationship.

silverchair's music roared -- with Johns slamming out chords and the rhythm section of drummer Chris Joannou adding a jackhammer crunch. The music kicked butt -- and was good enough to suggest we'll see these lads in arenas before they're of drinking age -- but some improvement in the lyrics is still needed.

Many of Johns' lyrics are incongruously dark and labored compared to the buoyancy of the music. Johns has said he only likes to write lyrics when he's in a dark mood, but songs about living in a cemetery (Cemetery, which he played solo) and about suicidal dreams and loss of confidence seemed indulgently angst-filled. Hey, he didn't look unhappy and this was clearly not a mope-rock performance. We trust his lyrics will deepen and feel more genuine in the future. The music is already there.

Opening act Handsome, a New York-based hardcore-and-more band featuring former members of Helmet and Quicksand, delivered a hot set though the jury is still out on the singer, who often seemed like a junior-varsity Henry Rollins. It was cool, though, that silverchair drummer Ben Gillies joined him on a song and, later, that two Handsome members joined silverchair for a punky version of Minor Threat's Minor Threat. There was nothing minor about it.


By ZACK (hillmk@moose.ncia.net)

Less than 12 hours ago I got back from the best time in my life. I just got back from the silverchair concert in Boston, MA. I must say it was GREAT!

It was definitely the best concert I have ever been to! Of course, you DO have to take into account that it was the only concert I've ever been to! I must say though, that I do know a lot about concerts and stuff and from what I saw, it was a very well done, professional, and FUN event!

It all started at Pizzeria Uno where I had agreed to meet Jenna and Pete. There were also some other people there too like Jarod and Jenna's brother Mick. We sat and ate there. Pete was sitting with my friends and I. He was telling us all about the tour so far and his experiences with them. It was great. He showed us pictures and some other stuff too.

We got done and out of there by about 7:30. The doors at the Paradise were scheduled to open at 8:00. Pete came along in our car because we had PLENTY of room in our huge van. We drove on up to the Paradise. Pete was trying to get us in early, but there were rules against that, but it didn't matter because within a few minutes he had us standing in the lobby area talking to Ben. Ben immediately notified us that he had farted by saying, "Aw, shit, I just farted," in his heavy Aussie accent. Then, waving the stink over to us, "Fuck, it stinks too." We were all cracking up because we didn't care. He then talked to us for a few minutes and told us that he would be singing a song with Handsome during the opening act. So that was cool. Outside again to freeze some more in the cold weather.

Pete was able to just put us right at the front of the line where we waited the final few minutes. It made me feel kinda funny that people had been waiting in a LONG line for hours and we just showed up there, minutes before the show, and we got to stand right at the front. I didn't care though -- it was great! Me and my friends were among the first 20 people admitted. We walked down the hall and to the concert floor which was very small. There, sitting at a table without anyone noticing, was Chris, having something to drink. Pete walked us up to him and we were able to say hi and all that, but it was only a few minutes before anyone would notice Chris sitting there, so we had to go.

We promptly went down and got onto the floor against the stage. During the whole thing I was able to lean, and even sit on sometimes, against the stage! We were right there, no fence that far over or anything! We waited a little longer before the opening band, Handsome, was able to come on. They were VERY loud. I think they were actually too loud. The voice wasn't great because of the overload in guitar sound. My ears were ringing a lot and I couldn't hear myself talk. I was kinda happy when they left because I knew what was coming up soon. I thought Handsome was all right though. A good opening band.

It was time for silverchair to come on. Of course, like always, they were met with the screams and shrills of little girls. They were set within 30 seconds. Daniel hit a few quick notes on his guitar to make sure everything was all right. He set all of his effects pedals the way he needed them, then they were off into Slave. In the opening riff they would pause a really long time. The sound was great. It wasn't too loud -- and not quiet at all though!

Daniel was getting frustrated for the first few songs because something with the microphone or the monitors wasn't the way he wanted it. It was either too loud or soft. He kept turning to the guy in the sound booth and signaling. I think he was starting to get ticked off coz it wasn't being fixed fast enough.

They were met with huge applause after each song and Daniel was making quiet conversation with the crowd every now and then. Once, he spat into the air and a bunch of girls started screaming for him to spit on them. He went to the microphone and told everyone about it. He then said, "That would be really fucking stupid." Everyone laughed. Then he was telling everyone that he had herpes and all these diseases that they wouldn't wanna catch from it. Pete was saying at the end of the show how he would always look at Mrs. Johns when Daniel swore to see her reaction.

The band went through a bunch of songs. Daniel was switching every now and then between his Firebird, his orange Paul Reed Smith Dragon, and his silver guitar from the Abuse Me video. It was cool. He had an assortment of stickers on each of the first two. During any part where Daniel didn't have to sing and there was a hard guitar riff, Daniel would go crazy. He was jumping and headbanging throughout the entire thing. I play guitar and I don't know how the hell Daniel was able to do all of that and still play flawlessly.

Daniel requested every now and then that we jump to this song or that. The crowd wasn't very active. We weren't allowed to be. There were many bouncers with fists bigger than my head that kept anyone from moshing. I didn't mind though. I wanted to be there at the front of the stage without getting the shit pounded out of me. I enjoyed being able to stand there, sing along with the songs and headbang and jump. It was all I could ask for since we were a matter of a few feet from Daniel the entire time. I was even able to get some of the guitar music mentally noted so I could play it. I found out that what my friend and I had figured out for Freak was right.

If you have the frogstomp guitar book, all I can say is that what they had for Findaway is COMPLETELY wrong. It's so wrong I couldn't believe it. I won't even go into it. Uh, I guess the only other thing I would like to mention is that before they played Tomorrow Daniel said something how the next song was a grunge song, then he said, "It's very grungy" in this really weird voice. He then went on to say it's about male prostitution and it was dedicated to Tim. Everyone was singing along and during part of the first verse Daniel just started moving his tongue around in his mouth going, "Lalalala" or something like that.

Other highlights include during Freak when he threw in the line "As cool as fuckin you!" He also did some really high pitched, insane sounding, screachy voice when he said "well get a different disease."

This was a very cool concert and I had a lot of fun. I always knew what song was coming up because I had perfect view of the setlist taped to one of Daniel's speakers in front of him. It went like this I think (I had to remember all of it with the help of my friends):

1. Slave
2. Roses
3. Findaway
4. Abuse Me
5. Freak
6. Cemetery
7. Suicidal Dream
8. Tomorrow
9. The Door
10. Faultline
11. No Association
12. Pure Massacre
13. Madman

14. Minor Threat
15. Israel's Son

And that's it. I got out, went to my van, said bye to Pete, and sat the whole three-hour drive home. Oh, one more thing to mention. During one of the songs, some stupid girl managed to get some others to help hold up a huge banner that said "I love U Daniel, I want U." I was ready to puke at how pathetic it was. Sorry. :)


By JENN (MunkyG1rl@aol.com) and HEATHER (frogiegirl@grolen.com)

The silverchair show this past Thursday was soo great! I stood in line for four hours in freezing cold weather to get as close as possible. I was about 11th in line. I think our moms were probably more excited than us! They werent going in, but they were pretty excited, By the end of the night, everyone in the line knew our moms!

The doors were going to open at 8 p.m., and we got there about 4. So we had a long wait ahead of us. At about 5, MTV stopped by and started fliming the now pretty short line of people. I was right behind the guy with the camera. I'm not sure what it was for, or when it was going to be on, but I'd like to know!

Finally, 8:00 rolled around, and they let us in. We got into the place to discover that it was even smaller than my school gymnasium! We got into the third row in the center -- a perfect view. The wait for Handsome took quite a while, but about 9 p.m. they came out.

Handsome was great, although I don't think that everyone was getting into it as much as they wanted us to. We were trying to get everyone else into it by jumping around, etc., but everyone was just so boring! They really put on a good show! But around their fifth song, they thanked silverchair, and who comes out but Ben! He sang a little with Jeremy (lead singer of Handsome) and got into a little headbanging -- well, actually a lot. That was the Handsome song that got the most response from the crowd.

I'm not really sure what time silverchair came on, because in the middle of the Handsome performance, I lost the person with the watch. But they entered the stage with some pretty silly circus music, and the crowd, which was made up of mostly teenage girls, went crazy. They started to play Slave and then stopped -- everyone just looked around, then they did the next three chords, then stopped. Then everyone caught on that they were supposed to be doing that! The stage looked great. Ben had a doll with no head by his bass drum, the background was "freak show" like.

They put on a great show. At one point Daniel was getting angry cause no one was getting into it. There was a big sign on the door that read, "There will be no moshing or crowdsurfing at this event, anyone who is caught moshing or crowdsurfing will be immediately removed with no refund" so everyone was afraid to move. So he just said, "You can jump, right?" and everyone responded with a roar of "yeahs" so he said "jump mother fu**ers, jump!" and everyone listened to him, and the crowd went wild after that.

Daniel seemed a bit annoyed with some of the girls at the show. I have to admit a lot of them were pretty annoying. He was rolling his eyes a lot, and a one point, he spit off to the side, and some girls yelled out, "Spit on me, Daniel!" He looked at them and said "What? You want me to spit on you? You're fu**ing stupid!" At one point the crowd was chanting "Shade" so Daniel said, "This is a little song we like to call Shade" and then he looked at Ben and Chris, and said, "No, just kidding, we're never going to play that song again" and they started Pure Massacre.

They ended off the show with a cover of Minor Threat with the help of Jeremy from Handsome. It was a great cover, and at the end, Jeremy jumped and crowdsurfed right toward us.

As soon as we got outside, our mothers rushed us to this door and up some stairs up to a room that we soon discovered had Handsome sitting in it. We all just looked at each other in amazement. Pete (the drummer) looked at us, then at our moms and said, "Oh, they don't want to see us!" and we told him opposite! Then Eddie (the bassist) brought us to this door that lead to backstage. We sat on the steps for a while thinking we were in, but were soon kicked out by the "evil" manager.

So we went outside into the freezing cold to wait by their tour buses. We figured, we've waited this long, why not wait a little longer? About a half an hour after waiting, Handsome came outside, and people got autographs, and we got to say goodbye and thanks to them, and get a cool picture with them. There was something going on by the tour bus while we were taking the picture, but we didn't think anything of it. So 15 minutes later, I had my back to the tour bus and my mom runs by, takes me, and flings me on to someone. I turn around, and who is it but Daniel. I apologized for almost knocking him over, and he said, "Oh, that's all right, wasn't your fault." Then I noticed I was being mobbed by teenage girls, because my mom flung me into the middle of everyone. After I turned around to talk to Daniel, he rolled his eyes about the crowd, and said "Hi!" He was about to ask me a question when [someone] pulled him back into the tour bus, and he said, "Oh, never mind, bye! I'm so sorry!" He waved, then the doors shut.

Then my friend came up to me all excited, saying "You've gotta come to the back of the bus!" So I did, and Ben and Chris were hanging out the window. I got Chris and Ben to sign this bumper sticker thing, and soon it was time for them to go, and Ben gave us his sincere goodbye by showing us his bare butt.

And that was the end of a night that I will never forget!