Peaches and Cream Festival - Cobram, Australia
By SARAH WARD
Photos by MICHELLE HARMER
silverchair's first official live performance in over 14 months was at Cobram's Peaches & Cream festival which is located on the banks of the Murray River.
Throughout the day I spotted many excited looking people dressed proudly in their various silverchair shirts from both the frogstomp and Freak Show eras. There was a long wait ahead of us chairfans though, because silverchair weren't scheduled to hit the stage until approximately midnight.
After watching Frenzal Rhomb, The Superjesus and The Living End completely go off, some familiar looking equipment started to be moved on to the stage: Ben's Pearl kit up on a platform, the Marshall stacks toward the left side of the stage, the infamous green PRS guitar being tuned, and a new addition -- a keyboard toward the back of the stage on the left side.
It took the roadies about 20 minutes to set up all the gear but as soon as the lights went down, the crowd roared in anticipation. The stage lit up with an eerie purple light, with very cool looking neon-like lights around the amps and up the top of the stage. For about five minutes, we were teased with this, thinking that at any moment now the boys would strut on to the stage. They then played a tape of something, I can't quite remember what it was about, but it was someone talking about something.
Finally after about another five minutes Ben, Chris, Daniel and Sam appeared on the stage, opening with Israel's Son. The crowd immediately recognised the bass intro and started to get pumped up and ready to rock. The mosh pit went pretty nuts, mostly due to the fact that way over half the crowd was extremely drunk having been drinking and sitting in the hot sun since about three in the afternoon.
Without a word from Daniel, we were then treated with Emotion Sickness, which completely blew me away. It's about six minutes long and just captured me for its entire length. It's a beautiful song though, quite haunting and extremely emotional. The crowd, although not able to sing along, seemed to really like the song and cheered loudly once again for the mighty 'chair.
Next came Ana's Song (Open Fire) which I must say was just unreal, for lack of a better word. Again it was quite mellow and an extremely beautiful song. It was obvious that all three of the guys were putting their all into the performance and even if the majority of the crowd was too drunk to even notice what band was playing, I know that a lot of the silverchair fans were quite awe struck by the energy and passion being put into the set.
After a very quiet "thanks" from Daniel the guys ripped into Slave much to the crowd's delight. Abuse Me was met with much crowd appreciation, bringing on quite a sing along especially in the chorus.
During the course of the night, Daniel had quite a few interesting words to say about spirituality (according to him, Jesus is too confusing because he said that the old and new testaments were too difficult to understand for him), energies intertwining, yoga and various other amusing little thoughts.
Paint Pastel Princess was another newie which I personally liked a lot. I really feel that the band have grown for the better over the past year or so. All the new songs are very impressive.
Daniel then explained that we had reached the part of the set where they were going to play their old songs. With Cemetery and Suicidal Dream the crowd sang along and really got into the music. Daniel then made sure that everyone up the back could hear the music with an interesting little "can you hear it up the back?" chant. They then ripped into an intense version of Madman which really got the crowd jumping. Freak, The Door, Pure Massacre and Faultline followed.
The band proved that they were back, and ready to take the world by storm. The energy and intensity of their performance was fantastic.
The song which I'd been waiting to hear all night came next -- Anthem For The Year 2000. It started off with Daniel getting the crowd to clap and sing "We are the youth" for about five minutes. Anthem kicked all arse. It was just unreal -- very rock 'n' roll. I really think that the second it hits radio, it's going to hit No. 1. It is going to be HUGE. It's very catchy, the radio stations are going to lap it up and I think that silverchair will really show the world who's boss when it's released. I was very impressed and can't wait to hear it again.
Lie To Me was the first song of the encore after Ben, Chris and Daniel left the stage for approximately five minutes. Spawn Again was introduced as "the heaviest song on the planet and it's just for you." Because I really love the original Spawn I was really looking forward to hearing the slightly different Spawn Again, with a few lyrical changes. It rocked and left the crowd satisfied, but still hungry for more. In typical 'chair fashion, they left the stage with feedback echoing into the night.
I haven't seen them ever play better. Anyone who's going to see the guys sometime soon are really in for one hell of a show because it was huge! Daniel prowls the stage much more and interacts with the crowd quite a bit. He's also into some very Marilyn Manson-esque looking poses and hand movement which add to the show quite a bit. The keyboards also add an interesting and new sound to a lot of the songs. Sam did an excellent job.
I wish they'd played more than five new songs, though it was probably best that they played mostly old, well known stuff because as I mentioned, most of the crowd were blind drunk and I don't think that they would have really appreciated the new stuff because they wanted to hear something which they knew. In that respect it was a pity, but I guess I'll just have to wait until Neon Ballroom comes out to hear all the new material -- I can't wait!
Report and photos by MICHELLE HARMER
I'd been hanging out since 3 p.m. for these guys (not including the 6-hour drive to get to Cobram in the first place!) I wasn't disappointed. My friend Clare was, though -- she got pulled out of the mosh a little earlier with two broken ribs.
Daniel gave me quite a shock when he arrived onstage. He was wearing a silver glittery top and baggy pants. Chris was wearing his brown 'bud' tee with shorts and was completely bald, while Ben opted for the usual topless look and spiky hair.
They were joined by a Melbourne keyboardist, Sam Holloway, who formerly was in the band Cordrazine (no relation to guitar technician Bailey Holloway). Daniel used only two guitars during the whole set, and neither of them were the familar PRS guitars. One was a dark green Gibson with only one sticker on it, and the other was a red guitar covered in stickers. One of those stickers read 'Girls rule!' which gave me a bit of a laugh.
Emotion Sickness: I found this to be a very dark, ballad-style tune. It's understandable that this song is Daniel's pride and joy, because it sounds like he's put a lot of effort in with adding the keyboard section. Sam did OK, but he was a little overpowering at times.
Daniel: "Thank you, everyone. We're gonna play a new song. But first of all, thanks to all that stayed until the late night shift, we appreciate it very much. We applaud your efforts to stand there, being able to drink and withstand the sun's UV rays and put up with the temptation of maybe going for a swim in the river. Um, here's a new song."
Miss You Love: This was one of my favourites for the night as Daniel made it sound really clean and melodic, and also heaps different to the material I'm used to (it's in waltz time).
Suicidal Dream: Everyone made an attempt to jump to this song. It may not be a single, but to this audience it was a huge hit nevertheless. Many sang along, and right about this time a stray water container flew onstage, barely missing Daniel's head.
Daniel: "Hi. Um, we're silverchair, and um, we're gonna play an old, old song, off our first album. It's titled frogstomp, um, but we don't harm frogs ever and we respect what you believe in, so please, please just respect what we believe in you know, 'cause it's real hard. And this song is very hard so f--king move!"
Leave Me Out
Paint Pastel Princess: This is one of the new songs. The intro was a really classical sounding piece -- really high and light-pitched. The chorus was symbolic of the Freak Show sound, except there was a guitar/keyboard bridge before Dan played the intro again, and broke into the chorus (repeating "but it's all the same to me" continuously). Little did I know it was the last chance for anyone to breathe for a few more minutes.
Daniel: "Thanks. (coughs) Hello. OK, can everyone up the back hear, hear the music? Yeah? At the back? The people behind the, ah, the mixing thing, ah, tent thing? Can you hear? Up the back? (yells out loudly, singing it) CAN YOU HEAR UP THE BACK, BACK, BACK? CAN YOU HEAR UP THE BACK? CAN YOU HEAR UP THE BACK? CAN YOU HEAR UP THE...ah, it's a silly song. OK, ready? I'm doing this by myself."
Daniel: "Thanks, Sam. OK, this is the section, this is the section of our show where we play, um, some old ones, for your enjoyment, because we know that new and mellow songs just aren't the festival type thing, and because you don't appreciate it, 'cause you wanna jump 'round and rock 'n' roll like the animals you are, yeah? All right. Then jump around and f--kin' rock 'n' roll. Because the more you jump, the louder we get. The more you jump, the louder we get. So, if you jump as much as possible, just give so much energy back, it's all spiritual. Everything in life is spiritual. You must touch our energy, we'll touch your energy, a big, a big rock production. You ready?"
The Door: Daniel toyed around with the second verse, singing it a little differently by dragging out lyrics and adding short words here and there. Sarah McLeod from The Superjesus had come out in front of the barrier to watch silverchair play. She was obviously a fan, as she knew every word by heart. I talked her and she signed my notebook for me. She also tried to say something in my ear, something like "they're loud, aren't they?" I replied by nodding and we returned to singing, but she was escorted away soon after, due to the huge amount of crowd-surfers crashing on the ground all around her.
Daniel: "Right. Put your hand up if you had a stage in your life (where) you felt alienated from the rest of the world. OK, yoga, yoga is for you. It stretches the mind, and, everything is about spirituality. Spirituality or drugs. You're gonna take your pick. Right? Or Jesus, but, Jesus at some times can be very stressful. Because you don't know whether to read the old or new testament. Two different stories, it f--ks me up. You ready? Because... are you ready? Are you ready to rock 'n' roll? ARE YOU READY TO ROCK 'N' ROLL? ARE YOU READY TO ROCK AND ROLL....yeah! Ahh!"
Freak: You had to be there to hear the thousands of voices screaming this song out. Daniel even tried rapping ("to need the, to need the cold sore, cream, cream, CREAM!") at some stages, but he generally left this tune unchanged, as he could see that we were all singing it out as loud as possible.
Daniel: "This is our next single. Rock on for the year 2000! This is our mother-f--king anthem!"
Anthem For The Year 2000: This is actually the world premiere of this new song. The start goes, "We are the youth," and Daniel clapped his hands above his head so that everyone would clap along. Then he got us to sing "we are the youth" every second time, before breaking into the first verse. Anthem is a traditional hard-core silverchair song, attacking the fact that youth have no power over what happens in their lives ("politicians are so f--king sure"). The chorus is very easy to learn ("we'll make it up to you in the year 2000, build it up for you in the year 2000"), and so a few of us were singing along by the final two choruses.
At the end of Anthem, silverchair left the stage but I was sure they'd come back for an encore, both because they usually do that kind of thing, and that they hadn't played Spawn Again yet. A few chants went around while waiting for their return -- first our nationally famous "Aussie, Aussie, Aussie,oy oy oy!" then an attempt at "sil-ver-chair!" but the best was the uproariously loud "WE WANT MORE!" until they finally walked back on, picked up their instruments and the lights went back up.
Daniel: "This is the first time silverchair has played in over 13 months, so if you don't like it we're not giving money back, we're just playing to the best of our ability. Don't forget, we're only very young. 1, 2, 3, 4!"
Lie To Me
Daniel: "Right. This is our last song, so if you wanna avoid any traffic jams I suggest you move now. Otherwise the traffic's gonna be terrible. This is our last song. It's the heaviest song on the planet, and it's called Spawn Again, and it's for you."
Spawn Again: I already had heard the unremixed version of Spawn in '97, but since then Daniel has changed one line (instead of "who's the bad guy" repetitively he says a whole new bunch of words, including "animal liberation" in there somewhere) and has added keyboard sections, including a noise similar to a car alarm. Of course, unless it actually was a car alarm, but I don't think so. No car alarm could be that loud!
The time had come for silverchair to leave for good. Despite the cries of "we want more," they were gone. I guess all I can do now is buy Anthem For The Year 2000 when it comes out, and listen to that until the next concert I'm attending.
It was a hot summer's day; the sky was blue and the weather was gorgeous. Campers and visitors came to Cobram to enjoy a day full of great Australian music. Thompson's Beach is actually a bank of the Murray River, so people were able to jump in and have a swim while listening to the bands (also great for waterfights) The first band had hit the stage at 3pm and it was now just gone past midnight and the crowd was restless and calling for silverchair to come on stage.
Finally, the lights went down and the chair was on stage. They started with Israel's Son and a great cheer went up from the crowd at hearing this. Some slight variations to the guitar solo kept the song interesting. The very next song was a new one, I think it was Emotion Sickness. It sounded different from the current songs, but I think after a few listens it will grow on you. Other songs, (in no particular order as I never remember these things) included Faultline, Leave Me Out, Suicidal Dream, Madman, Undecided, Pure Massacre, The Door, Slave, Abuse Me,Freak,Cemetery, Lie To Me. From the new songs, I really loved Its All the Same To Me and Anthem for Year 2000. This one rocks!! Spawn Again we sorta know and it sounds so-o-o-o-o much better without the electronic bits.Couldn't work out what the other new songs were :-(
The set was different too. Neon lights were all around the edges of the PA stacks, while the lighting rig above had some neon effects too. Daniel now stands a little bit further to the centre, now not being so far right. The keyboards are at the back, next to Dan's PAs. (Hey, why didn't anyone introduce Sam Holloway to us???)
Also, Dan's voice is definitely a lot stronger and true to pitch, after it has had the chance to warm up after a song or two. He loves mocking with the 'rock-god' pose (fist in the air) and he certainly shows some showmanship when playing the guitar. Chris has shaved off all his hair and has only a stubble. Ben's is still short and spiky.
Dan started a song about the people at the back chanting "Can you hear up the back", but abandoned this soon after "It was a stupid song anyway" Before Freak, he explained the spiritualness of a chair show " the harder you jump, the louder we play, its all connected" (something like that).
It was a very good show. I'm glad that all my fears of the new album being full of slow songs and stuff like that are groundless. After the small taste of the new stuff, I can't wait for the new single and album.