Festival Hall - Brisbane, Australia

Live Review: Cheeky little buggers
silverchair, Grinspoon, Automatic, Festival Hall
© 1997 Time Off Publications

The prospect of a silverchair concert at Festival Hall was always going to be a daunting prospect and when the gig sold out in just five hours, you knew it was going to be so much more. Like frightening.

A horde of crazed fans getting the chance to vent some eight months of bottled-up, silverchair emotion. This was the one they'd been waiting for... The kids? Well, they were mad for it.

Automatic were the surprise guests for the night and did a damn fine job of warming up the crowd. Delivering what turned out to be a live version of their fine album, Transmitter, it was numbers such as Five and Sister K which really kicked in a gear and helped the crowd limber up.

Grinspoon did something quite amazing on the night in question. They managed to impress me so much that I'd be quite happy to be known as a Grinspoon fan. Shout it from building tops, I would. Unlike some of my esteemed former colleagues, I've penetrated the barrier of taste Grinspoon erected when they brought us the rather disappointing single, Post Inebriated Anxiety. Their live performance redeemed them no end. Live, it sounded fantastic.

With vitriolic and caustic guitars blazing loud and fierce and Phil's vocals meeting the challenge, the band's overall sound gelled into a well-oiled machine. I, for one, can't wait to hear it all again on album.

As a result of Grinspoon's performance, silverchair had quite a bit to live up to. But for a band who's gained a reputation world-wide for energetic and aural-pillaging performances, this was never going to be a problem. Daniel, Chris and Ben -- all sporting new, shorter hairdos -- revved the audience into a flailing, writhing frenzy. It was the first time I've ever seen the moshpit at Festival Hall stretch from the front of stage to the rear. Amazing.

The highlights were aplenty. The singles obviously whipped the crowd into a bouncing mass -- Israel's Son, Tomorrow, Pure Massacre and Abuse Me -- did the job in fine style. Bodies flopped across the top of outstretched arms, the roof shook during the sing-along choruses and young girls screamed with glass-shattering abandon. Us old folk just adjusted our ear-plugs.

In my book, Daniel's solo version of Cemetery was a particular highlight. He only attempted this after threatening the crowd if anyone dared to throw things at him. The threat? Why, he'd play Savage Garden for the rest of the night. Elsewhere, his instrumental guitar interludes of Greensleeves and habit of reciting Roxette lyrics provided some light entertainment. Suicidal Dream was another show-stopper.

Chris' thundering bass and Ben's punchy drums have always provided the solid foundations for Daniel's grungy guitar style and nowhere else is this more evident than in the live setting. Abuse Me probably served as the best example, when the band were apparently joined by Tony Iommi from Black Sabbath (it was actually their roadie). Cheeky little buggers!

But hell they can rock!