Uni MDH - Manchester, UK


Support for the show came from Melbourne trio even, who kicked things off at around 20:15 to a lukewarm reception. I have to admit that the attraction of the students union bar held more appeal, therefore I only caught the beginning and end of their set.

silverchair came on to yet another new intro (some kind of football commentary/chant) and started off with Slave with what seemed like an even longer than usual elongated gap between the opening riffs. Daniel Johns sported a new haircut, a dyed bob. It made no difference to the way he ferociously threw his head about all the way through their 90-minute show.

It never fails to amaze me with the sheer power of this three piece, especially the two rhythm players. As David Coverdale said of Tommy Aldridge, "He's the most thunderous Octopus on the drums." If he ever caught sight of Ben Gillies he'd think twice. Let's face it -- this guy beats the skins with such force it sounds as if he's using two telegraph poles for sticks.

Chris Joannou plays his bass with such diverse skill that you'd swear he was playing rhythm guitar. It fills out their sound perfectly with no particular need for a second guitar except perhaps for Abuse Me, for which they bring out trusty roadcrew member Bailey "Iommi" Holloway.

Bailey wasn't the only crew member to have his five minutes of fame at the Manchester show. After the band finished Tomorrow, Daniel urged everyone to sing happy birthday to Hugh Taranto, asking Ben and Chris to come down to the mic and sing as well. Chris took the most persuading, mainly from Bailey who wouldn't hand him his bass until he joined in.

Some of the highlights of the night were an encore of Minor Threat's Minor Threat played to a mostly bewildered teen crowd, and blistering versions of Cemetery and Tomorrow with Daniel singing "You think you can go on living like a Slob, well Ben I surely doubt it."

The three scheduled shows in England were all sold out well in advance, which says to me that they can't keep playing the smaller-sized venues for much longer. They're gonna be MASSIVE!

The setlist was as follows:

Abuse Me
Pure Massacre
Suicidal Dream
The Door
No Association
Minor Threat
Israel's Son


Kerrang! magazine

Apparently, the least tactful question yet posed to Bush frontman Gavin Rossdale, enquired how he felt about his success being indirectly fuelled by Kurt Cobain's suicide. Ouch. You might ask silverchair the same thing, but it would be equally unfair. Singer/guitarist Daniel Johns' passing resemblance to Cobain may get corporate eyes gleaming, but one of the Aussie bands strengths is that they're so obviously three teenagers rocking out.

Newcomers Even are consistent only in their blandness, leaving no impression. They even play a cover of Fleetwood Mac's Don't Stop. Oh yes, why not play a song that repeatedly endorses "thinking about tomorrow," when your audience are mainly students trying to do the opposite.

silverchair emerge to roars from folk in Nirvana and Pantera shirts alike.

Although this reflects the schizo breadth of silverchair's current repertoire, they're generally at their best when not writing songs beyond their years.

The adrenaline-pumping crunchers sit easier than the angsty ballads. Slave, also the opening track on the current Freak Show album, is all lumbering riffs and power. silverchair follow up with the similarly mighty Roses, and all is well in the pit.

"You guys rock!" informs Johns dryly, before the melodically uptempo Findaway continues to demonstrate the band at its most effective.

New single Abuse Me is a slowie, but the best they've penned.

Pure Massacre and Suicidal Dream from the frogstomp debut, however, don't represent the band's best any more. They sound downright naive compared to the sneering sarcasm of a track like Freak. Johns tackles the balladic Cemetery alone, which we don't particularly want. Likewise with Tomorrow.

It sent silverchair to number one in their domestic charts, but that doesn't make it any less pedestrian. So the set has a slightly dodgy middle chunk.

Thank God then, that for the last seven songs silverchair become the band you want them to be. Psyched, hard hitting and above all convincing.

When The Door builds to a stunning riff, silverchair are Sepultura with short hair. We also love No Association's every power chord. Freak is probably silverchair's peak so far, painfully heavy with Johns screaming the odd line.

Former set-opening instrumental Madman beats the shite out of us, as Johns and bassist Chris Joannou go ape. Drummer Ben Gillies looks nails hard and plays accordingly, with the sticks above-head flair of the seasoned-arena player.

The encores are a raging cover of hardcore kings Minor Threat's self-titled anthem, and frogstomp highlight Israel's Son.

Amid closing feedback, Johns repeatedly chants the line, 'Put your hands in the air!' As the crowd obeys, Johns begins screeching it. Those last few repetitions, you'd swear he was Marilyn Manson. Now that has to be the way ahead.

[Thanks to Daniel Young for the transcript.]