Derwent Entertainment Centre - Hobart, Australia


"I've heard so many stories about Hobart," growls silverchair singer and guitarist Daniel Johns to thousands of worshipping fans, mostly around 14 and mostly female. "So many motherfucking stories..."

A story is how you would describe silverchair's rise to become one of Australia's most popular bands. In 1994 they won a local CD competition with the song Tomorrow, a Pearl Jam-ish riff-laden rocker which was put into heavy rotation by both Triple J and mainstream radio and ended up as Australia's fourth highest selling single ever. In 1997 they are in the midst of the Summer Freak Shows, an exhaustive set of concerts around Australia to support their second album.

But enough of that history lesson. Thanks to Filter magazine, I won a pass to see silverchair on Friday, December 12 at the DEC. But first...

"Hi, we're Grinspoon," said vocalist Phil Jaimeson before launching into a moshin' version of Post Inebriated Anxiety. Jaimeson, dressed as ever in that infamous red Monaro T-shirt, was a bundle of energy on stage, and found a more that appreciative audience. Everyone danced along to their radio hits off their debut album Guide to Better Living, including songs such as Pedestrian, Boundary and Repeat. The greatest applause was saved for their final number, the delightfully gross Dead Cat Three Times. Like silverchair, Grinspoon may have drawn criticism for their likeness to some of the Seattle grunge bands circa 1992, but their songs are just so darn catchy that the critics themselves are probably muttering Dead Cat Three Times to themselves while flipping through their Nirvana CDs. Grinspoon rocked so hard that I went out and bought Guide to Better Living the next day even though I don't have a CD player.

The non-smoking thing was good too; let's hope that the same policy is applied in Tas Uni's Activities Centre so that concerts there can be made half-bearable.

Next were Magic Dirt. I am disappointed to say that I didn't enjoy their set as much. The guitars rocked, but Adalita's voice drowned in the ensuing sea of distortion and feedback. Maybe it was just a problem with the mix, I don't know.

silverchair opened with Slave, continued with Abuse Me and then rattled out a fine hour-long set that left even the most spiteful silverchair haters cheering by the show's end. Over the years they have have developed a real stage presence, Chris Joannou's thumping bass barely keeping Johns' screeching guitar from utter chaos. Best of all is Ben Gillies' impossibly loud drumming. Behind what seems like a maniacal mess lies an intricate sense of rhythm which sees Gilles up there with the likes of Matt Cameron (Soundgarden) and Eric Kretz (STP).

A flannel shirt is thrown at Johns' feet. "Feel free to throw any grunge wear onto the stage," sighs Johns, obviously sick of the Nirvana comparisons which have plagued the band since 1994. "Grunge, grunge, grunge... Seattle, Seattle, Seattle... fuck, fuck, fuck." Next a lusty teen takes off her bra and throws it on stage. Johns promptly wears it as a mask while singing Spawn, followed by a solo version of Cemetery. Lyrically, with song titles like Slave, Freak, Pure Massacre, Abuse Me, Lie to Me and Suicidal Dream, one dare not guess what is going on inside Johns' head, except to say that his lyrics are refreshingly heartfelt and honest -- he does not feel the need to make the lyrics more "hip" by disguising his feelings beneath layers of indecipherable abstract nonsense.

The highlight of the show was when Johns launched himself into a stack of Marshall cabinets, toppling the entire setup to the groung and surely breaking a couple of ribs. But no, he was perfectly OK, and got up immediately to blast out a cracking version of The Door.

The crowd wanted an encore, and they got it, with silverchair coming back on to play Israel's Son and then finished up with a dance remix of Freak, in which Johns wandered around screaming, climbing on amps and grating the mike against the speakers, producing feedback that ensured the total destruction of the few remaining decibels of hearing everone had by that stage. Top stuff.

I do have one little thing to whinge about, however, and that is in relation to the seating arrangements. I had a seat at the back of the DEC, and when I came down to mosh for Grinspoon I was politely told by security that sorry, people with seating tickets were not allowed down on the floor. Thus myself and a couple of thousand of other unfortunate punters had to "sit" out the concert, and pretend to enjoy it while looking in envy at those in the mosh pit who had standing room tickets. There was an excess of standing room space, room for another thousand of people at least, so what would have been the harm in letting us down there? Extra standing room space could have been produced beforehand by moving the stage back 20 meters or so. God knows the DEC is big enough.

This may seem like a petty complaint, but "we wanna mosh!" was the cry from the collective souls of those restrained to the seating area. I mean who wants to see the fuckin' 'chair while sitting in a fuckin' chair? Whoever was in charge of the fucked seating arrangements for this fucking concert must be a bunch of fucking fucked fuck heads!! And why the fuck am I talking like Daniel Johns all of a fucking sudden?

OK, that aside, the crowd and the bands went off, everyone was screaming in delight by the end of silverchair's set (who live are not to be missed), and the whole concert could be best descibed by Phil Jaimeson as a total "sickfest."



Last Friday night I attended the silverchair Concert at the Derwent Entertainment Centre in Hobart. It was awesome. What a wicked night!

After 1 and 1/2 hours of enduring the lead-up bands and intermission, silverchair appeared. The crowd were well and truly ready for them to appear and went off their faces when the band walked onto the stage. Our adrenalin was really pumping with anticipation. We expected the best... we got the best.

silverchair began the concert with Slave, from their latest album, and it wasn't long before "crowd surfing" began. Anyone who wasn't involved in that was jumping (even the cautious but curious people seated in far off seats).

It was raw music at its best. They finished off the concert with the Freak remix, my personal favourite! There were many disappointed fans at the end of that song. Who could go home to bed?? We were all ready to rage.

In two hours we got grunge, ballads that put the tough into tenderness, serious weirdness and heaps of adrenalin beat rushes. So, I'm off to buy Freak Show. It will be permanently in my CD player!