Festival Hall - Melbourne, Australia
All photos by JENNA O'BRIEN
Slave (with Israel's Son intro)
Daniel: "Thank you. When you're a bearded lady everything is fine. That's what we've come to realise through the next guitarist. Her name is... Jackie Love, and she's in love, and she has a goatee, because she's bearded. She's a freak."
Daniel: "Thank you. Thank you very much, Melbourne. You guys rock harder than every other place that we've travelled, easily. We've only played one other place in Victoria, and that was... Cairns. Cairns was also the other Victorian rock city. [EDITOR'S NOTE: Cairns is in far north Queensland, completely at the other end of Australia.] Who wants a pick? All right. That was for that guy there, give it to him. That guy, the guy with his hands in the air. You ready?"
Daniel: "That's Gouldie. He changes the microphones and masturbates frequently. That's his job occupation -- masturbator. He's a masturba-tour manager. Um, this song's about child abuse. Ready?"
Daniel: "Thanks. Uh, yeah, right, good. Very emotional. It's an emotional uplift. This is the time of the show where we all think about sexual organs. We don't do anything, we just think about it. So are you ready to rock or are you going to just sit there and sip orange juice? Well? Rock? Orange juice? All right, it's time for a vote. Who wants orange juice? [Crowd cheers.] Who wants to rock? [Crowd cheers louder.] All right, orange juice wins.
Daniel: "We haven't played this song in a while. I don't think we've played it in Melbourne but we might have, I can't remember. So this is for people who suck. All the people who suck. Suck, suck, suck. [starts Learn To Hate and quickly stops] Nope, that's fucked. I'll just wait for a guitar that's in tune, that's cool. Thanks, Bailey. Ah, sorry, we're very unprofessional. You can see KISS for half the price. [strums the second guitar] Ah, fuck. Bailey, this is fucked, dude. [strums again] All right, fuck it. You can handle out of tune because it's so... [strums again] No, Bailey, it's fucked. [Chris and Ben start a funky jam, then someone throws some food on stage.] The Bush Tucker Man wouldn't eat that shit. Oh man, who threw that? That tastes like crap! [someone throws a bra on stage and Daniel puts it around his chest] I don't know how a bra works. All I know is they hold boobs in position. So, yeah, I'll just tie it in a reef knot, which I learned at Scouts. I was in Scouts. Do you know in Scouts I was a seconder? Which is second to a sixer? I've always been second best, and that's what my problem is in life. I can never get to the motherfucking top!"
Daniel: "Bailey, this guitar's also out of tune. Now it's fuckin' stuck. It's here to haunt me forever. I should never have became a seconder and I'd be able to undo the knot. Sorry for our unprofessionalism, but that's just the way we are, so... we're unpro-fucking-fessional. [someone throws something else on stage] That's for Chris. All right. You feel bad when this happens. But that's the price to pay when you're so fucking punk."
Daniel: "Thanks. This is for Pete Walton, he runs our Internet site, so he's pretty goddam motherfuckin' smart. Also, we're playing at the Palace tomorrow night, if you wanna come. We're playing with Magic Dirt, again.
Freak Shows 1997 Tour
Saturday 13th December
Festival Hall, Melbourne
By MATT CAMERON
From midday, die-hard silverchair fans both male and female gathered eagerly to catch a glimpse of the Newcastle trio. After a long wait the band's Tarago arrived at 4:30. The "freaks" were hurried inside by security. This was enough to make the wait worthwhile. The crowd which had grown to approximately 50 people by this time, hung around the back entrance buzzing, full of excitement and anticipation of the show ahead. The mostly teenage crowd traded stories about the band with others, while listening to the 'chair soundcheck with a couple of favourites, Learn To Hate and Abuse Me.
At 6:30 the doors opened and the crowd slowly made their way in to hear Melbourne's up-and-coming Something For Kate. I was quite content to talk to fans waiting for Daniel and Chris to return from their dinner trip. Something For Kate took the stage just after 7:00 which I listened to from outside. When Something for Kate finished I made my way inside. I was lucky enough to go backstage and meet silverchair! All the guys were very approachable and easy to talk to when away from crowds of hysterical girls! I was able to have a chat with each of the guys about their respective instruments which was really cool! Not to mention the rest of the silverchair crew. Then the guys had to go and prepare for the show.
I caught the second half of Magic Dirt's set which included old favourites and new material from the soon-to-be-released album which was typical of the band -- thumping drum beats, distortion and plenty of ear wrenching feedback! The band put on a good performance which was well received by the crowd, shown by the size of the growing mosh pit. By the time the band left the stage the crowd were well and truly ready for the band they were there to see.
Within five minutes Magic Dirt's equipment was packed up and off stage, then the curtains came down revealing the traditional silverchair setup. Once all the roadies were off stage the hall went black and then sounds of explosions and lights flashing from all over the hall. With hysterical fans screaming at the top of their lungs, the 'chair took the stage with the pulsation of Chris' bass pumping out the introduction to Israel's Son, which then cleverly changed to Slave. The audience went wild.
Slave was followed up with another bass and drums assault, this time in the form of Roses. The band then dropped the tempo a bit and went into songs such as Abuse Me, Cemetery, Suicidal Dream, Tomorrow and Nobody Came before winding up again in the second half of the set with Learn To Hate, No Association, Spawn, Freak and then came the encore -- the full version of Israel's Son which Daniel kindly dedicated to the one only Mr. Chairpage, Pete Walton!
The final song came as a surprise for most with the band doing a version of the Freak remix, which worked really well! Daniel climbed all over the stage and acted like a complete maniac. Johns gave the crowd a demonstration of his ability to play the drums which was impressive.
Overall, the show was amazing, with the electricity generated between the band and the audience. Daniel's vocals were full and demonstrated a great range, while his guitar playing was excellent. Ben and Chris were unblemished in the rhythm section pounding out the band's haunting tunes. The 'chair gave a genuine performance full of energy and really got the crowd involved showing that there is plenty of skill and showmanship, putting on a spectacular performance. Well done guys!
silverchair's Rite Of Passage
By ANDREW TANNER
Addicted To Noise
MELBOURNE, Australia -- silverchair frontman Daniel Johns waited backstage listening to the gravelly strains of AC/DC singer Bon Scott blasting through the Festival Hall.
"Dirty deeds!" Scott screamed in his desperate, angry tones. While all of Johns' prepubescent fans may not have been familiar with the classic heavy-metal tune that inspired a generation, Johns certainly was. This is his kind of music. It's where he is coming from, he said.
"I think music's only good if it's threatening," the singer said.
With their most recent album, 1997's Freak Show, the group certainly incorporated some of the raw sounds they've grown up on. Raw rock was also in evidence at the Dec. 13 gig. But so was another side of the group. Cemetery, for instance, was performed by Johns alone, his thin, backlit profile and bleached-out face adding to the lonesome poignancy of lines such as "I may be late, always seem to get the wrong date."
But mostly, the group rocked. Their current Australian single, The Door, was a highlight, its sitar-like riff almost overwhelmed by drummer Ben Gillies' bludgeoning backbeat. Next in line, Learn To Hate turned into a ferocious, metal rave-up courtesy of Johns' psychotic mantra, "Take the time to learn to hate/ Come and join the mass debate."
To see the silverchair singer onstage these days is to get a glimpse of the public rites of passage the 18-year-old is undergoing. One moment he's mumbling a monologue relating to his born-loser status ("I was only a seconder at scouts. I mean, imagine that, I was even coming second in scouts, for Christ's sake!"). Then, before you know it, he's flipping plectrums into the crowd, or stopping to strap on a bra thrown from the mosh pit ("How do you put these things on? Don't know much about them -- I know they're supposed to hold your boobs up!").
There was a time, back in 1994, just as the band emerged as highly touted winners of a music show's talent quest, when it seemed they were in danger of polarizing nearly everyone in their future demographic.
How would pre-teen girls attracted by singer Johns' blue-eyed, blond good- looks deal with the bone-crushing riffery of their songs? How seriously would Gen Xers take a band who was likely to fill a hall with at least as many of the aforementioned girls as alienated grunge-puppies? And what were hard-rock aficionados to make of three, scrawny school kids who professed a deep appreciation of Black Sabbath and Led Zeppelin in their stumbling, monosyllabic interviews?
Those questions are now consigned to the cut-price bins of music history. The band's recent performance at Festival Hall -- two-thirds of the way through the Newcastle trio's first full-fledged national tour -- was a tour de force of hard and heavy rock songs, delivered with enough panache to keep everyone happy. It was a clear statement by a group of young men who have decided to take their music to the next level.
Recent high school graduates, Johns, Gillies (sporting an impressive three-inch mohawk) and bassist Chris Joannou display a friendly, somewhat guarded attitude. "We were the first to admit to being derivative," Johns said before the show. "I mean, we did sound like all that Seattle stuff at the time. It was what we were listening to, what we liked -- and we didn't give a fuck. I think we've found our own sound now -- people can hear it and know it's us!"
Even older material such as Israel's Son and Pure Massacre (from the band's 1994 debut album, frogstomp) seem fresher and more urgent when performed live these days, propelled along by Joannou's edgy, growling bass lines. Johns, who only a year ago was the most diffident of frontmen, now prowls the stage with growing confidence, his long blond hair fashioned into a mane of spiky dreadlocks, looking sort of like a younger, leaner Johnny Lydon. The resemblance was even more marked when the singer spat out a few Lydon-esque snarls during No Association.
Johns confided his frustration at those critics who refuse to accept that such dark emotions could ring true for one so young: "The people who say stuff like that are just dumb, old fucks who can't remember what it's like to be young," said Johns. "Just because you're a teenager doesn't mean you don't have those emotions. Those people are just jaded, silly old cocks!"
It would be wrong to glibly dismiss Freak Show -- both the album and the tour -- as a band of talented teens playing with academic notions of alienation or disenfranchisement. To whatever extent they're able, silverchair are writing from their own lives -- and the band, especially Johns, is well aware of the subversive power of rock 'n' roll. "Music's fucked if it's about things that are easy to listen to and easy to contemplate," he said. "I like writing about things that are socially incorrect, that people don't want to hear about, that you might get in trouble for."
And apparently so does his audience.
For a show-closer at silverchair's recent gig, a thumping version of Freak saw virtually the entire hall erupt into a singalong. If the song lyric expresses a personal angst, the sight and sound of 3,500 yelling "body and soul, I'm a freak" transformed it into something perversely communal.
Something not unlike AC/DC's Dirty Deeds.
SILVERCHAIR/MAGIC DIRT/SOMETHING FOR KATE
By WILLIAM BOWE, Beat Magazine
You don't have to spend much time guessing about the sort of audience silverchair at the Festival Hall might attract, and sure enough, the crowd appeared to fall exclusively into three categories -- under-18's, parents and me. The youngsters were a well-behaved bunch, though, offering few open displays of the knife fighting and paint sniffing that I had been led to expect from reading the Herald Sun too often.
They were certainly polite enough to the support bands, neither of whom leap to mind as obvious favourites for this age bracket. Then again, both rock hard enough to give those down the front something to thrash their heads to, even if some of the subtleties would have gone over them. Magic Dirt in particular earned their keep, alternating sultry moodiness and ballistic caterwauling in perfectly even measures.
But there was little mistaking who they had come to see and, for all their "we only hope the album does well on the alternative chart" self-effacement, the 'chair went to impressive lengths to put on a show. They arrived on stage to a rave's worth of whizzy noises and flashing lights, and got down to business by giving it an impressively meaty shellacking with Slave and Roses before filling out the sound nicely with a guest guitarist on Abuse Me. That song inspired the first crowd singalong of the evening, and it was hard not to be impressed by the energy level they generated on the choruses.
So far, so good, which was as I had hoped -- I had always been the first to jump to the defence of the 'chair from the barbs they inevitably suffer from those who find picking nits about their silly lyrics and obvious influences cooler than admiring their remarkable talent. But just as they are becoming mature enough to deliver music that can stand up to greater scrutiny, so they are deserving of less benefit of the doubt than before. And the show did start dragging its heels a bit at around this point. For the most part, the problem was song selection -- Pure Massacre and Suicidal Dream are painfully callow efforts of a type that they should be looking back on with embarrasment by now, and Daniel's solo spot of Cemetery dragged its heels, with the missing string section doing the song no favours at all.
The flat spots made his occasional displays of petulance all the harder to bear. I'm aware that good manners aren't the attitude is part of the package, but Johns' sour demeanor, finger gestures to the audience and temper tandrum about out-of-tune guitars took wilful unprofessionalism a bit too far.
Still, it's possible to forgive them a good deal when they're on form, as they unmistakeably were on Tomorrow and The Door. And when they encored with the big surprise of the evening, the remix version of Freak, we had a vivid reminder of what all the fuss was about. Still firing on however many cylinders people this age have, the newly mohawked Ben Gillies and Chris Joannou attacked their instruments like complete maniacs while Daniel Johns went fully into Linda Blair mode as a backing tape did the rest of the work.
It was certainly enough to get them across the line on points, but silverchair are capable of giving you a much harder time of getting off the canvas. Next time, maybe.
Our day began at around 2 p.m., my best friend, Bec, and I were to meet Pete Walton (before the silverchair gig) at Rydges Hotel in Melbourne. The meeting went fine, despite being treated like DIRT by the staff at the hotel, who thought we were just teenyboppers dying to catch a glimpse of that fabulous trio from Newcastle known as silverchair.
After meeting Pete, we went up to the hotel room where we stayed for about five minutes, before returning to the hotel lobby. Whilst in the lobby, John Watson ("the cool one") walked in and he and Pete started talking. Bec and I just stood there.
All of a sudden, Pete looked behind me and says "Hi, Chris!" I turn around, and who else but Chris Joannou is standing about one metre away from me. He smiled and said hi, and I somehow managed to stammer, "Hi, how are ya?" to which he replied, "Good, thanks." He then came and stood beside me. I was totally dumbfounded; it was over too quick. We made small talk about... the weather (can you believe that?) I didn't even ask him for a photo, which was rather silly of me. On parting, I looked at Chris and said, "Make sure you give us a good gig tonight," and he grinned and said, "Yeah, we will." Well, that made my day! Now on to the actual concert.
The doors opened at around 6:30 p.m. The first band to play was a local Melbourne band called Something For Kate. Their set was awesome, they really rocked and their mosh was REALLY intense. They definitely warmed the crowd up. They played for about half a hour. Next up was Geelong's Magic Dirt. Magic Dirt are a band you either love or hate. I would fall under the second category. I have seen them live once before, and thought they were bad then. Now I KNOW they are bad. They really weren't very good at all, but I suppose I should give them some credit, and I will say their drummer is pretty good, and also, they were being very thoughtful and asking the venue staff to get the "moshers" some water because they were all hot. Following Magic Dirt's rather disappointing performance was silverchair. After a HUGE wait, the stage lit up and the crowd went wild. The sound of machine guns (I think) and other things were going off, and then silverchair appeared.
On stage, the guys have started becoming really active -- they really get in to their music now, whereas last year when I saw them, they just stood on stage and didn't really do much at all. Also, Daniel talks to the crowd a lot more than he used to; this just shows how much more comfortable the guys have become with performing live to such a huge audience. Daniel constantly prompted the crowd to "Jump!" and they all did, too. And more times than not, you could just hear the whole crowd singing along with Daniel, over all of the noise and everything. I have never before seen the whole floor of Festival Hall moshing before this gig, either, and the song where the floor/pit went the craziest was probably The Door.
Cemetery was definitely the "lighter" song. A whole stack of people pulled out their lighters during this song, and just swayed them in the air with the music. Before The Door was played, Daniel was on stage saying, "OK, those who wanna sit there and sip orange juice, you should get up and rock. What do you wanna do? Sip orange juice or rock? OK, let's vote on it -- those who want to sip orange juice say aye!" About a quarter of the crowd yelled "Aye!" Daniel then said, "And those who want to rock, say aye!" and EVERYONE said "Aye!"
silverchair dedicated Learn To Hate "to all of those people who SUCK!" Daniel said "suck" about five times. He started to play, but his guitar was out of tune so he started saying, "That's Bailey's fault... nah, it'll be ok, nah, nah, Bailey, this is fucked. It's fucked!" Then "Nah, you people can just have it out of tune." He again started to play then said, "Nah, Bailey, this is fucked." This was the BEST version of Learn To Hate I have EVER heard.
The lyric from No Association which goes like this -- "Wish I could be like you / you say you care, but do you?" was changed to "Wish I could fuck like you / you say you care, well, fuck you!" which was pretty cool. During one of the songs, Daniel wore a bra around his waist. He said he tied it with a knot he learned in Scouts. He said in Scouts he was a seconder, which was second to a sixer, whatever that means. He also said that was second best, he is always second best, and that he never gets to "the motherfucking top!" Daniel told the crowd that we rock harder than any other place in Victoria, ever, easily. He also said that they have only ever played one other place in Victoria before, and that was Cairns! [EDITOR'S NOTE: See above editor's note!] They did play in Torquay earlier in the year though, so I don't know what he was talking about.
Near the end of the show, before silverchair played Israel's Son, they dedicated it to Pete Walton. Pete specifically asked me NOT to include "that stupid guy they dedicated that song to" in my report. Well, sorry Pete, but I just had to!
The gig ended after silverchair's Freak remix which was really awesome, with Daniel climbing all over the stage, yelling into the mic. It was a really great show, much better than last year's. Best of luck to the guys, I hope they have a good break over the next few months, they've earned it!
Whoa! As far as I'm concerned, it can't get any better than what I saw last night! My friend and I arrived at Festival Hall right at 6:30 and it only took us 30 minutes to get in. By the time Something For Kate started playing, a mosh pit had already erupted and the crowd was really enthusiastic throughout all of Something For Kate's performance. They were a great band and did not disappoint anyone. Then Magic Dirt came on, and the mosh pit shrank and most of the crowd just stood and watched. I decided to go and stock up on merchandise and ended up buying two of their Summer Freak Show Tour shirts, one of the silverchair jerseys and the tour book. Anyway, Magic Dirt weren't as good as I thought they would be, and at one point the lead singer told everyone that it sucked because we weren't into it more. Oh, well -- we just wanted silverchair!
Finally at about 9:00, the lights dimmed and there was a really cool sound and light intro and then the guys came on stage. I seriously had to plug my ears because of the massive amounts of screams. After all the teenies calmed down and the first riffs of Slave (with the Israel's Son intro) were played, everyone formed one big mosh pit pit and went mental.
Just some of the highlights of the show: in Slave Daniel would wave his middle finger around at the crowd and the crowd would copy. At one point someone threw a bra at the stage and Daniel picked it up and put it on for a little while which I thought was really funny! Also, at the beginning of Spawn Daniel's guitar was stuffed, so he was apologizing for being "unprofessional." I think everyone was amazed when they pulled out the drums for the techno Freak remix and Ben started jamming on them. I went and sat on a tall rail and could see everything that was happening on the stage. Ben looked like he was having fun, and Daniel gave the word "freak" a whole new meaning.
During the remix, Daniel climbed on to the right of the stage on top of blocks and was moaning and groaning into the mic and at one point was shaking his hips -- it was hilarious!! Then he moved to the left side of the stage and once again climbed the blocks. Then everyone cheered when Daniel started playing Ben's drums, and no one wanted to leave when they finished. Everyone cheered and chanted, "We want more! We want more!" even after silverchair had left for good.
From a personal view, I had a great time in the mosh pit except for the fact that I'm so short and couldn't see the stage. So, I crowdsurfed about 10 times so that I could actually see them and they probably could see me. I ended up getting thrown over the rails so many times and the security guards had to escort me out. I'd have to push my way back through the crowd to get back to the middle of the mosh pit each time which sucked. People were crowdsurfing right and left! It was great because the whole mosh pit was mostly made up of huge, sweaty guys and it was really easy for them to throw me in the air because I was so little compared to everyone else.
Overall, I'd have to say last night was probably the best concert I have been to and will ever go to. Daniel, Ben, and Chris are very talented musicians and performers. They knew just how to get the crowd into it and involved. I have no doubt that their next album will be a success and I will definitely be at their next concert in Melbourne. All I can say is that it's not going to get any better than that!
Editor, Krush! magazine
On Saturday, the 13th of December, I went to see silverchair live in concert at Festival Hall. I have to say- IT ABSOLUTELY ROCKED! Of the bands I've seen live, and the bands I’ve seen on TV, these guys just kick their asses and leave 'em for dead. They are just so spontaneous, so amazing and most of all, so moshable!
We arrive at around 7 p.m. From the outside, Festival Hall doesn't look like much. A big building, painted brightly with not many windows but heaps of doors. People ranging from five to adult gathered around in groups outside. Security guards and those people who check your tickets standing at the gates, ready to make sure you were able to enter. More people to check your bags for drugs, alcohol, or cigarettes and make you chuck out bottles of water which are prohibited from the venue. The people are all wearing bright yellow coats. They stand at the door looking bored until someone comes along. They check our tickets, bags and pockets before telling us to move on.
Once inside, our eyes have to become accustomed to the darkness. Loud music plays from the stage, people are walking here and there looking for their seats. Those already seated chat with their friends, check their watches and cast an occasional glance towards the stage where the local band Something For Kate are playing. They are extremely good, but everyone is waiting for silverchair.
To each side of the stage they are selling merchandise. T-shirts and sweaters all bearing the name silverchair hang high above the counter. Next to this they are selling drinks for $2.00 per cup.
We find out seats and meet up with some friends who had been there since 6:30 p.m. From our seats which (from our view) were just in front and to the left of the stage we had an excellent view. According to where they normally stand, we would have the perfect view of Daniel, a really good view of Chris and be able to catch glimpses of Ben through his drum kit. Well, when they came out that is. From the inside, Festival Hall is a good size. Big enough to house hordes of people but small and intimate enough to feel like you were actually there. The moshpit is directly in front of the stage (as they are) and there are rows of seats on either side. Overhanging the moshpit there is a balcony which is also filled with rows of seats. The drummer from Something For Kate bangs the hell out of his drum kits. The singer throws a word in here and there between songs, but they rarely communicate with the audience. They don't need to -- the moshers are already getting into it while others stand around the sides. The se ats are filling up gradually.
Eventually Something For Kate finishes up. "Don't hyperventilate before silverchair come on," they warn and they leave the stage. The audience cheers them half-heartedly. We all love them, but tonight silverchair is the only band that matters. They play music while they set up the stage for the other support act, Magic Dirt.
When Magic Dirt comes on they deliver their performance with a fresh burst of energy. This time the female lead singer, Adalita, talks a lot to the audience. "Who wants some water?" she asks the moshers before throwing a bottle of water into the pit. Hopefully someone caught it and no-one was knocked down by the flying missile.
People are getting hotter, thirstier and more restless. They often get up to go to look at the merchandise, those with money purchasing with great enthusiasm while those with no money gaze wistfully at the slogans emblazoned across the front of their friends’ new article of clothing. The people at the drinks stand are collecting money, pouring, giving change at double the speed of the McDonald’s crew.
Up on the stage they are playing to the best of their ability, the lead singer making dry jokes while the bassist bends over his instrument, drummer killing those drum skins. In the moshpit the audience sometimes mosh, sometimes just stand around. They, too, are waiting for the featured band.
Just before Magic Dirt finish off their set the lead singer jumps into the mosh and crowdsurfs for a while.
When Magic Dirt finish up at around 9 p.m., the legendary Led Zeppelin song Whole Lotta Love blares out over the speakers. The stage darkens, light is cast over the audience who are waiting in eager anticipation to catch the first glance of Daniel, Ben and Chris.
We watch the stage being set up, different instruments being brought on. It takes about 40 minutes, but it seems like years. When the audience lights finally go down, everyone knows it’s time. There are sound effects and lighting effects to make the guys’ entry.
Everyone stands up and yells like crazy when they see three figures moving onto the flashing stage. No-one can see them properly yet, the lights are flashing so much it could make a person blind. The lights stop flashing to reveal silverchair standing where we had presumed they would stand. Daniel with his guitar, Chris with his bass and Ben behind the drum kit. They say nothing; they need no introduction. A spot light focuses on Chris while we hear him bang out a few riffs from Israel's Son to get everyone in the mood before the light switches to Daniel -- they launch seamlessly into Slave.
The intro chords boom out of the amps. The impressive lighting (which is sequenced for most songs) changes colour and patterns are cast here and there; sliding from the stage to the audience to the roof and back to the stage. The lights flash along with the beat changing colour from red to pink to green to blue and everything in between. Ben bangs away at his drum kit like there’s no tomorrow, arm muscles flexing and sweat glistening on his body. Chris bends over his bass and rocks backwards and forwards on each foot, headbanging to the beat, bass so low it nearly scrapes the stage floor. Daniel stands at his mike, crooning the words he’s sung so often before, strumming his guitar. Whenever he does not have to sing or play he launches full on into back breaking thrash moves. His blonde dreadlocks fly out in all directions from his head, reflecting the light that is flashing on, and off, and on, and off.
Slave finishes and Ben’s heavy drumbeats indicates the next song is Roses. The live version of Roses sounds pretty much the same as the recorded version, except a whole lot more loud, heavy and forceful.
After Roses Daniel introduces Abuse Me. "Thank you." he starts. "When you're a bearded lady everything is fine. That's what we've come to realise through the next guitarist. Her name is... Jackie Love, and she's in love, and she has a goatee, because she's bearded. She's a freak."Abuse Me is very familiar and rather slow, so the mosh mainly stands still. Daniel senses this and yells at them. “Every motherfucker jump” he prompts the mosh, and not surprisingly, they all comply and jump hard when the song gets to the ‘throw the sailors overboard’ bit.
They go on to play Pure Massacre, and this proves to be a popular one with the audience. This song, well matured since its early days, goes totally off as soon as Daniel yells “motherfucking jump!” Daniel practices what he preaches, jumping up and down with his guitar still slung over his skinny shoulders. The light reflects off the shiny instrument.
"Thank you. Thank you very much, Melbourne. You guys rock harder than every other place that we've travelled, easily." Of course, this sends a whole lot of teenybopper young girls into a tirade of screaming.
"We've only played one other place in Victoria," he continues. "And that was... Cairns. Cairns was also the other Victorian rock city." (Cairns is NOT in Victoria, in fact it is on the other side of Australia! Guess who wasn't paying attention during geography class?!) "Who wants a pick?" asks Daniel after this. "All right," he says after a response and he throws a few guitar picks into the mosh. A short pause and he directs the people on the floor to give it to some person. “That was for that guy there. Give it to him.” He says. Pause. “That guy, the one with his hands in the air.” Pause.
That dispute resolved, Daniel goes on. "You ready?" he asks while Ben and Chris leave the stage and a spotlight is focused at the centre of the front of the stage. Daniel walks slowly to the middle of the stage, clutching his guitar, and we know that the next song has to be Cemetery. The crowd falls silent. It is an unwritten law for audiences to be quiet during this song, it is different, and very special. Even teenybopper fans seem to realize this.
He starts to sing. His solitary figure in the middle of the lonely stage seems surreally small. Daniel sings Cemetery which such a passion and sincerity it is almost hard to describe. His voice strains to the soft strumming of the guitar, and during the short periods where he only has to play he backs away from the mike.
A couple of people in the area to the right of the stage pull out their cigarette lighters and wave them in the air. A few seconds later more people do the same. People in the balcony notice and they, too, pull out their lighters. It catches on, with people in our section taking out their lighters and swaying them to the song. We look around; the darkened audience is lit up in places by tiny spots of light waving to and fro. It is a very moving salute to the young man standing on the stage. It demonstrates how much we respect and honour him. Cemetery was definitely the lighter song.
Once the final chords of Cemetery echo throughout the dark, silent building it takes everyone a second or two to recover. Ben and Chris rejoin Daniel on the stage and the leading man takes up his original position. Just a second into the song Suicidal Dream and the teenybopper fans are at it (screaming) again.
Next on the set list is Tomorrow, although the guys have expressed many times before their dislike for this song. They are obviously sick of playing it… Daniel, trying to make the song more interesting for himself, toys around with the words.
“You say that money, isn’t everything…” he sings. “But I’d like to see you live on dog shit…”
“You think you can keep on going living like a slut…” The audience breaks into a fit of giggles at his dry humour. (**Note: Some people think it was shlong, or swan, or slob. I personally think it was slut.) “Ooh babe but I strongly doubt it.”
After Tomorrow a guy comes out to change the mike (for what reason is beyond me). "That's Gouldie," explains Daniel matter-of-factly. "He changes the microphones and masturbates frequently. That's his job occupation, masturbator. He's a masturba-tour manager. Umm, this song's about child abuse. Ready?" Nobody Came was the song, the haunting melodies floating across to us. Long, drawn out, distorted notes reached us over the screams of the girls.
After Nobody Came Daniel thanks the audience and blabbers on about it being emotional. "It's an emotional uplift. This is the time of the show where we all think about sexual organs." The girls scream. "We don't do anything, we just think about it." Daniel chuckles to himelf. When the screams die down, it is clear that he is getting pissed off with those in the audience who aren't getting into it. "So are you ready to rock or are you going to just sit there and sip orange juice?" He waits for response. "Well? Rock? Orange juice? All right, it's time for a vote. Who wants... orange juice?" The smart asses in the audience all yell. "Who wants to ROCK?!" The crowd goes wild at this point.
"Orange juice wins!" Daniel jokes and the guys launch straight into the much loved The Door. Everyone gets right into this. After you hear The Door live the recorded version is never quite up to scratch. The live version of this song is absolutely amazing and the mosh gets really pumped.
"We haven't played this song in a while." Daniel announces. "I don't think we've played it in Melbourne but we might have, I can't remember. So this is for people who suck.. All the people who suck.. Suck, suck, suck!" They proceed to play Learn To Hate. They play the first few chords of the song and don’t get any further before Daniel stops and looks at his guitar.
“Nope, this is fucked.” He says to the rather confused audience. “I'll just wait for a guitar that's in tune, that's cool.” A roadie hands him a new guitar. "Thanks, Bailey." he acknowledges the roadie. "Ah, sorry, we're very unprofessional. You can see KISS for half the price." He plays another chord on the new guitar before stopping again. “Ah, fuck Bailey, this is fucked, dude.” He directs his last short outburst towards a guy backstage and there is a pause while he receives a response. He contemplates the situation for a few seconds before strumming the guitar again and turning to the audience.
“All right, fuck it. You can handle out of tune because it's so...” He announces. The whole band starts to play. They barely get past the first riff before Daniel stops again. He looks towards the guy backstage again. “No, Bailey, it's fucked.” He continues on, explaining to the audience that he was going to go offstage for a little while and that Ben and Chris would be doing their own thing while he was gone. He walks offstage to get a new guitar and Ben and Chris start to play an impromptu song on their own. Ben lays down heavy drumbeats while Chris plays improvised notes. They go on jamming even when Daniel returns to the stage. Daniel walks around with his lead, getting everything together and setting up the new guitar before he takes up his proper position again. Ben and Chris cease ad libbing. Some one had thrown some food onto the stage. Daniel sees this as an oppurtunity to exercise his sense of humour.
"The Bush Tucker Man wouldn't eat that shit. Oh man, who threw that? That tastes like crap!"
Another object sails onto the stage, thrown by someone in the mosh. It lands just beside Daniel's mike.
He picks it up. It is some lustful teenybopper's bra. "I don't know how a bra works." He tells us. "All I know is they hold boobs in position." The audience breaks into laughter. He ties it around his chest. “So, yeah I’ll tie it in a reef knot, which I learnt at scouts” He informs us. “I was in scouts. Do you know in scouts I was a seconder? Which is second from a 6er. I've always been second best, and that's what my problem is in life.” His voice grows louder. “I can never get to the motherfucking TOP!!"
No one stops to remind Daniel that Tomorrow stayed at Number 1 on the ARIA charts for six weeks. Oh, well.
They all start to play Learn To Hate. Daniel’s short break offstage before this song proved highly beneficial, as most of the times when he sings Learn To Hate his voice cracks during the verse due to the chorus in which he has to yell. Tonight this doesn’t seem to be a problem, and it is a near-perfect performance of the song. The only flaw is when Daniel forgets the second verse, only to realize later in the song when he manages to cram in the forgotten verse. He also repeats himself in a couple of lines. Nobody minds, the song rocks anyway.
"Bailey, this guitar's also out of tune. Now it's fuckin' stuck. It's here to haunt me forever." sighs Daniel after Learn To Hate. "I should never have became a seconder and I'd be able to undo the knot." He pulls the bra off from around his chest and throws it to one side. "Sorry for our unprofessionalism, but that's just the way we are, so... we're unpro-fucking-fessional!" Something else gets thrown up onstage. "That's for Chris. All right. You feel bad when this happens. But that's the price to pay when you're so fucking punk." He says before embarking on No Association.
No Association is a popular song… And once again Daniel messes around with the words. “Wish I could, fuck like you.” He drones. “You seem to care, well fuck you!!” No Association ends with heaviness.
The next song they play is Spawn. The crowd loves this song, though I suspect many do not recognise it (it is a lot heavier live than it is recorded as the recorded version was remixed by British techno outfit Vitro).
When Spawn ends the 12 heaters from the Freak video light up. They had been arranged around the stage and remained dormant until the familiar beginning riff of Freak hit us. This is, by far, the song that has the most audience interaction for the whole night. The mosh becomes really intense, and the rest of the seated (not any more!) audience gets right into it, standing up, cheering, and singing along. The guys stop playing at one point and they let the audience (who are singing louder than Daniel himself) take over. Daniel signs according to the words. “BODY AND SOUL, I’M A FREAK, I’M A FREAK” sings the audience. They resume playing for the instrumental part.
The last note of Freak lingers for awhile, hanging over us as the three guys walk casually offstage. The stage lights go down, but as the house lights are still dimmed we know that the concert hasn’t ended. According to Head researcher, Bianca, the guys walked offstage at this point to ‘pack all their shit up so they could leave straight away.’ The crowd waits patiently, waves of murmurs wash around us. Occasionally someone starts up a chant of ‘We want more! We want more!’ or ‘silverchair! silverchair! silverchair!’ After a wait of what seemed like hours, the lights go up again and silverchair reappear on the stage. They slide behind their instruments and begin to play.
The quiet beginning bass riff from Israel’s Son creep towards us over the screaming and cheering. (I personally think this is the best song on Frogstomp).. Daniel’s voice drones into the microphone. The song goes on and the audience loves it, they sing along. “I AM I AM ISRAEL’S SON” yells Daniel into his mike. “ISRAEL’S SON I AM!” “PUT YOUR HANDS IN THE AIR! PUT YOUR HANDS IN THE AIR!” The most amazing thing happens at this moment. Daniel sticks both arms straight up (my friend who was in the mosh and right in front of Daniel says he looks like a Zombie when he does this) for about two seconds.. And so does literally everyone in the audience. They do exactly what he says in the song… “I AM I AM ISRAEL’S SON! ISRAEL’S SON I AM! PUT YOUR HANDS IN THE AIR! PUT YOU HANDS IN THE AIR!” In the moshpit the sea of heads turns into a sea of hands. Thousands of people, kids and adults alike, all with their arms raised as high as they can in the air above their heads, all with eyes on the blonde guy on the stage. When the song draws nearer to the end, Daniel starts to growl the last part of Israel's Son instead of singing it. "Put your fucking hands in the aaaiiiiirrrrr." He didn't need to remind us. Everyone already had their 'fucking' hands in the air. That amazing song over, the stage workies come out onstage carrying Ben’s (electronic) drum kit and tom toms- much to the confusion of the intrigued audience. They place it in front of his normal drum kit, centre stage. Ben steps down from his normal drum kit and sits behind these drums. Chris stays where he is. Daniel puts down his guitar and, well, he goes mental. They start to play, those who are better acquainted with this remix will know it as Remix for us Rejects.
With a backing tape doing most of the work, Daniel is freed from the heavy guitar which is usually hanging down from his shoulders. He is everywhere, one moment next to Chris, next moment running around Ben, next moment down the front of the stage. He moans and groans into the mike which he has released from the clamp, spit running down his chin, distorting his voice and twisting it until he sounds like some kind of mutant having his nails pulled out. The only time he ever sings normally is during the chorus. The crowd, too, gets hyped up and starts going a bit wacko. “Freeeeeeeaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaakkkkkkkkk” he groans.
He is tripping and jerking all over the stage in a maniacal manner. It is amazing.
“Body and soul, I’m a freak, I’m a freak!!” he sings before he picks up a pair of Ben’s drum sticks and starts to bash away at one of the drums. Everyone cheers- they watch Daniel’s body lurch as he plunges his whole bodyweight forward to bash the drums, his head bent with strong determination and his arms raising high above his head before crashing down with sheer force on the cymbal. He does this for about a minute, Chris watching amused as his friend goes spack onstage. Eventually he drops the drum sticks and races off in another direction to see what else the stage left for him to do. He parades to the PA system on the right (from our view) of the stage, still clutching the mike. He drags himself up on top of the speaker stack, when he is finally up there he stands up and starts to sing (not sing, groan) again. He moans and shakes his hips, sending the girls crazy. That Daniel, he really knows how to stir the crowd up! He doesn’t stay there for long. Soon he jumps off the stack and races to the other side of the stage, pulls himself up on top of the PA system again. He kneels and lets a glob of spit out of his mouth, groans, stands up and groans again. He points to the audience as he sings in his distorted voice. Ben and Chris are still going berko on their instruments, but all the attention at the moment is focused on Daniel. He jumps up and down on the speakers, kneels and reaches towards the audience, stands up and raises his arms above his head, stomps around and groans.
“Frrrrreeeeaaaakkkkkkkkkk!” Two people manage to clamber onto the stage. Security catches them before they get too far and chucks them out of the venue. Daniel jumps off the speaker stack, again, and once again goes on to run around the stage while moaning into his mike. Eventually he stops to stand still momentarily before he is off again. He throws himself on the stage floor and rolls and wriths around for a few seconds before jumping up again. “Body and soul, I’m a freak, I’m a freak” he yells at the audience. “Body and soul, SUCK MY DICK, SUCK MY DICK!!!!” The crowd cheered him on as he went on. “Frrrrreeeaaaaaaakkkkkk!” The song finishes off (to our disappointment) and the guys, all sweaty, leave the stage. For good this time, as indicated by the house light going up and the stage lights dimming. Even after people realize in shock horror that the concert was finally over (it seemed to fly past) they still chant for silverchair to return. “We want more! We want more! We want more!” Everyone stomps their feet on the ground. Everyone is still real psyched.
The chants start to die away and the audience merge into one big mass pushing their way out of the doors. Outside, traffic comes to a standstill as the swarms of concert go-ers spill out onto the roads, blocking cars from going and risking becoming victims of road rage. The fresh air and dark blanket of the night brings the reality that it is finally over.
All in all, I’d say that the concert was the best I’ve ever seen. I hadn’t been to a silverchair gig before, but I had seen them on video, and they definitely bettered my expectations of their live shows. They have shown us that their touring experiences in the States have improved their show so much!
Ben, as he always has, attacked his drum kit with an enthusiasm unsurpassed by any other live band I’ve seen. I really am in awe of Ben, throughout the 15 song set of about an hour and twenty minutes he never lost the rhythm once. He just kept on pounding out those LOUD, HARD, and HEAVY drumbeats. He had sweat glistening on his body, but he still gave it his all and pounded as hard as he could on that drum kit. (Quick fact: Ben breaks an average of 16-18 drum sticks per gig!) He, Daniel and Chris are in perfect time with each other. Amazing! Ben didn’t bash up his drums or ram his head through the kick drum skin like he usually does- which was a bit disappointing. It would have probably ruined his new, three inch high, mohawk.
They really have developed as performers. Back when they started out Daniel would just stand at his mike, strumming his guitar, his eyes darting to and fro scanning the audience with a certain degree of uneasiness. Chris would stand there too, stock still, long hair covering his face as he bent his head over in concentration. Now, Daniel talks to the audience, making dry, and often really weird jokes throughout their set. Chris jerks to the beat all of the time and often there are small expressions he makes towards Daniel that go unnoticed by most of the audience. Sometimes he laughs at Daniel’s jokes or gives Daniel Looks (once Daniel made a joke that Daniel, Chris and Ben had sex amongst each other and Chris threw a sideward glance at him that simply meant Don’t). It’s nice to see how much these guys have grown in confidence, and you can tell that they have fun, still, onstage. It’s hard to believe that the scared-looking blonde kid we saw two years ago has developed into a young man who has no hesitation in lying on top of a speaker stack, one leg hanging down, making orgasm noises (yes, believe it or not, he did that at another gig)…
They really have their own thing going on up there, and I think all of the critics that say they are clones of Pearl Jam or whatever can now be deemed out of date. silverchair have got their own sound happening, and it ROCKS!