Roxy - Atlanta, USA
Leave Me Out/In the Meantime
By CHRIS BLACKBURN
Photos courtesy of Virtual Atlanta
99x (WNNX-FM Atlanta) had the exclusive -- silverchair were going to play for the first time in the United States here in Atlanta... for free, no less. The announcement was made: Freeloaders' show at the Roxy featuring silverchair and rusty. That basically meant that anyone holding a 99x Freeloaders card could get into the show for free. Sounds good, right? Just wait.
I arrived at the Roxy at 5:45 p.m., assuming that with doors opening at 7:00 p.m., I'd be one of the first in line. Unfortunately, about 600 or more decided the same thing. By 6:45, there were more than 2000 people waiting in line, sprawling up and down the narrow streets surrounding the area. The Roxy only holds 1000, however, so a few of these people would be waiting outside for a while.
What seemed so astonishing was that this band's debut CD, frogstomp, had only been available for less than a week. Two thousand people showed up to hear a band on the strength of one song, Tomorrow, that had barely been played for a month. Maybe everyone was there simply so they could have bragging rights on seeing them first. Either way, I was completely unprepared for what was to happen inside the Roxy.
The crowd served as perhaps the most entertaining element of the concert to this point. rusty had gotten them started, and they apparently didn't want to stop simply because the music was over. People crowd-surfed throughout the intermission. One young boy got to take part in a human trampoline of sorts. They just kept throwing him higher and higher.
The entire 99x DJ staff collected on stage, with Barnes (99x's morning guy) yelling out, "First time in the States... this is silverchair!" Following his cry, out came the first bellowing moments of Madman. The mosh pit kicked in almost immediately. What ensued was a 50-minute barrage of metallish grunge. The crowd remained active throughout the set. People were even jumping off of the ledge on the bottom of the balcony! No need to waste energy on a sing-along; who knew the words but the guys onstage?
The loudest cheers came during the opening notes of Tomorrow. Here was the one song that the crowd knew. After the song ended, though, many felt like they'd seen what they came to see. I heard one girl say, "All right, I'm ready to go!" Too bad. Even after that portion of the crowd had left, the show kept its intensity. They even threw in a few bars of Helmet's In the Meantime for good measure. silverchair played two new songs during the set, including No Association.
I have to admit I was taken completely off guard by the band's young age. I'd heard the interview that afternoon on 99x, where the band joked and prodded each other, as well as commenting that their first experience in the States was a trip to Magic Mountain in Los Angeles. Therefore, I knew they were young. It just didn't hit me until I actually saw them play. When I was in high school I saw many a fledgling band of sixteen-year-olds. None of them could stand up to how silverchair performed on this night.
That was what was so amazing about the show. The band had every right to be completely nervous and have an off night. Before tonight, they'd played to huge crowds in Australia, all familiar with their music. Here in Atlanta, though, that definitely wasn't the case. However, they took it completely in stride, putting on a show that was truly amazing. Daniel Johns wasn't much for words during the show, but the strength of their performance made up for it.
I was admittedly skeptical going into the show that I would really enjoy this concert. I'd been to many different "free" shows where the bands purely stank. This one was different. Most of the crowd stayed until the very end.
I definitely got my money's worth. Whatever that means.