Academy - New York, USA

Details, December 1995

The audience looks like the cast of Larry Clark's Kids. Onstage, moving briskly through their noisiest songs, silverchair display more swagger than they do in person. They slow Israel's Son down to a near halt just to get the added emphasis when they kick-start it again. It's hokey, but the audience cheers enthusiastically. Daniel announces a new song; it has a pummeling rhythmic intensity that feels vaguely familiar. It sounds a lot like Helmet.

For the finale, Daniel throws the mike stand down a few times. Ben emerges from behind the drum kit and dives headfirst into the bass drum. He looks like a cat hopping into a Kleenex box, and I realize that this is what happens when sixteen-year-old kids are the new rock animals. They just do on stage what other kids do in their bedrooms: pretend they're in a rock band. Part of rock's appeal is that it affords people the chance to watch someone a little angrier and more charismatic than themselves spewing out their own frustration. Here, watching the workmanlike antics of silverchair, the audience seems to be staring at itself.