'Powderchair' rocks Brisbane

By Scott Casey (Brisbane Times)


Anyone who doubts these two iconic bands have the power to get Australia behind reconciliation was not at last night's Across the Great Divide Concert.

Silverchair and Powderfinger gave it all they had in only the second concert of the tour, after the first show performed in Silverchair's home town of  Newcastle.

Silverchair's music was an eclectic mix with songs from their second release Freakshow, splashes of Diorama and then new tracks, which all worked together to chart their progression from garage rock band to alternative rock icons.

The Door was a classic "early days" song performed with absolute perfection, showing that despite the snappy look of the band with their mellower sound and "modern" album design, they still have those dirty grungy boys inside them.

The only difficulties were that frontman Daniel Johns must have really pushed it in Newcastle, as his voice seemed a little weak, plus the sound engineer must have had a nap as the mics sounded way too low for the first few songs.

Recent single Straight Lines was when the band seemed to settle into the set. The audience really got behind them as everyone embraced the chart-topping hit complete with a sound and light show that was simply stunning and a fitting complement to the music.

Silverchair went out with one of their hard angst-filled rock songs that landed them their first success and really introduced them to most of the people in the room.

Of course, the song was Freak off the 1997 album Freakshow, and even though 10 years have gone by, it still sounds just as powerful and encouraged almost everyone there to move.

After what seemed like the fastest band change in history, Powderfinger blasted onto the stage with a set including some of their best work with Waiting for the Sun, Lost and Running and Love Your Way.

The guys demonstrated they are consummate performers chatting and bouncing lines off the crowd while delivering a soulful and energetic performance.

Black Tears, the controversial song edited after its apparent references to the Chris Hurley case, was performed solo by Fanning moving the audience with its simple lyrics and powerful acoustic melody.

Since the last time Powderfinger performed in these parts, Mr Fanning has had himself a haircut and now resembles a mid-70s mix of Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr with a bob.

The verdict? Grow back the long locks Bernard.

Alternative versions of staples made for interesting listening with a  harmonica being used in Forever Young and a simply awesome version of Already Gone, which morphed into the Rolling Stones classic Midnight Rambler and then back again.

The concert was a marathon night of fantastic Australian rock and demonstrated the deep well of talent these artists have drawn on over the years to change and develop.

Simply put, these bands are the poster boys of Australian rock and The Across the Great Divide Tour affirms this in the decency of their intentions and in their musical talent.