Gig Watch: Silverchair & Powderfinger

By Sean Lynch (Webwombat)


There is no question that Powderfinger are one of Australia's best and most successful bands in Australian Music history - the sales chart prove it. But for the sake of all music lovers...will someone stop allowing them to headline at historic music events!

Like I said, theres nothing wrong with The Finger, they are masters of the catchy chorus and rockin' guitar licks - but when it comes to comparing them live to a slew of other big names...they just don't cut it.

Fanning & Co burned me in 2002 as they took the stage as the headline act (ahead of Oasis, who were making their first appearance in Australia since the infamous late 90's drunken plance debacle some five years earlier) and it seems that the powers that be have decided The Finger are bigger than Silverchair as well.

Rocking up to the giant Circus tent in the country town of Bendigo, I was amazed to see how many people had turned out to the event. Howver, even more amazing was the number of punters I recognised from Melbourne who had also made the three hour long trip there.

The atmosphere was electric, similar to the sort of buzz that oozes from a Big Day Out crowd as the sun begins to set. The wind began to blow a cool-to-freezing breeze through the tent - but all was forgotten as the rumble of the 5000 strong crowd erupted at the entrance of Silverchair.

From the opening track, Johns & Co delievered one of the most energetic, fun, and entertaining live performances I've seen. The five year break between albums has certainly allowed Johns to find his passion and develop his on stage flair.

There was a mix of new (Straight Lines, If You Keep Losing Sleep) and old (Israel's Son, Anas Song) as well as reinterpreatations of both (Mindreader is fast becoming one of the Silverchair teams most enjoyable rock songs in years).

There was a little bit of everything on offer, with Paul Mac (now an official fourth member) offering a much needed electro twist to proceedings. There was even an on stage proposal between two locals which made for one of the cheesier moments of the evening (saved by the saracasm of Johns).

Silverchair were - without question - the shit and a bit.

A short intermission which included a dash to the long lines of the pitch black porta-loos, a hot dog and a beer (as well as a bit of celeb spotting thanks to Andy Lee and Megan Gale) and the Powderfinger die hards began to herd towards the stage once more.

From here, well, I don't remember much. The sad fact is - no matter how good Powderfinger were/could have been, there was simply no way of topping Silverchair (which seemed to be the consensus from over hearing most of the conversations of punters after the show).

There were the classics such as Passenger, These Days, Belter, Love Your Way (which, as much as I hate to admit it - went down a treat) as well as some fantastic newbies Lost & Running, I Don't Remember. However, the major problem stems from the "sameness" of the bulk of The Finger's catalouge (and let's not even get started on Fanning's insistence on ramming political messages down the throats of the crowd....WE GET IT, THE GOVERNMENT TREATED PEOPLE BADLY IN THE PAST!!).

Finally, the night was wrapped up in a neat little package with the rare duet performance of both bands rocking out to a tune by The Who (a band which the majority of Commercial Radio listeners responded to with a resounding..."Who are The Who?"....Gotta love the future generations of Australia don't you!).

A top night, which will hopefully pave the way for several more Big Name Mash-Ups - but for everyone's sake - next time, just rotate the headline act. No amount of album sales can translate stage presence - which Powderfinger more than proved.

Bring on another Silverchair solo tour!!!