27-11-1995

Fillmore Auditorium - San Francisco, USA

silverchair in the U.S. of A.
Music News Of The World

silverchair previewed four new songs when they played at San Francisco's Fillmore auditorium. Frontman Daniel Johns was resplendent in his Velvet Underground t-shirt, complete with the Warhol banana that matched his fabulous blond hair. When we asked the underage trio (who have all turned sixteen now) how they spent their weekend, they quipped, "shooting heroin in South Carolina." But they're still too wholesome and milk-fed to tarnish their image in any believable way -- yet. (Although both Chris Joannou and Ben Gillies admitted to having girlfriends -- something that brought no small amount of anguish to the screaming teenage masses that hovered close to the stage, carving out their own space from the aggressive moshing contingent.) Johns introduced one of the new numbers, titled No Association, as a Boyz-2-Men song -- funny but not as effective as when he insists that findaway is a Sex Pistols song. The other new titles were New Race, Slave and Nobody Came. The show presented a darker, more complicated side of silverchair, and a depth that belies their years.


Too Young to Drive, But Old Enough to Rock

By JOHN PAPAGEORGE
Rolling Stone Online

Mix peanut butter with Pearl Jam and you have teenage, Australian rock trio silverchair. The band's too young to drive but old enough to know that dramatic lyrics punctuated with driving grunge guitar appeal to their prepubescent peers.

The threesome, featuring bass player Chris Joannou, guitarist Daniel Johns and drummer Ben Gillies, had Monday night's sold out audience at San Francisco's Fillmore auditorium moshing from start to finish.

Awash in blue green lighting, the band opened with the droning metal instrumental Madman, off the group's debut album frogstomp. The band then fired off the equally intense Suicidal Dream, a song that calculatedly explodes with a cacophony of roaring guitar and breaks with clean guitar arpeggios. The song shows the group's oft-used ebb-and-flow tune formula but exposes the song-writing team of Johns and Gillies' tendency to write leaden lyrics; for instance, "I'll kill myself from holding my breath." Sounds like a tantrum.

The group is headlining this tour after plans to open for the Red Hot Chili Peppers fell through when the Pepper's drummer, Chad Smith, broke his arm. Johns, who bares an undeniable resemblance to Kurt Cobain, stood stage left, singing for most of the night with closed eyes into the stage's only microphone. His growling, powerful voice belies his young age. Joannou, wearing a Pavement t-shirt, played hunched over with his long hair covering his face. Gillies played aggressively all night. Not content with just playing drums, he beat them.

The group mixed in new tunes with almost all the cuts off the eleven-song frogstomp. The single Tomorrow, elicited the greatest cheers from a clearly enthusiastic audience, while Pure Massacre and Shade were the show's highlights.

While it's true the group lacks smart lyrics or a unique musical voice -- deriving their grunge, metal style by the numbers from Pearl Jam, Helmet and Nirvana -- silverchair rocked confidently. Age should bring greater perspective, humor and a clearer sense of rock history to the group. But for right now, the kids are alright.