Falls Festival - Lorne, Australia
Well what can I say, once again silverchair have proven why they are one of the greatest rock bands of our time. Not having performed in over a year I knew I was in for something special when I bought my ticket for Falls festival. Replacing the more traditional Taxi Driver soundtrack with a bit of heavy riffing by AC/DC, which got everyone in the moshpit moving around, then the lights went out and green spot lights were put on over a mist filled stage. Daniel came out rocking in a knee length silver mirrorball jacket . They opened the set with Israels Son which as always absolutely rocked, Chris was going off on the bass with the thumping bassline of the song finding its way through the crowd which went into some heavy moshing when Daniel shouted "put your hands in the air".
They moved straight into Paint Pastell Princess which personally is one of their most diverse and beautiful songs. Madman followed with its dark bass and heavy riffs. Slave and Faultline came next and it was good to hear some of silverchairs earlier stuff. A powerful Emotion Sickness followed with Daniel reaching new heights with his voice and everyone in the crowd around me trying to match it.
No Association was next with the now familiar new intro, probably one of the darkest silverchair songs with its heavy riffs and forbidding bassline and powerful drumming.
Ana's Song, Miss You Love, Satin Sheets and Point of View followed quickly through before Daniel introduced a new song called Hollywood, it was a rocking track where somewhere in the lyrics Daniel calls himself a male lesbian....which sounded pretty cool.
He then told us all to fuckin' jump as he broke into the ever satirical Anthem for the Year 2000. Very appropriate considering its timing at around 30 minutes before the big count down.
The Door and Freak were next with some powerful guitar artistry by Daniel..and an ever changing solo for Freak..
silverchair proceeded to leave the stage with Gillies coming to the front of the stage to show off his muscular body to the Lorne women as he hurled his sticks far into the crowd....one of which landed on the sound tent.
All was quiet for a couple of minutes as everyone caught there breathes and tried to swallow what they had just witnessed. And that was when the chanting began... a steady wave of silverchair, silverchair swept over the crowd and up through the paddocks of the Falls festival.
We pretty much figured they were coming back seeing as none of there gear had been removed from the stage as had been the case for the whole gig with band after band coming and going.
Returning to the stage Daniel had removed his jacket to show us all his black and white 'insecurity' t-shirt. Daniel told us they were going to play two songs which they had never done live before and broke into Do You Feel the Same from Neon Ballroom. A nice rocking track which sounded good live then to finish off an incredibly memorable concert, and not just for the sunburn, they played the second new song of the night called One Way. Even though I didn't like this track as much as Hollywood it still went off and gave us an idea of where silverchair were heading with the heavy riff rocking and awesome guitar solos from Daniel.
The concert was filled with quips from Daniel, ranging from the usual sarcasm..with "arent you guys sick of rock by now, you must have heard that word much too much, well this is semi-rock", to telling us stories of how he hasnt been camping since he was like 6 or so because it was too cold for him. Which for anyone who was camping there would agree whole heartedly. To getting us all to cheer for the guy who owns the farm with milk and cows and stuff.....asking us if we were on drugs then telling us he was sure we had all had a great year 2000 before telling us he didnt care anyways. Which I thought was quite funny.
Overall the silverchair set of the Falls festival 2000 was well worth the wait, and the sunburn and the cold and whatever else the Victorian weather could throw at us. And proving once again silverchair are one of the best live bands around.
(Photos by chairpage)
Below photos courtesy of Michelle Harmer
It has been almost a week since I saw silverchair play the Falls Festival. Rather than specific details I find myself left with general thoughts about the band's performance and their future as a relevant "rock" band (sorry Daniel, I know you're tired of the term "rock" but until you provide us with a better term it will have to do!)
Firstly I'd like to say what a great event the Falls Festival is. Extremely well organised and the best "festival" experience I've ever had. Once you had set up camp there was never more than a short queue for food and drinks (which were both reasonably priced). Security were also friendly and kept out of the way unless you were doing something dangerous, a nice change to the usual policy of interference. Festival staff were also very friendly and some seemed to be even bigger yob's than members of the public (yes I'm talking about the guys on the "garbage truck"!). However, in my opinion the best thing about the Falls Festival is the atmosphere. 13,000 people on a lovely farm, keen to kick back, watch bands and enjoy themselves. I went to Falls Festival 2000 because silverchair were playing, but next time I'll go back because I think it's the best way to spend New Year's Eve!
The anticipation for New Year's began building on the 30th and throughout the beautiful day that was the 31st. Over the two days everyone had been spread out over the farm but as Magic Dirt hit the stage (around 7:45pm) the hill in front of the stage began to fill up . By the time silverchair were due to hit the stage it was packed and difficult to find somewhere to sit down.
As we waited for silverchair to take the stage, the "pit" seemed to have an unusually high ratio of silverchair fans for a festival gig and there were many, many chants for "SIL-VER-CHAIR". At this point I have to admit I was quite excited. It was silverchair's first show in over a year and we had been promised at least one new song! I also couldn't wait to see how the band would perform after such a long absence.
silverchair hit the stage right on 10:30pm to thunderous applause and cheering - what a way to return! Daniel's glitter-coat got a bemused reaction from the crowd, as Chris began the famous bass line to Israel's Son. Both silverchair and the crowd seemed to use this familiar song to warm up to each other after a year apart. One thing that struck me about this song was the amount of people in the crowd singing. It continued throughout the show and indicated that the majority of people in the pit were silverchair fans.
Paint Pastel Princess was next and while it was a surprise it slotted in nicely with silverchair's older and heavier material. At this point I should mention the awesome lighting for this show. silverchair's "lighting guy extraordinaire" Hugh Taranto conducted a fantastic light show, constructing several round braces for the lights which were then mounted on Ben's bass drum and the PA. Perhaps symbolising the zeros in "2000", these lights (exclusive to silverchair's performance) were used to great effect. The big question is, will they be used on the next tour...and if not, can I have one for my bedroom?
Madman was next, followed by Slave and the awesome Faultline (always a great live song) which continued the heavier tone of the show. As has already been mentioned on chairpage, several of silverchair's older songs have been "modified" to keep them interesting and relevant to the band and audience. It's hard to explain how they sound, but there are many new guitar fills and the band will sometimes pause in the middle of a song, only to start again in perfect time. One striking difference to Madman was when the band slows down to about 1/4 time. The effect on the crowd is great and it adds a new dimension to one of silverchair's older songs.
Emotion Sickness was a welcome surprise at this point in the set. It was performed with great passion by the band, including touring keyboardist Sam Holloway (who is in competition with Daniel for the longest hair in the band). Unfortunately, from where I was standing the mix was not so great and Daniel's vocals were getting lost while Chris' bass sounded distorted.
After No Association is was time to settle down a bit with Ana's Song and Miss You Love. Both featured inspired performances from Daniel on guitar and vocals, it felt like he had been working a lot on the songs and was putting his heart and soul into each one.
Then it was a return to rock as the pit went wild for Satin Sheets. When performing Satin Sheets live Daniel usually screams the "1 2 3 4" part, but this time he surprised everyone with a high pitched and soft "1-2, 3-4" as he moved away from the microphone to the PA. Ben had been mercilessly beating his drums all night and this song was no exception. Satin Sheets was followed by the live-favourite Point Of View.
at this stage Daniel made his longest speech of the night,
thanking the "farmer" who owned the property and
commenting that he had once gone camping with his family when
he was 7. Apparently he didn't like it because there was no
hot water and he needs "luxury, which explains the coat".
Now anyone reading this will understand that Daniel was being
sarcastic, but unfortunately very few other people in the
audience "got the joke" and they probably thought
Daniel was being arrogant. This is a common problem in Australia
as Daniel is often misunderstood. Some of the rumours I hear
about him are just outrageous.
But I forgot all about that as Ben began pounding out a beat for a song I had never heard before. I realised this was one of the new songs and after a couple of bars Chris and Daniel joined him for the tentatively titled "Hollywood". It's hard to explain this song after only one listen but I remember a strong beat all the way through.
Next was my favourite live song: The Door. This song never fails to get people jumping and I never get tired of hearing it played live. As with the 1999 shows, Sam was introduced by Daniel and played a short solo. I had also been looking forward to hearing Anthem as it was perhaps the most apt time to play it, being the last night of 2000. Like The Door, I think Anthem is much better live and Daniel bathed the crowd in power chords and stadium-rock glory. silverchair ended their set with Freak, which has also been slightly modified and which I thought sounded great.
As I'm sure everyone now knows, silverchair returned for their encore and surprised everyone by performing two songs they had never played live before! Daniel had removed his coat and revealed a mock security t-shirt with "INSECURITY" written across the front in large, white letters. I had seen that T-shirt for sale earlier in the day at the market (AUS$28) but I'm not sure whether Daniel purchased it himself or if someone bought it for him.
It was great to finally hear Do You Feel The Same live. Apparently there were a few hiccups but I don't think many people noticed. Daniel then mentioned something about "leaving now if you want to beat the traffic", closely followed by "ah, go now 'cos you don't know this song anyway" (there's that sense of humour again). I was expecting Spawn Again but soon realised it was another new song! Currently titled "One Way Mule" this song was quite heavy and featured some great riffs, but it was the *beautiful* fill on the piano from Sam that made the entire song for me. After One Way Mule the band promptly departed the stage with just minutes to spare until midnight.
Looking back on the show, a couple of things stand out for me. It was obvious that silverchair have been doing a lot of rehearsal because a) the songs sounded so good and b) they were having a great time being on stage. One of my favourite moments was during one of the heavier songs when Daniel walked over to Chris' side of the stage. Daniel was less than a foot away but Chris didn't notice until he turned around. He got a shock when he saw Daniel standing so close and they both burst into huge smiles. It was a great spontaneous moment that proved to this long-time fan that the band can still have fun on-stage.
silverchair have a long history of looking after their fans and overall I think this was a show for the fans. Why? Because only silverchair fans would have noticed the special things about this gig: the first ever performance of Do You Feel The Same, the two new songs and the new variations on older songs. The casual observer would have wanted to hear songs like Pure Massacre, Tomorrow and Abuse Me. I think the frogstomp era is slowly being left behind as the band embrace a new dynamic and new fans.
In the end I think that is what this performance was about. Looking ahead, looking to the future. Daniel wants to continue making music if he can experiment and keep pushing the boundaries, and I believe silverchair are one of the few bands doing that today. If silverchair weren't able to progress I believe their career would have ended with Neon Ballroom. However, they have a new record company and (after this gig) an obvious desire to create and play music. After the uncertainty of 2000, I'm anxiously awaiting the new sounds of 2001 and I am looking forward to purchasing my ticket for another ride on the silverchair roller coaster.
(Photos by chairpage)