Convention Center - Asbury Park, USA
Lie To Me
Anthem For The Year 2000
By LAURENCE GEORGE
*Quick notation for readers* I include this notation for all, and a "thank you" dedicated to silverchair and their staff. This show was quite different from what I've seen and read in the past from silverchair. With this said, my review is not a standard one. It may lack in some details & form with sticking to the "set" - and a track by track account. This is not done without purpose. It's my intent! Now, I'd like to express much appreciation for the professional staff of silverchair. This includes roadies, techs, management, & all musicians "extra" to the 'chair, such as keyboard player Sam Holloway. Thanks to the Chairpage staff as well, read on...
Strange days indeed folks... Here I am, a big silverchair fan and a "freelance" journalist in NJ. I'm also Vegan like silverchair's singer/guitarist. Have been for years and proud of it too! This makes it even better for me, as we are a rare breed these days. It's almost like a religion! Haha. I really want to interview this awesome band one day.
Anyway, I tried and tried to get into a 'chair show within the Tri-State area this month. (NY, NJ, PA) I should have looked into tickets earlier. I was late and lost out. All three shows sold out quickly. If you snooze you lose. My strange day went as follows.
I packed up my press kit and headed over to Asbury 'round 1:00 PM. I figured on getting lucky somehow. Maybe even get a handshake and 10 seconds with a band member. Who knows. Gotta be an optimistic person in life!
I arrived in Asbury Park and started over to the "Convention Center." Walked around, talked to some people on the street. Mostly very nice, young kids. Like 10 - 18 in age. Before I knew it, a girl approached me. She was a bit nervous I could tell, but seemed genuine. "Hi, are you looking for a ticket?" She questioned me very quietly. I felt like saying - "Honey, does a bear shit in the woods?" 'nuff said.
So, here I am armed with a ticket, on a very long line of fans, right on the Asbury Park Boardwalk. Asbury was the Mecca of the NJ shore many years ago, before I was born! - Now just a mere broken down shadow of its former self. Nonetheless, it's still nice to look about the town while on the boards, and try to imagine all these huge skeleton establishments, imagine how they used to look many years ago when still in their glory.
The Wait: No more than 30 minutes later, while on this line, I chatted with some nice young guys. Three boys, with Mom, also from my hometown of EB, NJ. Roman, Jonathan, & Gotham. Yes, those really are their names! We just struck up some good conversation about bands we loved. Mostly classic rock bands, such as Led Zeppelin, Black Sabbath, Pink Floyd. silverchair too! We had this in common and talked for a while. Some free promo CD's were thrown to fans along with shirts. The crowd at one point was getting very out of hand, but the hard working security staff took care of it in due time.
Before I knew what happened, the boys were asking me if I wanted to enter the show early. One of their Mother's, whom was with them, had a pass for a "handicapped seat." Of course I went along. (Thanks guys!) We waited up by the door. Sure enough, all the handicapped people and their helpers, were let in about 10 minutes early. Not too big a deal, but folks, that was enough to put myself, Roman, Jonathan, and Gotham, front center!
The Show: We anxiously awaited silverchair. We thought they were going on first, but after hanging around for one hour, here comes Fenix TX. They played a very "upbeat" 30 minute, three chord punk/pop set. Nothing unusual, but they get a nod from me for energy and trying to have fun. The crowd loved 'em and they seemed like decent guys. Out of California they were.
After Fenix, about 30 minutes passed. This was while the silverchair staff set up the bands equipment, sound checked a bit, and tuned up the instruments. (I watch for these things, as I used to play out live as well) They did this very efficiently. I was impressed.
Another 10 minutes goes by, and here comes the Taxi Driver theme over the speakers. The lights dim. The crowd went wild, mostly all the people close to the stage. The 'chair fans were not bashful and stayed close by. Many punk/pop fans, sat around the perimeter of this "Round" arena. Most in the limited bleacher type seats which are fixed throughout the Convention Center. Limited but plentiful, if you know what I mean. "Chair" fans stayed right up front.
So here comes Chris on bass - right/front of stage, as viewed from the audience. Chris was wearing his "Orange" pants and black shirt. Next, the "Shirtless Ben" up at the drum kit looking ready to pounce, and lastly, here comes the "charismatic" Daniel Johns, all decked out in his well known Neon Ballroom clothing. Silver glitter shirt and black slacks. The crowd howled at Ben and Chris. When Daniel entered seconds later, they roared! This happened very quickly overall, and somehow as it happened, Chris was already into his bass intro for the first tune of the evening. Israel's Son...
The bass notes rang out and then Ben and Daniel chimed in. It was explosive, loud, powerful! The crowd went nuts and the mosh pit was alive. A quick notation... People were crowd surfing more than anything, and this went on all night, even when no band was on stage! A few mishaps, but no serious injury that I could see. The security was top notch and the bouncers wearing "peace maker" shirts, were all very friendly to reasonably sane people.
I was holding the rail all night at the front, near my three new friends. We stuck together and enjoyed what we were experiencing. I also had them in front of me and became somewhat of a "human" shield. I was getting hit all over. I did not mind being a big brother for three nice people!
After the first song, the 'chair broke directly into "Emotion Sickness" and a funny thing happened. Everyone seemed to be in a trance, forgetting how to mosh and crowd surf for a while. It's the nature of the beast. Any tune off "Ballroom" can have this effect. Let's face it, this is a "deep" recording for this generation and times. I have to admit the following. Everytime I hear this particular song, I stand a chance of some wet eyes. It's that powerful. Read the words!
Daniel was in a very "expressive" type of mood and it showed. Unfortunately, downtrodden too, as far as I could see. It's hard to explain. I know what the body language meant. It's something you either "get" - or you don't! It's that simple. Want some adjectives?? Eccentric, Sarcastic, Sexual, Deceiving, Provocative, etc... Do we have all night?
Daniel is in his own mind set. I loved it. He is truly an "artist" in my opinion. Many people don't get it. The more they misunderstand this young man... The more he dishes it out. He was essentially mocking most of us. He cannot mock his real fans and he knows it! So Daniel, "No offense taken!"
Daniel swung his hips, gyrated, walked jaggedly from side to side, jumped up and down eyes closed, sometimes rolling them back. He stuck out his tongue, rolled it inside his cheeks, shot his arms out all night pointing in fury. He would point while rolling his hand around on his wrist - as if he was some kind of mechanical device. The boy looked sinister at times... perhaps evil. What a site he was. People whom were supposed to take offense - did. I heard many say he was "Gross, Weird, Disgusting, Twisted, Scary, on Heroin, on Acid," and the list goes on. Sorry people, Daniel knows exactly what he's doing. Hey people, buy the damn recording - Neon Ballroom, and then maybe it will all make sense when considering the context of tonight's show.
After three songs, the two above and "Slave" - Daniel finally spoke. I was not able to take notes in the middle of the mosh pit! His tone of voice was from normal talking to a horrific screaming at times. It was to this effect though: "How are we N.J.? Thank you NJ. We love you... Yes, just yesterday we were basking in the NJ sun, reading your poetry... It's so nice here, how nice... It's a joke, I'm joking... NJ hates silverchair. You guys are kind. Thanks for being kind, but we are sorry. I'm sure NJ would rather listen to punk bands. Yes, NJ loves punk... Fucking NJ..."
OK, these are not Daniel's, "exact" words, but it's very close and to this effect. I write this review only hours after the show. Daniel's words were dripping with sarcasm. I actually felt bad. I know what he means. Too many kids today do not give the "deeper" bands and music, a due chance. Europe and Australia are kinder to rock and the 'chair. Nothing against punk/pop. It's just that most punk/pop fans, fault a genuine Rockband these days....
Let's move on. Next was "Pure Massacre." This had the largest effect on the crowd during the 'chair's set. They surfed, moshed, screamed and more. There was plenty of appreciation for this band! I hope they "felt" it. It just was not the whole crowd because most were into Blink 182 and Fenix. The evening was not horrible. I really think most people, not big on the 'chair - were quiet and did not bother our crowd or the band.
We heard Ana's Song next, then Satin Sheets, Lie To Me, etc. All very powerful. Daniel spoke throughout the set between tunes. He was very clear and confident, but as before, very sarcastic and walking the "Fine Line" so to speak. Almost looking for reaction. He never crossed the line, so I feel he was very professional indeed. He was honest. Ben and Chris are rock solid and showed no favoritism to anyone during the show. Very professional. They deserve alot of credit for their excellent rhythm performance. By the time "The Door" started, I moved away to save my ears. Finally leaving my buddies at the front rails. The mix was off all night and the volume much too loud. Distorted even at the rear of this club. Every band had this condition, so I cannot pin it on any specific bands crew. It was livable, but I know how much better silverchair sounded 4 years ago, at the "Stone Pony" in Asbury... and that place is a dive.
Be it known. This is not intended to be a review of Daniel Johns. silverchair is an excellent "band." A band is the sum of it's parts. I just felt this night was especially unique and Daniel had issues. That's the reason for more attention in these areas. I'm telling it like it happened. Honesty is better then a candy coating of shit.
The closing tune was Anthem For The Year 2000. I love this song. Daniel, Ben, and Chris, played especially hard on this one. Daniel screaming and inciting the crowd to shout - "We Are The Youth" at his command, at the thrusting of his arm, from left to right. Timing it to the aggressive crashing of his calibrated guitar chord. Should have went over better. The true "chair" fans did try to support. Wish there were more of us.
All in all I had fun. I just have to admit. I feel for the band. What does the future hold? silverchair stands for what most do not in the 1990's...
Danny I hear ya. I hear Ya...