Roseland Ballroom - New York, USA
What a difference a day makes. Sounding bigger, brighter, and louder, Silverchair strolled into New York’s famed Roseland Ballroom and overpowered Daniel Johns’ pesky laryngitis with a visceral performance.
Although Thursday night’s concert in New Jersey was a success even through Johns’ vocal struggles, Friday night’s show was just plain better from the acoustics to the lights to the energy of the band and crowd.
While the setlist from the prior night remained the same, the band had the crowd from the opening squeals of “Young Modern Station” right up until the overdriven stomp of set closer, “Freak.”
The Roseland is prime concert space in New York and Silverchair drew an impressive crowd that stretched the length of the venue. New material like “Mind Reader” and “Insomnia” scored with the crowd as did lead single, “Straight Lines.”
Perhaps the biggest reaction of the night came during “If You Keep Losing Sleep,” and fittingly enough, it provided the evening’s most enduring image. Sprawled across Paul Mac’s keyboards, Johns pounded the keyboards with his fist while gyrating back and forth. Completely lost in a cacophony of sounds, the crowd stood mesmerized as the lush, vibrant track mutated right before their eyes. For those in attendance that hadn’t seen the band in years, it was like they were watching their favorite band grow up right before their eyes.
You Had To Be There
Halfway through Silverchair's set at Roseland Ballroom, Daniel Johns told the dumbest joke I ever heard and I was laughing all the way through because he truly is a nut. The Roseland show was amazing and I don't understand how Silverchair can be even more powerful and superb than they were a few months ago at Webster Hall. The band is on some kind of supercharged upward trajectory where they just keep getting better.
But it's really not that complicated: Ben and Chris lay down a wave of energy as powerful as anything in rock 'n roll, and Daniel rides that energy wave like a surfer. One of the big differences this tour around is that Johns has developed into a full-on monster on guitar (he was always the best rock singer). So now Silverchair is a triple threat - the best drummer, the best bassist, and one of the best guitarists. And don't forget synth maestro Paul Mac, whose dance/electro roots show through in the band's late 21st century Young Modern sound.
I don't know how Paul Mac deals with Daniel jumping up on his keyboard during a show because that would drive me crazy, but they are best friends so I guess he's used to it. Daniel goes all out on stage, he puts everything out there, and he was just a blazing fireball tonight--funny, aggressive, silly, dominating, totally committed to his audience. Daniel still has a touch of laryngitis, but he went for the high note anyway leading into the breath-taking climax of 'Without You', which is definitely now my favorite Silverchair song live. The whole crowd was in ectasy during that song. I was on some kind of altered plane, in one of the best musical moments of my life. No other band combines power and beauty like Silverchair.
The crowd knew the words to almost every song so Daniel invited us to sing with him. I actually wish the crowd had let him sing Ana's Song by himself, but Daniel thanked the crowd for singing along and for being 'in tune'. Ben and Chris never sing with him, said Daniel, because "they think singing is for gays" - more fun and lunacy.
The Roseland Ballroom is the perfect venue for Silverchair - a huge hall with high ceilings, great sound and lights, the floor packed with people all the way back. In a perfect world, Silverchair would play Roseland every month. I guess I'm greedy because I've heard them twice this year, but I hope Silverchair comes back to New York soon. There are a lot of good bands, but Silverchair's show is unique. And with Ben and Chris, they are just more powerful live than any band I know. You owe it to yourself to see this band--please don't miss them. You get to see the best singer, the most entertaining rock star, innovative rhythms, powerful energy, and a great party atmosphere between the band and a crowd that's totally into the show.
It was satisfying to hear Silverchair getting major airplay on K-ROCK the whole week leading up to the Roseland show. Silverchair has been my favorite band for ten years and I am proud of them for their triumphant American comeback. Congratulations to our friends from Australia. You're the best and you deserve the best.
Silverchair took the stage and opened their show with the rare command of boys who've been doing this since they hit puberty. They've learned how to work the stage, and they don't let a second of the show pass without giving the crowd the performance they came to see.
The boys dove straight into new material, lifting the mood in the room with the light-sounding but depth filled "Young Modern Station." Johns was as spellbinding as ever, donned in a Young Modern pirate's attire, he wore a black eye patch over his right eye and a white and green plaid bandana on his head.
As the evening progressed, Silverchair wove through the new songs and old, demonstrating their expansive musical repertoire. New soulful songs like Harrisonesque "Low" deliciously balanced off old grunge masterpieces like The Door; and the crowd just ate it up. The variation between two songs such as these, and the 10 years between their making, demonstrates the impressive career of a band still basking in the glories of youth.
Ana's song was a treasure of the evening, allowing Johns to slightly rest his laryngitic voice and let the crowd wallow in their love of the beautiful melody and heart-wrenching lyrics.
Johns at one point shared with the crowd that "this laryngitis is really beginning to piss me off." But that minor glitch didn't stop him from putting on a hell of a show. A slightly scratchy voice was hardly noticeable amidst the myriad of entertainments Johns provided with and beyond his guitar: he played the guitar with his teeth, told a musically accompanied Koala joke, and demonstrated his brotherly affection for band mates Chris and Ben with playful taunts and Gatorade throwing. But not to be forgotten was Johns sprawled atop Paul Mac's piano, guitar atop his belly, legs tossed in the air, as he reached around to pound some keys.
Mac was an entertainment all his own; at some of the highest energy points of the night, Mac could be seen bouncing up and down on his piano stool, pounding the keyboards before him and to his left, without missing a note and all the while holding a grin like the Cheshire Cat that he is.
"Emotion Sickness" was one of the highlights of the evening, a mixture of all the mesmerizing orchestration yet dark, depth-filled poetry that this band is capable of. "Without You" was also beautiful and the crowd sang happily along, glad to compete with the previous night's New Jersey crowd that Johns said had been "quite in tune."
The encore came with a song that is the most awesome to see live of the new album: "If You Keep Losing Sleep." Its inherent mania and clever balance of darkness and light is a wonderful encapsulation of Silverchair's beauty. The deep orchestrative sounds along with Johns' insanity loving voice create the most energy inducing quality and surely left the room levitating after they boys retreated off the stage.
The night closed with "Freak" which was just pure fun to sing to after an evening of musical enjoyment. As the boys filed off the stage, Johns lingered alone in the spotlight to play around with his instruments on the stage floor, perhaps hinting to the audience that he was as reluctant to conclude his evening of musical pleasures as we were to see him go.
The boys of Silverchair not only gain my respect from their obvious birth-given talent, but they are also guys I would love to hang out with. Their energy, warmth, mental depth and charisma are utterly magnetic. I can't wait to share another evening with them next time they tour through my city.