San Francisco, USA
San Francisco Examiner
Daniel Johns, lead singer and song writer for the Aussie trio silverchair, has been crowned the Eddie Vedder of Down Under, heir apparent to the grungy throne of Kurt Cobain. But right now the Next Big Thing in rock music is swinging like a monkey from the banisters at Slim's nightclub, signifying he's had enough of the media hubbub for one day.
The lads, like puppies dying for a walk, cavort around the interior of Slim's before the show, goofing around like the guileless teens they are, looking more like surfers (which they are) than rock stars.
And while they come off in person as shy and self depreciating, on stage it's another story. Then a charismatic intensity takes over that more experienced bands would kill to have.
For a short hour, silverchair turned up the heat at Slim's, as the packed audience surged against the stage and each other, arms outstretched toward the incendiary action on stage. The 10-song set was daring and skillful; songs turned on a dime from walking gait to a pogo-dancing gallop.
Perhaps because they are so young, the trio's song list was uneven; not all of the songs succeeded. With instruments amped to the breaking point, at times the fuzz of the bass outshouted Johns' too-fragile vocals.
But when everything was working - vocals as big as the crashing cords - it was simply astonishing. Tomorrow, a morality tale of a rich man's decent to hell, was transcendent, with Johns emoting from deep within. Other standouts: the soaring, moody Faultline, about the Newcastle quake of 1989, and Pure Massacre.
By the time the band finished its encore, Israel's Son, in a sweaty frenzy of feedback and guitar gristle, the crowd was almost too exhausted to cheer anymore. And just like that they were gone.
to Amanda for the transcript.]
By JESSE BERRETT
Daniel Johns, silverchair's guitarist and lead singer, looked more than a little bemused when he sauntered onstage. Was it because, unlike most of the audience, which looked to be headed back to their fraternity and sorotity houses to get up for class, this trio of grunge moppets from Down Under would get to sleep in the next morning? silverchair's no-frills club show, devoid of the star posturing and testosterone most underage rockers can't help gorging on, dished up the best parts of grunge ethos to a crowd that didn't quite seem to share those values.
On record, silverchair worships at the shrine of St. Eddie. Israel's Son, the best track on its debut, swipes the hook from Evenflow and features an impressive facsimile of that mournful bellow. Not to mention that Mark Pellington, who directed the Tomorrow video, is best know for Jeremy. Yet onstage they were less reverent, an unpretentious garage band with a positively inspiring trust in the rock verities. Like good Seattle-ists, silverchair limited the flashy effects to hair-tossing (which got me going; if you don't like seeing it done by enthusiastic teenagers, you don't like pop music), and slowing to a crawl while Johns screamed the lyrics -- something that might have worked better if they hadn't resorted to the same trick in both of their last two songs.
Though the music wasn't yet as compelling as Vedder's psychodramas, silverchair's hearts were in the right place -- they made sure to include their ballad about suicide and a new anti-militarist song. So give them time to grow. Besides -- even if, as Johns explained, Tomorrow is "about premature ejaculation" -- you've got to admire a band whose oldest member is 16 having enough self-control not to shoot its wad early in the set. They opened with an instrumental, nicely thrashed up the dull on-record Faultline, and saved Israel's Son for the encore. The whole thing sped by in 50 minutes, like a history lecture or an episode of 90210 -- just the right length for a school night.