Festival Hall - Melbourne, Australia


I'd been getting psyched up for my first silverchair concert, which just happened to fall on my birthday. As we drove past Festival Hall, we could see the immense line-up of people -- there were HEAPS of people sitting, waiting, leaning against the walls, awaiting the moment when they would be able to step inside and scramble for the best places in the mosh pit (not us, we had seats!)

We joined the mass of people and stood around watching and waiting, with ten thousand big purple butterflies, their wings fluttering, crammed into our stomachs. The atmosphere out there was so thick with apprehension and excitement that you could have run a blade through it. A guy with a backstage pass paraded up and down the street, fiddling with it, trying to get noticed.

Finally, they opened the doors, and everyone started pushing towards them. It took us at least half an hour to get inside, with only two or three people going in at a time. When we got in, we showed the ticket guy our precious pieces of paper, and as he ripped one edge off them, he said, 'Oh, you guys have got the best seats in the house!' We grinned, and walked up to the balcony. Once we were seated up there, I couldn't believe my eyes -- the balcony was behind and above the moshpit, about 50 metres from the stage. We got a clear view of the stage, and since we were seated practically in the middle, it was a fantastic seat.

The lights dimmed, and all the moshers stood up and started pushing to the front. The security guards had to scream at them to sit down, because nothing was starting yet. Finally, [Melbourne band] Ricaine came on. Because they were the first band on, and everyone was really hyped, they recieved a huge welcome of screams and whoops. The bassist stared out at us, then walked up to the mic and asked, 'What are you screaming for? We haven't done anything yet.' They continued to tune their instruments, and everyone just kept screaming. Then the bassist came up again and said, 'I think you've got us confused with someone else.' This, of course, was welcomed with more screams and cheers. When they started playing, the whole place jumped to life -- the moshpit started, and everyone was rocking to the music. If anyone EVER has a chance to go see Ricaine, do so -- believe me, they are well worth it -- they rock like hell. They played a new song called Pole Vault, but since I'd never heard them before, it didn't mean much. All I know is that it rocked, and that next time I'm in a CD shop I'll look for them.

Near the end of their set, the guitarist/vocalist asked, 'Oh, do you guys like Midget? Yeah, they're brilliant. Well, they're up next, and then Everclear, and then [quietly] some band called silverchair.' Everyone promptly went ballistic.

The first thing Midget did when they came on stage, was to have the vocalist go up to the mic and say, 'FUCK SILVERCHAIR... for the moment!' It was really funny!

Midget rocked too. Then came Everclear, and I swear, they had the BEST stage performance I've ever seen -- it totally blew me away. Art interacted really well with the audience, and it was during their set that we went down for our first mosh. At first we thought it would be really hard to get down, but it was easy, and it was really good. The first song they played was Strawberry, my fave track off Sparkle and Fade.

Then came the BIG LONG WAIT for silverchair. It took forever for the sound people to set up and test out the bass and guitars, but it was well worth the wait.

silverchair's setlist (as best we could remember it) was

Leave Me Out
Suicidal Dream
Pop Song
The Door
Pure Massacre
Israel's Son
Surfin' Bird
Paranoid (with Everclear)

It was incredible. We were sitting up in the balcony, screaming out the lyrics to almost every song, and whenever they stopped, we all screeched at the top of our lungs, 'YOU FUCKING ROCK!' but they didn't seem to hear us. Ben and Chris looked straight at us a few times, though.

After Slave, Daniel came to the mic and said, 'We fucked up really bad then. Actually, it wasn't us that fucked up. Everyone fucked up except us!'

Thunderous applause and screams echoed through the packed hall.

And sometime during the set, Daniel said, 'Oh yeah, and you can jump all you want. Just keep on jumping.'

During the show, everyone kept piffing their empty water bottles up onto the stage. Daniel was beginning to get really pissed off, and he goes, 'If you don't stop fucking throwing those fucking water bottles, I'm gonna fucking come down there and kick all your arses!' His remark was met with screams and yells. He also said something about not wanted to wreck his guitar, and that 'this guitar is worth like $500.' For that one he copped a very sarcastic 'oooohhhhhhhh' from everyone, including us!

He also said that if people didn't stop chucking water bottles, that he'd 'come down and do what I did last time I was in Melbourne!' (Which was what?)

And when he was introducing Madman, he said, 'This song's about ... WATER BOTTLES!' Then the mosh pit went crazy, and we were all moshing in our seats! It ruled!

Suddenly, we all started having major moshing withdrawals, so, during The Door (which totally ROCKED), we got out of our seats, and went up the back of the balcony. We didn't want to miss anything that they said, and promised each other that we'd go to the pit at the beginning of the next song.

Nothing was said, and the band went straight into Faultline. Screaming out the lyrics, we all rushed down the stairs, and ran into the pit. Grabbing each other's hands, we formed some kind of train, and pushed our way through everyone (like we had during Everclear), but this time even more determined to get to the front. Doing the cool combination of jumping, moshing and pushing, we got about seven or eight rows back from the barrier. All these guys that were about fifty times our height (especially me), moshing around us, shoving us in the back -- it was like being in a forest of huge trees, and you're just a little petunia or something. These huge 'trees' kept pushing against me, making me squash up against the people in front. It was getting hard to breath, except for when my saviors (the crowd surfers) came flying overhead. I was able to catch a quick breath. By this time Faultline was way over, and we were in the middle of mosh pit mayhem with Pure Massacre.

A blond guy who had got one of my friends surfing was in front of me, and so I tapped him on the shoulder. I pointed up with my finger, and he raised his eyebrows, pointing upward questioningly, as if to say, 'YOU wanna go UP?' I nodded frantically, and he grinned and grabbed my legs. He pushed up, and I jumped at the same time, and I went flying. It was incredible! I would have been seven rows back, but I landed at about the fourth (I guess that's what comes of being light -- AIRBORNE!) It was unreal -- the band, the heat, the music, the crowd, and me sailing over all of it -- pure adrenalin. Then everyone pushed me towards the front, and over the barrier. A security guard caught me as I came over (it was really embarrassing, he caught me like a baby, I just said, 'Uh, hi!')

When I came down, I was about right in front of Ben, and a little to the right of Daniel. When I looked up, the only thing I could think of was that I was actually here, and I was so close to them. So I did that sign with my hand and screamed, 'You ROCK! YOU FUCKING ROCK!' Then a security guard gave me a really hard shove, and so I had to keep moving.

Pure Massacre was incredible. The guitar buzzed, the bass kicked, the drums rocked... IT WAS UNREEALLL!

So I went back up to the seats after that and heard Daniel proclaim, 'K, this is our last song.' Spotlight on Chris, as Israel's Son was bashed out. Because it was the last song, we were determined to get a good view, and so we went up into the spare walking aisle along the sides of the seats, and sat on the balcony, with our legs hanging over. We sat there, screaming the lyrics as loud as we could, and moshing on the bridge of the balcony. It was great, the atmosphere was unreal, everyone was really getting into it. We were having an incredible time, until we felt this heavy hand come down on our shoulders. The grip was too hard and too tight to be one of my friends, and I turned to see a security guard. He pulled us off the balcony wall, and goes, 'You abused privileges, and now you lose them. And you know what that means. Downstairs.' Like we care. He physically threw us down the stairs, and then told the guards who were checking tickets for the balcony (who had got to recognise us on sight because we'd been up and down so many times) not to let us back up.

Israel's Son was rocking, so we went into the mosh (stuff the seats, the mosh is more fun anyway!) 'Put your hands in the air!' It was electric! Some people near the back were beginning to wind down, but I was getting happy, so I was moshing my head off... it was fantastic.

We went back out after Israel's Son, but when silverchair came back on to play Surfin' Bird, we went back for another mosh. After Surfin' Bird, silverchair were joined on stage by Everclear, and they performed Black Sabbath's Paranoid together.

During the song, it was Daniel's turn for revenge. Picking up the water bottles, he piffed them into and at the audience. Of course, this began a full-fledged war: rockers vs. moshers! It was so funny -- we weren't far enough in to catch any directly, but one fell at my feet, so I picked it up (no way I was going to throw it... it'd make a nice souvenir! Besides, I didn't want to hurt Dan's $500 BUCK GUITAR now, did I?)

After that, everyone bustled out of the pit, and we left, our insides warm, our outsides hot, sticky and sweaty, and our rock hunger satisfied. It was the most incredible concert I've ever been to, and probably will ever go to. silverchair rock, and I will never stop believing that, particularly after last night!

I forgot to pick up a pebble, but I've got my T-shirts, my water bottle, and my memories, that hopefully will NEVER sparkle and fade.

The Buzz magazine

The scene was set during the opening number, Leave Me Out, when silverchair turned almost all of a packed Festival Hall into a frenzy of jumping, sweating, surfing and flying water bottles. This trend continued for most of the night, as they belted out all the favorites including Pure Massacre, Findaway, Suicidal Dream and Madman, which on this night Daniel informed us has actually always been "a song about water bottles." Who could have picked that? Of course, the old fave, Tomorrow was also part of the set, and it seems to be a song which is maturing with age.

The October 1st gig was used by silverchair to not only support the Surfrider Foundation benefit album, Music For Our Mother Ocean, but also to test the waters with some of their new material. These new numbers gave the impression that the second silverchair album, which is due out early next year, will contain greater diversity than frogstomp. One of the newer songs, Slave, has already received some radio airplay and highlights the influence of Helmet on the band, with a stop start riff, particularly during the opening. Of the tracks which were unfamiliar to most, Freak had a touch of Soundgarden about it, not only in its sound and style, but because it probably went for a bit too long. The gentle paced Cemetery saw Daniel display his powerful vocals while playing his guitar solo, apparently because, "Ben and Chris can't remember it."

After headlining Pushover on November 16th, silverchair will end the month by playing one show in Argentina and two in Brazil. These three shows are to be staged in large stadiums with capacities ranging from 25,000 to 40,000. silverchair will then head for California for their final U.S. appearance of the year. While there is little doubt Daniel will end these shows by using his guitar to give the speakers, amps, and of course Chris' drums the standard whacking, it will be more interesting to know if Ben is kind enough to present the Californian and especially South American audiences with a full vertical smile, as he was overly pleased to do during the bands recent Sydney and Melbourne gigs.

silverchair was more than adequately supported by Californian punk band, Everclear, while up and coming Aussie bands, Midget and especially Ricaine also impressed. As the Melbourne crowd got well into their set, Art Alexakis the lead singer and guitarist of Everclear modestly queried, "What are you guys doing? We're just the warm up band!" They not only warmed up the audience, they came close to tiring them out, as it was near impossible to watch this band patiently or inactively, and save the energy for the main act. This was especially the case during Everclear's big ones, Santa Monica and Heroin Girl,which they appropriately ended their show with as it was unlikely these two songs would be topped.

It was obvious that Everclear is well experienced at playing to a Festival Hall size audience and this gave the impression that the band was having a fantastic time and that their live act comes most naturally. If, or perhaps even when, silverchair can achieve this style during their live performances, they could easily come to be considered as one of the best live bands as their music is already suited to being played live.

The encore by silverchair included Fix Me, a Black Flag cover and a manic rendition of the start of The Trashmen's Surfin' Bird, which sounded even better without the distortion that dominates on the version appearing on Music For Our Mother Ocean. The night also included a standard version of Israel's Son, which even on an average night is still one of the best moshing songs going around. Well, I know it makes me want to jump, rather than kill anything or anyone.

Everclear joined silverchair on stage for the closing song, a thumping version of the Black Sabbath classic, Paranoid, with Alexakis on vocals. It was during this song that the boys from both bands united to try to reap revenge on the most satisfied crowd by hurtling back many of the water bottles which had by now covered pretty much all the stage. No doubt due to them being so outnumbered, they lost the battle convincingly. Lucky they put on such an enjoyable gig or they might have really been hammered by those water bottles which both bands hated so much.

The 'chair were wicked totally, they finished with Paranoid by Black Sabbath, with Everclear helping. They were really good too.

[silverchair] were real cool, they kept getting hit by water bottles, and they played the bird song, and a Black Flag cover, and their new stuff rawks totally. And Ben mooned the crowd. The drummer from Everclear [Greg Eklund] was wearing a Swans jumper; he's going to wear a North one up in Sydney tonight. [Relayed by Andrew]