Davies Park - Brisbane, Australia (Livid Festival)

Livid Festival
Set List:

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


I got there around 1 p.m., and watched Ammonia play for about 20 minutes. The sun was very hot, the temperature was 27 degrees Celsius (I was regretting spending my only $5 on a program instead of drinks), and even though Ammonia were good, most of the crowd hadn't arrived, and most didn't recognise the songs, except Drugs, which had everyone rocking.

The Jesus Lizard were next and I quickly got out of the mosh pit. They acted, looked and sounded like Pantera, whom I totally hate with a passion. The lead singer decided to crowd surf several times which wsa the only highlight.

Around 3:15 p.m., I moved back to the main stage to be ready for Brisbane local heroes Regurgitator. They were brilliant, and starting 25 metres back, I pushed up into the mosh pit and ended about a metre from the rail. It was the best fun, and I stayed there for 20 minutes, before I got knocked down by a crowdsurfer, had three others collapse onto me, and lost my shoes before being dragged up. Still it was fun, but I had to get my shoes (don't ask me how, but I did get them back) and get outta there! At this time of day, with the sun blaring, it was just too damn hot to stay there any longer, so I recovered out to about 20 metres away again, and enjoyed the rest of the show. Regurgitator were spot on and really entertained the crowd. I could see the side of stage waiting area clearly, and saw Daniel, Art Alexakis from Everclear) and Ben all enjoying it too. This was a definite highlight of the Livid Festival.

Despite being hot and probably sun burnt thoroughly by 4:30 p.m. when they finished, I hung around for a while, knowing the sun would soon be down and in 45 minutes time, Everclear would be on. Getting a vantage point, centre stage, about where the edge of the mosh was for The 'Gurge, I lay down and collected some more rays. Everclear came on and played an awesome set. They had the crowd singing the verses of Heroin Girl, mucked around a lot and had a big mosh going. At one point, Art said, "Do you know who's on next? Someone called silver-who?"

Crowd: "CHAIR!"

Art: "Oh, silverchair! When they come out, get Daniel to pull down his pants, he's got a surprise for ya's -- it's a tattoo right on his dick! It says, 'I'm young, but I'm ready!'

Much laughter followed, and in the end, everclear ended up as another highlight of the day.

After Everclear, Powderfinger (another great Brisbane band) were on the second stage, so many people moved off to see them, but I hung around, coz silverchair were on in only 45 minutes time, and it was getting dark. I looked around for my friends, to offload my bag to them, so I could mosh. I couldn't find them, so I moved up to about three metres from the rail to mosh anyway. I picked a spot with about 15 teenage girls, whom I, at only 5'10", towered over. This was cool, until about 10 minutes before the show when the big beefy guys moved in. Is there a statistic about the percentage of over 6-foot, muscly guys in the population, that end up in mosh pits? It must be 90 percent of them at least!

With the sound system pumping out RHCP's One Hot Minute, there was much singing and anticipation for the 'chair. The amps marked "camel mothers" and "llamas revenge" werre in place, and then silverchair came out to much screaming and yelling. The mosh started before they did, and Slave opened with some cool guitar and bass distortions. Unfortunately for me, my bag saw me pushed and crushed in seas of people, struggling to stand up. It took me all of the next song, Leave Me Out, to get out of there, but what the hell, it was fun.

Slightly out of the mosh, but still in amongst people willing to mosh in the heavier bits, I was able to stand back and enjoy the rest of the show. From there, I was able to do some moshing. During the third song, Freak, Daniel was astounded when the lights flashed over the whole crowd -- it was huge. The mosh was crazy for the first three songs, and didn't stop as they launched into Faultline, the pride and joy of mailing lists far and wide, with a slightly altered starting riff, and an awesome lead up to the final verse, and another extended "fuck you" finish, this song was again the highlight for me. It was simply awesome -- better than the night before, with huge numbers moshing.

After this, Daniel said, "Thanks, hi everyone, yeah, here's a song, you gotta keep rocking but, doing whatever you're doing, keep going all night -- be fucking animals!" They then headed into Suicidal Dream, which was just beautiful. It was so perfect it could have been the studio version. Routinely, Ben and Chris then left, and Daniel said, "I'm going to sing the next one by myself, I dunno why. I didn't wanna fucking do it." He then got into Cemetery. Everyone was quiet, no mosh, and they watched. Then a dickhead who wanted to mosh, threw an orange that hit Daniel on the shoulder and stopped him. He then screamed, "I'm gonna come down and kick all ya fucking arses... that's it, ya fucked, I'm gonna kick all of ya, when ya keep fucking throwing, you don't know how many things I've copped in the head lately, I mean fuck, I'm starting to get a headache. I'll continue from that point." And he did just that, he continued the song from the same note he stopped, to much clapping from the crowd. This was awesome -- not many musicians can stop mid-song and pick it up from the same note. I know Pearl Jam do it a lot when the mosh gets too heavy. Add Daniel Johns and silverchair to that elite group of musicians who can. He finished it to much clapping and concluded by saying, "Thanks, thanks for the orange juice too, it was very fucking nice... so nice, it... fucking hell, someone's gonna cop it in a second."

He then started Tomorrow, stopped to tune up his guitar, and then they played the song, which had the whole crowd singing and moshing. It too was beautiful, and very well played by them, with a slightly altered drum riff during the first verse, and then a heavier first chorus to get the mosh going. Then they stopped for the solo and the faster chorus again, and a slow second verse before getting up to full speed by the chorus. It was a very cool version.

Following this, Daniel said, "Everybody, look at the person next to them, and if they were a guy, at how big their penis is and tell me, coz ben is having a competition with everyone, he says his dick is bigger than everyone out there."

After this, the show picked up pace, and they rocked through The Door, which had the mosh going for awhile, even though few had heard it. When I say, pace, I mean pace, because after The Door was the fastest, rockingest, moshingest trio of songs that possibly could be. Pure Massacre had everyone moshing and singing. Madman had everyone crazy as the band ran around silly, and it didn't stop there, following up with Israel's Son. There was no real break between the songs. The mosh was continuous, and there were literally thousands of hands in the air by the end, each proclaiming they were Israel's son. Awesome FUN is the best way to describe it. Following this, Daniel said they would do one more song, and Everclear were going to sing it. Then followed the most awwesome sight I'd ever seen at a show (better than last night's Twinkle Twinkle Little Star!) Everclear came out, and silverchair played Black Sabbath's Paranoid as Art sang it. Everclear's drummer was bashing on the cymbols beside Ben. Then during the final musical mosh bit, Art screamed, "Let's all riot!" and they ran around, Art tackling Daniel and Chris to the ground, the other guy joining in, and they kept doing this around the stage at each other. Then Art got Daniel's guitar and was chased around for it. Daniel tackled him and got it back, holding it up in triumph. They smashed the microphone stand, an amp, and genearlly rioted on stage. It was very funny and cool! It ended with Ben and Everclear's drummer kicking the whole kit into a mess strewn across the stage, and drumsticks thrown into the crowd. One word for the show: AWESOME!

Highlights of the Livid set: perfect execution on everything, great crowd and mosh throughout, Everclear on the last song, Faultline (again!), FUN had by all, Cemetery, seeing Daniel's red guitar from five metres away (all I could make out was a sticker which said "Circus Animals: Caged, Abused, Tortured" --- maybe this is some clue to the llama theme of frogstomp). Disappointments: the same set as the night before (it would be nice when they do consecutive shows in the same city to play different songs in a different order at the shows. I think, given the general nature of the Livid crowd, that the set for the Festival Hall show specifically for silverchair should have had different new songs like Roses rather than the same ones, especially since most of the Festival Hall crowd would be at Livid as well, and it also could have been slightly longer, cos at Livid, they only have a set time period, but not at Festival Hall.) Other than that, the orange-incident sucked, but wasn't silverchair's fault!

Time Out magazine, Brisbane -- October 9, 1996

Livid Festival, Davies Park, October 5, 1996

A finer day could not have dawned for Livid '96, and the thousands who made their way to West End did so in perfect conditions. Memories of a crowded Davies Park last year made me view the approaching afternoon with trepidation, but the people flow remained steady and calm throughout, and the players' and spectators' comfort levels stayed high.

Opening the day's events were Mr Blonde. Their own brand of cool retro-flavoured pop really hit the spot and allowed those who had turned up early to begin the day slowly. Gaslight Radio kicked off on the second stage with an inspired set, Chimney Red effortlessly taking one of our handful of 'Song of the Day' prizes. Shock Fungus waxed poetic and powerful on the Zoo stage, while Crop Circles fired folks up good and early with a high-energy pop set - while proving that left-handed guitarists do it better.

Turtlebox pounded out some ferocious rock that verged on hardcore but retained plenty of melody. The Mark of Cain got the first big crowd of the day with their typically relentless set and dead-on rhythm. By this stage (after midday) it was already becoming apparent that one of the highlights of the day was going to be the fine mist of water descending from the hoses in trees behind the Livid Lounge -- cooling off became a communal ritual. Another big highlight was the set from Precision Oiler. "Who are you?" someone yelled. "It doesn't matter who we are," said mind-boggling drummer Dave Atkins. "Just enjoy it." And it was impossible not to. Their high-energy funk, delivered with world-class musicianship and otherworldly inspiration, was one of the day's watersheds.

Pollyanna drew a huge crowd, proof that many people had come to see the Australian end of the lineup. They didn't disappoint, and the moshing began. Ben Lee, meanwhile, was displaying far too much talent for somebody not long out of high-school, as well as being one of the few people ever to sing a song about Ernest Hemingway without sounding like a wanker. Blowhard were vile, boorish and horrendously dressed, but more fun than free beer. They might not be particularly insightful, but they're incredibly entertaining -- and the last time I checked, that was still what rock'n'roll was about.

Louis Tillett and Charlie Owen could play anywhere, at any time, and still stop you in your tracks -- while the Dream Poppies are continually getting better at that themselves. Snout play with the energy and aplomb of a band who has been around much longer. The crowd sang along to the hit singles -- of which there are more than one expects. The Jesus Lizard were as menacing as expected -- and David Yow every bit as maniacal. He began with his obligatory crowd-surf while singing, but was I the only one that noticed a "here we go again" look on his face just before he leapt off stage?

Ash suffer a bit from three-piecism -- the tendency to lean to the heavy and the grunge -- when in fact their forte is the catchy pop song. They followed their breakthrough hit single Goldfinger with Abba's Does Your Mother Know -- but precious few of the screaming horde showed any sign of recognition. Indigo Husk played in place of the injured Paradise Motel (who were involved in a road accident on the way to Brisbane), while an overwhelming preponderance of punters moved towards the main stage to see Regurgitator. Unlike simpler bands like Ammonia and Ash, Regurgitator surprisingly didn't translate well to this super-large setting. They would follow explosive thrash with soft pianissimos, but you couldn't hear the quiet bits at all. Powderfinger conclusively proved that the Brisbane and Australian talent was the equal or better of any of our international visitors, while the Blackeyed Susans played an incredibly evocative set to a small but appreciative gathering. Their version of Springsteen's State Trooper is indeed better than The Boss'.

Civ were going head to head with Everclear, but managed to satisfy the punk faithful. Everclear look a little like they'd play whatever kind of music was fashionable, but all such suspicions are allayed by some pretty damned dynamic playing. Using all the stage, they wind up with Heroin Girl and Santa Monica back to back -- sadly, AC/DC's Sin City (they do a WICKED version) was nowhere in sight. Tumbleweed were in fine form, and must take credit for the mosh of the day. The day the 'Weed doesn't get the crowd into a frenzy, Satan will ice-skate to work.

silverchair: The boys from Newcastle played much the same set as the previous night at Festival Hall, but with more majesty in this larger space. The 'chair hailed one of their strongest influences in their set-closer, Black Sabbath's Paranoid. Everclear were invited back onto the stage, and glorious mayhem ensued.

Weezer are a good band (and one of the only four-pieces on the bill) but there's something a bit woolly about their simple songs and their performance tonight... Garbage prove that there are new things under the sun, and Insurge were one of the day's big surprises. They combine enough midi-programmed repetition to get ravers dancing, and enough rock guts in their live rhythm section to start heads banging in more rockular fans.

A long day, but a good one -- and a good practise session for the festival fever of December and January. Let's hope the standard stays this high.