Photos by Dan Soderstrom
It’s great to have them back.
The Forum was filled to the brim on Tuesday October 15, as crowds flocked to see Lismore rock band and inaugural winners of triple j Unearthed, Grinspoon, perform before a fanatical crowd.
The supporting lineup of Bugs, The Gooch Palms and The Hard Aches proved that Australian rock is very much still alive, as old met new in the perfect rock showcase.
Fronted by Phil Jamieson, Joe Hansen (bass guitar), Pat Davern (guitar) and Kristian Hopes (drums), Grinspoon’s stage presence and chemistry was electric. There is no denying Jamieson is a certified ‘dilf’ and all the ladies in the crowd knew this, as they became giddy with excitement every time he leapt into the air during a song.
The crowd were gen-xcellent and brought an unbelievable atmosphere for a Tuesday night gig – moshing alongside a bunch of dads was surprisingly easy-going and there was no need to worry about being spear tackled mid pit here.
Grinspoon opened with ‘DCx3’, which for those unfamiliar stands for ‘dead cat three times’. The song is gritty and unassuming and brought an exciting energy to the venue. ‘Lost Control’ followed soon after and was no less extraordinary, captivating the audience and bringing on the obligatory one finger rock salute.
Following on from the classics from renowned albums Guide to Better Living and New Detention, Jamieson announced that they will play four songs from their second album, 1999’s Easy, for the simple reason that they like playing them. It’s obvious why, the throaty bass line in ‘Ready1’ and ‘Rock Show (You Don’t Know Me)’ was striking and flooded punters back to the cherished early days of the band.
One of the best parts of attending a greatest hits show is that you can easily track the transformation of Grinspoon’s sound from ’90s grunge to noughties pop-punk. Jamieson also looked back on their journey, reminiscing on how Grinspoon first started making music 22 years ago – making most feel old, and rendering me an infant.
From there, Jamieson suddenly exited the stage before reappearing from behind the crowd as some kind of back-lit angel. Some might have confused the experience with passing on and seeing the light; especially if they’d had a few beforehand. Nevertheless, Jamieson then launched divinely into song, playing an acoustic version of ‘Repeat’, reminding the audience of just how versatile Grinspoon can be.
Following the regular set, Grinspoon left the stage before predictably re-emerging for an encore – within minutes, Grinspoon were back in their rightful positions on stage. They let loose with the tour’s namesake song and longtime favourite, ‘Chemical Heart’. Albeit a classic choice to kick off the finale, some might’ve felt this would’ve been more suitably reserved for ‘Comeback’, the classic track from their 2009 album, Six to Midnight.
Nevertheless, the crowd certainly didn’t feel same way as they belted out the lyrics, “Can’t get started chemical heart/every time I get started you pull me apart” in cheerful unison. The crowd’s enthusiasm didn’t waver for the last few songs of the night, as they formed a death mosh, pushing and shoving to ‘Champion’.
Grinspoon ended the night with a bang, performing ‘More Than You Are’. As sparks rained down onto the stage in what can only be described as a beautiful fire hazard, the night ended, and the crowd wandered out of The Forum through a cheery haze of conversation – Grinspoon are still a crucially unrivalled Australian band.
Highlight: Watching someone as old as my dad crowd surf and everyone getting around it.
Lowlight: Being covered in sweat that wasn’t my own.
Crowd favourite: It had to be when Grinspoon came back on stage to perform ‘Chemical Heart’.