Local chanteuse Ella Fence was the opener for Phil Jamieson’s solo set at soundlounge on Friday night, and while it may have been freezing outside, the golden-voiced Gold Coast girl got things heated up in a steamy set that included singles ‘Dancer’ and ‘Cocaine’ and was frequently interspersed with her characteristically wry humour. Brisbane acoustic artist Beth Lucas was next, with the singer / songwriter showing off her significant vocal chops to a growing crowd of old school nineties alt-rock fans.
The man Phil Jamieson himself stepped out on stage around 20 minutes late, immaculate in a cream suit and simply holding a half size semi-acoustic as he launched in ‘Sweet As Sugar’. The crowd swayed and sang, entranced by the powerful presence and suprisingly full sound of this lone man and his wee guitar. Phil Jamieson, as lead vocalist and guitarist for the beloved Grinspoon, has long been one of Australian rock’s most revered front men, and when you remove the noise surrounding him, it’s even easier to see why. Born for the stage, the cheeky Jamieson gave a welcome nod to the seminal 1997 ‘Guide to Better Living’ album with ‘Bad Funk Stripe’ and ‘She’s Leaving Tuesday’, two audience faves. The majority of the Grinspoon discography was acknowedged, with ‘Black Tattoo’, ‘No Reason’ (howls from the singing crowd), ‘Minute by Minute’, ‘Comeback’, the bittersweet ‘Better Off Alone’ and ‘Black Friday’ all getting a workout before he finished off the solo portion of the evening with a cover of Bryan Adams’ ‘We’re In Heaven’.
With the exception of ‘Better Off Alone’, which is designed to be played solo and slow, I had never heard the other tracks sans the wild shredding of criminally underrated Grinspoon guitarist Pat Davern, let alone without bass and drums. The stripped-back set revealed a deeper side not just to Jamieson as a performer but also as an incredible songwriter. Removed of all accompaniment, his songwriting and melodies were allowed to shine, giving all present a wistful nostalgia for the heady Grinspoon golden years.
A bass player and drummer came out and began what we’ll call the country-ish portion of the evening, which was this nanna’s cue to bail. But the ride home was full of the catchy hooks and ringing melodies that made Grinspoon such a household name in Australia, back in the day. After all, it’s hardly a comeback if you’ve never gone, and for one, I hope Phil Jamieson never goes. Nice job soundlounge.