In 1997, there were 3 things you needed for high school. Text books, pens and a exceptional knowledge of every single lyric of Grinspoon’s debut album ‘Guide To Better Living’. But leave the stationary at home, because tonight’s sold out show at The Tivoli only calls for one of these items.
Brisbane based trio Good Boy open tonight’s proceedings. Their clean guitar and grooving bass lines provide the perfect set-up for what inevitably will follow. These lads certainly pack a punch that seems to be influenced by the pop punk of the 90’s, drumming up memories of bands playing their debut set at the Homebake’s and Livid’s of yesteryear. It’s easy to see how these Brisbane locals earned their spot on the bill, with an energy that wouldn’t have been out of place in the local and national scene of 1995. Definitely keep these guys on your radar.
Hockey Dad keep the crowd buzzed with their unique surf pop style that has earned the duo a solid fan base around the country. Scratchy, raw, distorted guitar work and fantastic drumming that would put Animal from The Muppets to shame, gives this duo a brilliant quality that has been void of the local scene for so long. The set has everything, fast paced, energetic songs that get the crowd moving, a ‘surgeon’ to assist with technical issues on singer/guitarist Zach Stephensons rig mid set and even Stephensons’ faux pas proclamation of ‘We’ve never played The Triffid before’. These guys take it all in good stride and continue with a stellar performance.
We all pack into the main hall as we anticipate the arrival of Grinners, spilling out into the foyer and jostling for a spot on the mezzanine, we are ready for anything and everything they throw at us. As Phil struts out onto the stage, the crowd erupts. Launching into a full scaled assault on the eardrums with ‘Pressure Tested 1984’, it’s easy to see why the Lismore boys have stayed a favourite with so many fans over the years. Bands come and go, but Grinspoon still whip a gathering into a frenzy by means of a combination of Pat’s heavily distorted, grinding guitar, Joe’s soul penetrating bass, Kristian’s feverish drumming and all perfectly complimented by Phil’s signature vocals that I’m sure are the envy of a lot of seasoned heavy metal vocalists.
Running through the tracks of one of the 90’s most iconic albums, the guys don’t miss a step. Giving us their all for ‘DCX3’, everyone sings along like they don’t care if they have no voice in the morning (and you know what? neither do I). Bringing it down a little (but not too much) for ‘Scalped’, it feels like we’re in for quite the night of epic 90’s aussie power rock as next up we have our arses kicked by the brutal force of ‘Pedestrian’.
From ‘Just Ace’ right through to ‘Champion’, these homegrown heroes have not lost one bit of steam from the reckoning force that is the Grinspoon train. Pat controls his axe with all the skill that you’d expect from such an accomplished musician. Kristian beats the skins like a man embodied by the patron saint of Rock ‘n Roll himself. Joe’s bass work is without fault, bringing the crowd to groove-tastic fever pitch. Phil’s swagger and charismatic presence shows that he is one of the greatest frontman in Australian rock since Barnsie’s Cold Chisel days. Sing-alongs, crowd participation, ball kicking rock, we have it all in one convenient place tonight.
The encore reads like a fan wrote it for the band themselves. Building from ‘Protest’ and leading right into ‘Chemical Heart’ we hear a treasure trove of the Grinners we all know and love. The boys give their all for ‘A 1000 Miles’ and the crowd returns the favour with a chanting of ‘THRILLS, CHILLS AND SUNDAY PILLS WOAH-OH!!’ during ‘Hard Act To Follow’.
Rounding out the show by means of ‘More Than You Are’ the crowd shows the lads what Brisbane has to offer with every fibre of their being and summoning the last of the energy that they have. With only 2 more years until the 20th anniversary of their follow up album ‘Easy’. It gives us all plenty of time to rest our aching bones and stressed vocal chords. Bring on the ‘20 Years of being Easy’ tour.
Photos by Dan Maynard