Mention the band Grinspoon to anyone who grew up in the grunge music scene of the 1990’and watch their eyes immediately light up as they regale you with stories of the first time they saw the band, or listened to their albums. Fast forward twenty or so years and Grinspoon are still lighting up eyes and hearts across Australia. The original four piece is still intact, with Pat Davern on lead guitar, Khris Hopes on drums, Joe Hansen on bass and the enigmatic frontman, Phil Jamieson, and believe or not, they seem as lively and passionate about their music than ever.
Although The Star seemed an unusual venue for their renowned energetic and albeit, loose gigs, Gold Coast fans didn’t let the allocated seating arrangements stop them from abandoning their belongings and packing out the small mosh pit floor, cramming into the aisles or just standing wherever they were allowed to, in order to rock out to the band that we’d all been waiting for to tour again. Looking sharp as ever in a dapper, crisp white suit, Phil took to the stage like a fish takes to water, luring the crowd in from the word go and leaving every single person in the room gasping for air.
Kicking off with ‘Dead Cat’, Grinspoon wasted no time in firing up the crowd and as Phil strutted around, leaping off amplifiers and dragging the microphone pole around like it was an ice cream cone, the hits kept rolling. ‘Lost Control’ and the old-school favourite, ‘Pedestrian’ showcased the tightness and solidity of the four piece, which was only heightened by the incredible stage lighting show. It’s funny, as until you actually see a Grinspoon gig, you forget just how many great hits they have, it is literally song after song of head banging, shout-along good fun and not wanting to disappoint, the Gold Coast crowd really turned it on for ‘Rainbows’ and ‘Post Enebriated Anxiety’, dedicated to their very first manager who happened to be in the crowd. Cooling the overheated moshers slightly with ‘Secret’, ‘Hard Act to Follow’ and ‘Better Off Alone’ the camaraderie between the band was strikingly obvious, and the fact they all appeared to be having a great time together after 24 of making music was endearing to say the least.
“This song is about how the music industry is full of thieves and manipulators” Phil announced, with perhaps a touch of bitterness and an ironic smile, before launching into ‘Rockshow’ and ‘Ready 1’. As the others held a tight, fast-paced instrumental moment, Phil meanwhile immersed himself into the audience for a touching, acoustic rendition of ‘Sweet as Sugar’, which could have sweetened any lemon. With the rowdy crowd mesmerised into silent awe, his unique voice and stage presence drew the mosh pit to a standstill, one that didn’t fire up again until ‘Black Friday’, which although Phil proclaimed ‘this song works better on Friday night, but we’ll give it a good hard go on a Thursday’ the Gold Coast crowd gave it one of the best good hard goes a mosh pit has seen in awhile. As each song seamlessly flowed into the next, the guys wrapped up their set with ‘1000 Miles’and their foot-stomping cover of INXS’ ‘Don’t Change’.
While we all stopped to get our breath back, the anticipation of an encore was high and Grinspoon exceeded expectations. As Phil stepped out, looking as fresh as the first track of the show, the audience went wild as they launched straight into ‘Chemical Heart’, a definite anthem of the early 2000’s. Yet there was more, just when you thought every hit had been belted out, the band showed us that ‘Champion’ and ‘More Than You Are’ was how you finished up in style one of their best tours yet. As paper heart confetti exploded from the walls, dousing the sweat-drenched mosh pit, hope of a future tour was on the lips of everyone, as it was without a doubt that Grinspoon were not only a hard act to follow, but had also stolen our hearts.
Images (C) Brendan Shanahan Photography