Silverchair w/ We Are the Fury

Sunday, 25 November 2007

There’s something to be said about going to a concert by yourself. Because I tend to hate those obligatory awkward moments standing by myself and pretending to check phone messages I don’t really have—I usually travel with a small entourage. But since the teeny venue sold out quickly (the performance was a rescheduled date after the summer cancellations due to Silverchair’s Daniel Johns’ throat infection), I was forced to suck it up and rock it solo. And you know what? I had a good time: a free drink, an amazing view from the incomparable, wrist band-only balcony and some solid music.

And because I had no one to meet or look good for or have pre-concert dinner with, I was unexpectedly on time. I actually caught the entire opening act, We Are the Fury, and was pleasantly surprised. All five band members—Jeremy Lublin on vocals, Chris Hatfield on guitar, Alan Hoffar on bass, Stephan Lublin on drums and Todd Wehrle on keyboard—hail from Toledo, Ohio, but look like they just walked out of a glam rock-meets-pop-punk music video. Skinny jeans and fashion mullets abound. Disappointingly, the quintet’s equipment was squeezed in almost on top of Silverchair’s, meaning they had an area of about 10 feet by three feet to recreate the bravado of their first full-length LP Venus. The androgynous Jeremy Lublin commented on the lack of space more than once, but made due as he jumped in place and fell backwards onto the stage. Lublin’s vocals mix a throaty, sexy snarl of a voice with almost Gwen Stefani-like falsetto. On “Grand Divider,” the singer actually requested lighters in the air, but most of the audience pulled out cell phones instead. Besides promoting the most recent album, the band also played tracks like “Nation, Forgive Us,” a musically well-balanced apology to the U.S. for being young and stupid, from their previous EP, Infinite Jest, before ending with Venus track “Now You Know.”

It’s hard to know where to start when you’re talking about Silverchair. I think it does them a disservice to talk about the past—how they were teens in 95 when Frogstomp was in everyone’s CD players (and probably a few tape decks as well), how lead singer Daniel Johns suffered a very public battle with anorexia a few years later, etc.—because it doesn’t mention how remarkably well they’ve grown up, musically and otherwise. When the Australian trio (a very healthy-looking Johns plus Chris Joannou on bass and Ben Gillies on drums) took the stage with two guest keyboard/piano players, the crowd showed them no less appreciation—be it 1995 or 2007—as they’d receive in any of the huge arenas they play overseas. Swirling red lights and a siren blared over a heart beat-like rhythm ushered in “Young Modern Station” from their recent release Young Modern. Johns earned his title as one of Rolling Stones’ most underrated guitarists during a critical solo in the title track when he actually held his guitar to his face and played with his teeth. The set list covered the band’s full career, spanning all five albums and including songs such as “Ana’s Song (Open Fire)” from Neon Ballroom, “The Greatest View” from Diorama and “The Door” from Freakshow. “Reflections of a Sound” from Young Modern highlighted the almost Beatles-like pop hooks and instrumentation that scatter the new album. During Frogstomp’s “Israel’s Son,” Johns prompted the audience to throw up their hands, which they did obligingly. The singer’s energy and charisma built a sharp crescendo throughout the evening, peaking with an encore of “Freak” from Freakshow that featured a shirtless Johns, with nipple rings glinting in the overhead lights, writhing on the ground with his guitar to his teeth again.

The only downfall? No “Tomorrow.” I know, I know, and I don’t blame them either, but I would have enjoyed a little junior high nostalgia. Especially when I had to go home alone.

More on Silverchair here:

Check out the insane Presets remix of "Straight Lines" here:

More on We Are the Fury here:

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