Overflowing with energy and power, Grinspoon delivered a passionate performance that undoubtedly left older fans satisfied, and younger fans refreshed. For a band celebrating a 20-year album anniversary, these alternative rock heroes are just as relevant now as they ever were.
This year marks 20 years since the release of the rocker’s debut album, ‘Guide To Better Living’, which landed at #11 on the ARIA charts of 1997. To celebrate the record that shaped their career, the post-grunge four-piece stopped by Geelong’s Wool Exchange to perform one of 27 smashing shows on their ’20 Years of Better Living’ national tour.
Dressed in leather and denim all round, the group powered through their album set-list, delivering one of the tightest shows this city has ever been treated to. Lead singer Phil Jamieson completely owned the venue with his punching vocals and flowing stage presence, guiding the audience through a timeless performance. Beginning with their metal-inspired album opener ‘Pressure Tested 1984’, Grinspoon worked their way through their famous tracks including ‘Boundary’, ‘DCx3’ and the song that sealed triple j’s inaugural ‘Unearthed’ competition in 1995, ‘Sickfest’.
The atmosphere they created was intense, pulsing and electric. Fans young and young at heart jumped, pushed and banged heads together, circling in the mosh. Jamieson only lasted five songs before stripping off his jacket, wiping sweat-soaked strands of hair from his face as he pranced the stage. Bassist Joe Hansen acted like a front man of his own – bobbing and rocking with such enthusiasm and drive, forcing drummer Kristian Hopes to only push harder.
Perhaps the most noticeable aspect of Grinspoon’s performance wasn’t the resurrection of their chart-topping singles, but the chemistry between the four musicians – it really was something exciting and powerful, to both watch and participate in this reunion of close friends.
Fans were far from disappointed, echoing and chanting the lyrics word-for-word the entire set. Notably, the pounding of the mirrored bass and guitar riffs in ‘Champion’, as well as the infectious bouncing rhythm of ‘Pedestrian’ were welcomed with arms held high and wide.
Just when it all seemed to wrap up and the quartet left the stage, a quick outfit change into a white open-collared shirt and dark blazer allowed Jamieson to re-enter with an acoustic guitar. Soon joined by the rest of the band, they launched into a range of classics from other records, including the swaying favourite ‘Chemical Heart’, and the heavier ‘Lost Control’. Each member was filled with energy and passion, never letting down for even a split second. That’s what couldn’t be faulted on Thursday night; that even after 20 years, this band is still living and breathing their love for music. After a high-intensity guitar battle between Jamieson and lead guitarist Pat Davern, Grinspoon finally closed their anniversary set with the huge and fast ‘More Than You Are’.
Finishing the night to resounding screaming and applauding, Australia’s favourite alternative rockers showed us that time hasn’t impacted them or their music. Their ‘20 Years of Better Living’ tour can only be described as timeless, energetic and full of heart. If a band can play the same songs to adoring crowds over two decades, they must be doing something right – Grinspoon clearly proved they are just as relevant now as they ever were.
Where: Wool Exchange Entertainment Complex
When: Thursday August 3
Special guests: My Echo, Hockey Dad
Reviewed by Zach Edwards
Photography by Patrick Callow