After playing to a sold out crowd in Fremantle it was round two in WA for the legendary Aussie rockers Grinspoon and the line into Perth’s Metro City was growing by the second.
Patrons eagerly piled into the venue and were met with first act of the night Brisbane’s feel good punk trio “Bugs” who proved that the twang of our Aussie accent paired with indie rock riffs really is an unbeatable combination. Their catchy summer vibes and feel good stage presence was exactly what the crowd needed to warm up to after waiting in the blistering cold, with their set coming to an end frontman Connor Brooker said “This is a song about not taking yourself too seriously, it’s called seriously” which perfectly summed up their performance as a bunch of mates just up there having fun.
Next up we had Newcastle’s The Gooch Palms whose music was just as intense and powerful as their image. Singer/guitarist Leroy Macqueen sported an impressive fit that consisted of a nike sports bra and tartan skirt he proudly announced he found in Perth that day. The Gooch Palms are like the B52’s if they grew up in Newy and found punk rock, or if The Rocky Horror Picture Show was set in the northern Sydney suburb. Drummer Kat Friend stood playing a set up of a snare, cymbal and bass drum not only was she impressive and entertaining to watch as a musician but she also provides the perfect balance to Macqueen’s lunatic behaviour, with her witty quips and onstage banter it’s clear these guys were destined to create music together, Friend took the reins for one track stating “This one’s called busy bleeding, this goes out to all of those that bleed once a month.” Inclusiveness is awesome and the amount of representation of women during this entire lineup made me feel so welcome and safe. Towards the end, Macqueen showcased his impressively diverse vocal range dedicating the iconic chorus of Whitney Houston’s “I Will Always Love You” to the crowd before introducing their last track “Ask Me Why” which he hilariously dedicated to a particular demographic saying “This one goes out to all the men, keep your hands to yourselves and no means no you fuck heads.”
Last support act of the night were The Hard Aches from Adelaide who played a more mature indie punk with story-telling lyrics that hit home for a lot of us. Vocalist and guitarist Ben David made an important statement introducing their track “Wasted” as a song about looking after yourself, your friends and your mental health because “what else have we got?” With the chorus in particular resonating with me “I’ve wasted too much of my time getting wasted and losing my mind.” Using your platform to spread positivity like this is something I have a huge amount of respect for, the music industry is full of negative messages or lyrical content that encourages a party lifestyle but these guys create the exact kind of music that makes you wanna check up on your mates, head down to the beach, enjoy the sun together and make sure you’re all alright. After powering through a few tracks David made it clear he was unhappy with the crowds interaction making the remark “and the crowd goes fucking mild! Are you guys excited to see Grinspoon? I mean obviously you didn’t pay to see us, you paid to see them. At least we’re having fun though.” Maybe the sold out show the night before set the bar a little too high for the guys, all in all they’re a fantastic band who put on a great show.
The stage began clearing and the roadies worked hard positioning speakers and creating a podium that was presumably in place for the always extravagant frontman Phil Jamieson to make his grand entrance. The crowd were growing restless and began chanting for the headliners “Grinspoon-Grinspoon” after what seemed like an incredibly long wait, the lights dimmed and the members began pouring onto the stage Kristian Hopes taking his place on drums, Pat Davern and his unmissable hat taking to front left and Joe Hansen hobbled onto the stage taking a seat which was later explained as apparently he “done himself a mischief last night in Fremantle.” Finally the stage light up, Jamieson appeared on the podium with smoke billowing from the stage and the first note of their iconic track “DCx3” had the crowd going absolutely crazy. Fans were treated to a massive 22 song nostalgia filled setlist, one look around and you could see just how diverse this crowd was which cemented the fact that Grinspoon are a band that were able to create music that not only appealed to the listeners when they first began but continued to resonate with people over time.
The crowd belted out every single track and after powering through “Hard Act To Follow” we were given a second to recharge with Jamieson disappeared from the stage, Davern held the crowds interest with his ever impressive guitar skills, a few minutes after the spotlight shot into the crowd and Jamieson appeared belting out their softer ballad “Minute by Minute”, the crowd I was standing with rushed forward hoping to get a closer look at the frontman and join in on the intimate moment. Despite the calibre of his celebrity, the crowd were incredibly respectful and Jamieson’s vocals weren’t disrupted – it’s crazy just how impressive this band is live, even after all these years Davern’s musicianship is still absolutely superb and blows my mind, Hansen’s bass tones were half the reason I wanted to pick one up and the man is happy to play even on crutches, Hopes never missed a beat and Jamieson’s energy levels never depleted, he’s as entertaining to watch as he is to listen to. Jamieson took on guitar duties with his right-hand man Davern this time to play their cover of INXS’ “Don’t Change” which the crowd adored, this was seemingly the last track of the night as they made their exit. The crowd was not having this and demanded an encore, after eagerly awaiting their return Grinspoon came back on this time to blue lighting flooding the stage, I mean really how could they have ended the night without playing the song this whole tour is named after? The guitar notes to “Chemical Heart” began and once again the crowd went absolutely wild, all of us were singing and swaying together and just taking in the positive vibes surrounding us. This show was about delivering their whole fanbase a set they can really enjoy and all join in on, I loved seeing just how much everyone was enjoying this, seeing groups of men jumping around with their mates, screaming the lyrics with each other and grinning ear to ear had me absolutely beaming and thinking to myself “this is exactly what music is about, togetherness.”
All of a sudden the song had ended and the iconic bass tone to one of their much heavier tracks “Champion” begun, how anyone still had energy to bounce around to this one after the previous 22 songs was beyond me but boy did we get our moneys worth. The song finished and Jamieson spotted a commotion in the crowd, running to the side of stage directly in front shouting “Can we get some lights, what the fuck’s going on here? Hey (sic) seccies? Who ruined somebodies night? You find that guy?” Although it was out of my line of sight, footage later surfaced showing a stage-diver who seriously misjudged the gap between the stage and the crowd which resulted in a member of the crowd copping a flying knee to the face. I hope the injuries weren’t too serious and that the person who got called out by Phil Jamieson never forgets that embarrassing moment and never attempts that again. The energy felt a little dulled after that incident but Grinspoon weren’t going to let this ruin anyone’s night and treated us all to a final track “More Than You Are”
Drenched in sweat but still cheery Jamieson thanked the crowd “Thank you very much from the bottom of our chemical hearts, we are Grinspoon, thank you.”
Make sure you catch one of the remaining shows on this massive national tour, I guarantee you’re going to walk away from the show with some new favourite bands and a huge amount of respect for Grinspoon. 24 years later and these guys are still playing some of the best live shows I’ve had the pleasure of watching.