Review by Andrea Royston
In July we got to speak to Kris Hopes from the one and only Grinspoon. Kris indicated big things were in place for the then upcoming Chemical Hearts tour. Not that you would ever doubt that Grinspoon wouldn’t deliver, but the bands show on Wednesday was yet another reminder that these guys know how to rock!
After being apart for a short period of time to do their own thing, the band reunited, and it didn’t take them long to announce the Chemical Hearts tour. “After spending that time apart, we kind of realised that we actually do like each other”, Kris joked.
The idea behind this tour originally started off with compiling a ‘best of’ collection, which quickly led the band to announcing a national tour. “We figured if we were going to do that then we may as well play some shows”.
Within hours of these tickets going on sale they were sold out. The band didn’t hesitate to announce another show that took place the night before.
A large crowd flocked to the Forum nice and early and got to see three support acts – yes that is right, three support acts! First up was Bugs. These Brisbane mates had a huge 2018 when they supported some big names in music. Described as ‘seriously snappy’, this indie pop punk band welcomed early comers and got the night moving. Next up were The Gooch Palms and The Hard Aches. All support acts put on ripper sets and amped the crowd up for the main act.
The lights dimmed and within minutes lit up with a glowing banner that read GRINSPOON. The crowd roared as the band took the stage and without delay the band kick started their killer set with ‘DCX3’. The electric riffs and thumping beat of the drums was a fitting opener for this set. The guys just kept rolling out the tunes with hardly any pause between each song. It was like one big opener consisting of other crowd favourites, ‘Lost Control’, ‘Sickfest’ and ‘Just Ace’. Frontman Phil Jamieson greeted the eager crowd and expressed how good it was to be back. “Thank you for making a Wednesday night feel like a Saturday”. Whilst guitarist Pat Davern commented on how the last time they played in Melbourne was at Margaret Court Arena. “This is more like a rock show”, he shouted.
There is no doubt that Grinspoon are a very unique and special band. This isn’t only because of the decades of playing music together, nor through only their ability to draw a massive crowd, their stage presence has such an effect on you that it will leave you buzzing for days after the show. Perhaps a sense of nostalgia.
Like everyone present at the Forum on Wednesday, frontman Phil Jamieson did not stop moving! Running, hopping and skipping from one side of the stage to the other, and then jumping up on top of the large stage speakers. He sure knows how to make an impression with his show man moves and snazzy white suit. At one point in the set he discretely disappeared from the main stage and emerged behind the audio table in the middle of the crowd! This gave fans who weren’t in the crazy mosh pit the opportunity to get a bit closer for a few moments whilst oldie ‘Bad Funk Stripe’ was delivered.
Other tracks included the bands usual line up consisting of ‘Hard Act To Follow’, ‘No Reason’ and then softer pleaser, ‘Better Off Alone’. The setlist was just a constant reminder of the extensive collection of Grinspoon. Their fans are devoted as they punched the air and sung along to all of the lyrics. One number that stood out was their first single, ‘Post Enebriated Anxiety’, from their first of seven albums, ‘Guide To Better Living’.
As the night started to wind up, the band quickly belted out hits, ‘Black Friday’ and ‘1000 Miles’. All you Grinspoon fans out there know how it wouldn’t feel right not to punch the air to the go-go-go beat of 1000 Miles. An INXS song made it into the set when the band performed a extraordinary cover of ‘Don’t Change’. This wasn’t the first time the band has done this. Back in 2002 the band experimented with this track and released their cover of it on single.
The night finished up as the band each thanked the crowd for coming along and that they hope to see them soon. At this point, it was clear to the crowd that they would shortly be back on stage as there were still a couple of big Grinners tracks yet to be played. As guessed, the boys were back as the opening chords of ‘Chemical Heart’ filled the room. This was followed by head banging track ‘Champion’ and ended on the grunge note of ‘More Than You Are’. Firecrackers were let lose above the stage which lit the entire room up and made it difficult to accept that the show was over.
And just like that, they came, delivered and departed! The end of this show will see the band head up north before travelling throughout the rest of Australia. The Chemical Hearts tour will wrap up in November.