Review and Photography by Andrea Royston
Earlier this year Spiderbait announced ‘The Singles’ show. A one night only show at The Forum in Melbourne. This would become the ultimate opportunity for dedicated fans to catch another glimpse of these legendary Aussie rockers and hear all of their hits from their extensive discography (in chronological order)! It wasn’t long before the band announced additional shows to form a bit of a tour.
The highly anticipated night was finally upon lucky ticket holders as a sold-out crowd swarmed to the Forum on Saturday. The atmosphere was ecstatic, the presence of fans was strong, everyone was there for the same reason. As you walked through the stalls you were instantly greeted by a diverse crowd consisting of both younger and older. A collection of Spiderbait t-shirts from the last few decades were on display amongst the crowd.
We spoke to Kram back in August and received some exciting and reflective vibes from our discussion. Something that has remained important to Spiderbait is playing together for a reason an not to just keep up appearances. “If a band tours all the time then their performance can really suffer, it loses its spontaneity and becomes more of a job than anything else”, Kram explained. These comments from Kram became very evident by the end of their performance on Saturday night. The show that Spiderbait put on was very sentimental. They told us their story through each of their singles; a timeline of Spiderbait.
Support acts for the evening were Melbourne’s own Moody Beaches and Tassie artist Maddy Jane. These artists welcomed everyone nicely and set the mood for what was about to be a memorable evening of music.
Around 9:30pm, the band casually walked out on the stage which sent the crowd into a loud frenzy. Within a minute, the set kicked off with the likes of ‘Circle K’, ‘Scenester’ and ‘Jesus’. The Forum was thumping! You could feel the floor shake from the fans jumping and rocking out. Not to mention the loud bass rumbling through the room. It was going to be a good night!
Whitt was to the left and Janet to the right, whilst Kram was on top of a centred platform behind his Pearl Drumkit. From the beginning, Kram was very vocal about how much this show meant to the three of them and how special it was to be together performing their hits to their fans. It truly was an act of three great friends ‘getting the band back together’ for a jam.
Back in 1996 Spiderbait became the first Australian act to win Triple J’s Hottest 100. They took first place with hit, ‘Buy Me A Pony’. “We will never forget that time we won the Hottest 100”, Kram said to the crowd before smashing straight into it.
It became a regular occurrence for Kram to throw his sticks high in the air at the end of a song and jump off his kit. Dressed in a basic tee, ripped blue jeans and flip flops, he paced around the stage in-between songs. “It is really hard to do this and not get carried away with it”, he announced. Various looks were exchanged between the band throughout their set which indicated a strong sense of familiarity between them and getting back to their old antics.
As the opening chords of ‘Calypso’ sounded, the crowd roared. The band looked at each other with big smiles on their faces. It was Janet’s turn to take lead mic as she delivered a sensational performance of this number. This song appeared to be a particularly emotional one for the band, as Kram had to wipe away some tears upon its completion. He explained that they wouldn’t be able to do this without having such a supportive music scene backing them.
The set continued with favourites including ‘Shazam!’, ‘Fucken Awesome’ and ‘Outta My Head’, but there was another that stood out particularly. Kram revealed of the time when the band thought that their better days were behind them, until they tried something different which ended them at #1 position on the charts. The song was Ram Jam’s, ‘Black Betty’. Most certainly the best cover of this song you will ever come across! The fast and catchy opening guitar chords accompanied by the strong and consistent beat of the drum and the sharp cymbals.
There was a bit of humour throughout the evening that consisted of political comments, but mainly Kram’s ability to keep up on his fast drumming. “This is the hardest drumming I have had to do and this song might kill me”, he said with a laugh.
After playing close to two hours, Kram jumped up off his kit and ran around the stage shouting “we fucking did it”! Following this was a public display of bandmate affection. A special moment not only for the band but the look on fans faces revealed a rush of emotions.
“This is a beautiful planet so lets do our best to save it”, Kram shouted with his hand on his heart. The band said their thank you’s to the crowd and left the stage. The show clearly wasn’t over! Lo and behold the band returned after chants of “we want more” were echoing within the walls of the Forum.
“Alright guys, we are going to play two more songs”, Kram announced just before belting into ‘Alex The Seal’.
There was a minute pause which had the crowd in a state of suspense for the set closer. “Old Man Sam, Old Man Sam”, the crowd chanted. The three of them looked at each other and without hesitation got stuck straight into the one and only ‘Old Man Sam’.
This performance was truly a special one. Spiderbait still have it in them. Will we see more of them in the near future? One can only hope!