Thursday April 18, 2013 :
I was initially disappointed after being shuffled into Newcastle Panthers’ small band room (instead of the spacious main room), but this passed once the bands lit up the stage. Emperors are a solid act and warmed the crowd up nicely, but the crowd didn’t show much interest until they finished with the catchy ‘Be Ready When I Say Go’.
And then it was time for Kingswood, who opened with ‘She’s My Baby’. These guys are phenomenal and strutted on stage as if they were the headline act (which maybe they should’ve been). Frontman Fergus has one of the best voices in rock at the moment and the band delivered the goods in spades to the crowds delight (one particular punter shouted “you’re the tits!” on several occasions). Leading the crowd through a rendition of ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ was a nice touch, and they backed it up with ‘Medusa’ and ‘Ohio’ rounding out a freaking awesome performance. Keep your eyes on this band.
Grinspoon are tour veterans, and no-one can doubt that they know how to play a good show. I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve seen these guys, but this show wasn’t a memorable one. ‘Dead Cat 3x’ got played early and got the crowd pumping, but the band’s new material didn’t get much love. Frontman Phil knows how to work a crowd but didn’t seem to have much enthusiasm; despite it being his birthday (bringing out the birthday cake cheered him up a bit). ‘Champion’, ‘Chemical Heart’ and ‘Lost Control’ were all standouts, but overall the band seems to have lost the vigour that they had with their previous album release and tour. Grinspoon are at their best when they play to their strengths; dirty riffs and showmanship. Tonight Grinspoon seemed to have lost their mojo, and it showed. The band’s performance of ‘Hard Act To Follow’ held special meaning tonight, as Kingswood were definitely the standout. Let’s hope that Grinspoon can recapture the spirit of the band and show us why they’re still one of Australia’s best acts.
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