Cambridge Hotel, Newcastle
Thursday August 31, 2017 :
It’s always interesting to see the different crowds who turn up to shows these days, and it’s pretty rare to see a room of 30-somethings partying hard on a school night. But getting to see GRINSPOON play their debut album, Guide to Better Living, in it’s entirety was enough to entice the oldies to relive their youth and mosh like it was the good old days. Seeing Grinspoon these days does’t quite match the vibes of the Homebake crowds when the band were at their peak, but the sold-out show at the Cambridge came close.
2-piece band HOCKEY DAD are riding the surf-rock wave on Triple J right now, and their lo-fi sound fit well with the theme of the night. They sounded huge considering there’s only guitars and drums and ‘A Night Out With’ is a great tune that the crowd bopped along to, but everyone was clearly saving their energy for the main event.
GRINSPOON have made some interesting moves musically over the years, but there’s no doubt that the raw attitude of Guide to Better Living is Grinspoon at their very best. The album has a “no bullshit” approach and that’s exactly how it went tonight: the full album start-to-finish with barely a moment in between songs.The band are as tight as ever and have clearly prepared for this tour, as playing a 16-song album (and a few hits afterwards for kicks) can’t be an easy feat. They were having a blast reliving their glory days and that should be said of frontman Phil Jamieson especially, who has moved back to “rockstar” mode after some forays into other areas of music. Phil rocked his classic face-fringe reminiscent of their early days, and jumped around like no tomorrow.
Songs like ‘Just Ace’ and ‘Bad Funk Stripe’ stood out (just like on the album) if only because they weren’t full of Drop-D riffs , but songs like ‘Champion’ and ‘DC x 3’ are Grinspoon at their dirty best. The band paused a moment to share a funny anecdote about an early show in Newcastle at a venue that is now a KFC which earned a few laughs, and a bit of sad self-reflection. The last time I saw Grinspoon at the Cambridge was a Myspace secret show. Oh how times change.
Following a brief break the band came back to play some greatest hits with ‘Chemical Heart’, “‘Ready 1’, ‘Lost Control’ and ‘Hard Act to Follow’ before finishing with ‘More Than You Are’.
A fun Thursday night to say the least, and we get to do it all again when Grinspoon return to Newcastle to play Wests City on 23rd September. Oh yeah, that show is sold out too.