Project Description

Grinspoon

GRINSPOON

@ University of Canberra Refectory

16 September 2017 (Live Review)

Reviewer – Benjamin Smith

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GRINSPOON

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Twenty years to the day after Grinspoon’s Guide to Better Living was released, the Lismore exports come to the University of Canberra to play the album from start to finish in all its raw, naked fury. Instead of sounding like a trip into nostalgia it sounds like being woken up with a punch in the face. It’s loud and fucking loose. The crowd go mental from the minute Jamieson and co hit the stage.

Good Boy, a Brisbane band with super deep basslines and a kind of early 80s punk sensibility kick things off. Think something like The Radiators without the shuffling backbeat. The sound is rudimentary, but it also works pretty well. Its music for people who sleep until midday and spend the rest of the day drinking beer from a tin and playing video games; people whose profession is not giving a shit.

Wollongong Two-piece Hockey Dad play next and play hard. They had a few technical difficulties and this wasn’t their best show of the tour, but they’ve got chops and the nothing-to-spare sound of just six strings and a drum is pretty unique. It’s kind of surfie pop with a slightly harder edge; fun and a little bit stupid but good drinking music and probably more at home on a bill with bands like Pist Idiots and Skeggs.

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GRINSPOON

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When Grinspoon get around to doing their thing it’s to a packed house. Maybe because it’s the 20th birthday of their flagship recording, maybe because Canberra is a place that has always embraced them as a band, maybe just because all the elements fell into place. Whatever the reason, Grinspoon lay it all out tonight. Phil Jamieson, who looks pretty good for a bloke who has notoriously given himself a hiding over the years, is in stellar shape. He and the rest of the band leave pieces of themselves all over the stage. The audience responds and throws that energy right back at them. It truly is a thing to witness. As a live act Grinspoon remain one of the best the country has to offer. The music has that rare combination of intensity without aggrandizement.

They play all of Better Living and a bunch of other well-known tracks like Chemical Heart and More Than You Are. They do a quick plug for the yes vote and move on without sermonising. It’s a well-conceived moment of politics that isn’t given enough life to suck the air out of the show, but still manages to make its point. Jamieson might be the flamboyant face of the band, but guitarist Pat Davern and bass player Joe Hansen are the soul, driving the sound someplace stratospheric whilst Kristian Hopes on drums doesn’t falter for a second.

If you were thinking this might be a show for polite grown-ups casting a mature eye over their faded youth, you’d be disappointed. This was a room full of people starved for the taste of dirty rock n roll who were taking a rare moment to savour the chance to go fucking spare. It’s a beautiful thing.

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Grinspoon

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Grinspoon is Phil Jamieson on vocals, Pat Davern on guitar,
Joe Hansen on bass and Kristian Hopes on drums.

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Guide To Better Living Deluxe 20th Anniversary Edition is out now.

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GRINSPOONHead here to purchase tickets

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AMNPLIFY – DB

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