Thursday, September 27, 2007

Shabop Shalom

Devendra Banhart

Psych-folk singer-songwrite Devendra Banhart has just released his latest album, Smokey Rolls Down Thunder Canyon. What amazed me is that one of the tracks features The Strokes' guitarist, Nick Valensi in backing vocals. It is definitely a rare scene to see him sing. The song starts with a rather hilarious spoken words moment by Nick about the story of being tempted by a rabbi's daughter, which he then goes on to provide some vocal percussion. 50's doo-wop style with barbershop harmonies, this track is brilliant and very much enjoyable.

Devendra Banhart -
Shabop Shalom

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Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Across The Great Divide @ Claremont Oval, 23.9.07 (Part I)

I have had a great feast of Oz Rock at Across the Great Divide Tour on Sunday night. Three bands - Powderfinger, Silverchair and Expatriate were on the same bill for two shows here in Perth. Saturday show was sold out within hours, we got ourselves tickets to the second show on the following day nevertheless.

An early depart to Claremont had us waiting for more than two hours, but it paid off. We managed to get to the first row when the door opened at 4.30pm. Expatriate was first up opening for the two headliners. The Sydney band played a short and rather tight set. Heads were nodding to their electro indie, reminiscent of early Killers in the steadily filling tent. From where I stood, girls were particularly fond of the bassist, to whom I must admit was quite fine-looking. Most tracks performed were taken from their album ‘In The Midst of This’, including The Spaces Between which I particularly enjoyed the most.

There was half an hour wait for Silverchair to set up as the air was buzzing with excitement. The tent’s temperature ascended uncontrollably when the band walked onto the empty black stage. The band kicked off with ‘Young Modern Station’ against a visually stunning backdrop, and the night was truly on its way. Then the audience was treated with some past hits such as Israel’s Son, Emotion Sickness, Without You and The Greatest View. Clad in a dark green coat which was taken off later revealing sculpted physique under waistcoat and tie, Daniel Johns is a bona fide rock star belongs on a stage. He was energetic as usual, stretching his vocal to breaking point where it soared to every corner of the venue. Both drummer Ben Gillies and bassist Chris Joannou shared the light on the stage rocking away with their own things. Long-time collaborator Paul Mac was seen bouncing and lending hands on ‘Young Modern’ tracks, including Reflections of a Sound and Insomnia, as well as older tracks like Emotion Sickness.

There was an interval during the show where Daniel went off the stage for a little pee, leaving Paul to entertain the crowd on his keys coupled with some help from Ben’s drumming. It was not for long before Daniel returned on the stage and vowed the crowd with more incredible showmanship. He was constantly showing off his amazing guitar skills, sometimes collapsed to his knees on a podium and even played guitar with his teeth in couple occasions in which I remembered once during The Door where Daniel asked the crowd to party like it was 1997. There were times Daniel would strike various rock and roll poses on stage which got the wildly energized crowd screaming.

Halfway through the set the crowd’s gaze shifted to a seagull landing on the stage, but it was not enough to steal the limelight away from the band. Daniel asked the crowd to ‘walk down the memory lane’ and sing along to Ana’s Song (Open Fire). Radio hit Straight Line was indeed a highlight that induced another sing-a-long where Daniel asked the crowd to sing like Australian Idol. Another standout track was their latest single If You Keep Losing Sleep which is accompanied by Paul’s wonderful keys and dramatic use of lights. It was a perfect closing from Silverchair with the classic teenage angst hit Freak that really got the punters’ heads banging and moshing.

Silverchair put on a tremendous show that suggests that Powderfinger would have a lot to work. One disappointment was the rather short set with omission of the three-part epic Those Thieving Birds and my personal favourite Miss You Love, but that is excusable due to the fact that they have such a huge back catalogue and they were sharing the stage with another headliner.

Silverchair setlist:
Young Modern Station
Israel's Son
Emotion Sickness
Without You
Reflections of A Sound
Ana's Song
The Greatest View
Straight Lines
The Door
Mind Reader
If You Keep Losing Sleep

To be continued...


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