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LIVE: SPIDERBAIT, Perth – 15 Aug 2014

| 25 August 2014 | Reply

LIVE: SPIDERBAIT, Perth – 15 Aug 2014
Spiderbait with Axe Girl, The Astor Theatre
Friday, 15 August 2014
Reviewed by Shane Pinnegar
Photography by Maree King

Spiderbait hold a special place in the hearts and minds of the Aussie rock fan – from the early ‘90s they stormtrooped the indie music charts and Triple J (back when it used to be good) with their catchy, rocking tunes, sense of cheeky fun and don’t-give-a-fuck eclecticism.

Spiderbait Live Perth 15 Aug 2014 by Maree King  (23)

Those were the days, believe it or not, where the alternative (and sometimes the mainstream) charts were full of genuinely interesting and original music, and Spiderbait took full advantage with a mixture of pop, rock, metal and punk that was as catchy and intoxicating as it was unique.

After a hiatus of almost a decade they returned with an album last year, and finally got back to our side of the country for a long-awaited bash.

Openers Axe Girl delivered a bouncy, poptastic set led by the obvious onstage experience of the Jebediah rhythm section Vanessa Thornton & Brett Mitchell, and the quirky talent of frontwoman/guitarist Addison Axe. They’ve got the enthusiasm and the songs, and the more faces they get into, the more their stock shall rise.

Spiderbait start their set with a crushingly Motorhead-like drum mayhem of Stare At The Sun. Drummer & singer Kram in a talkative mood, explaining how the song came to be when he set ALL his drums up in a garage and tried to play them.

That it’s a slightly ramshackle affair to start with (guitars need retuning, Kram rambles on a bit between songs & prowls the stage, scowling like a caged beast) merely makes it a more endearing affair. They really have no interest in trying to please, or being anyone other than who they are: three childhood friends doing what they love they way they want to.

Kram seems in an expansive mood, though not altogether happy. Moody might be the word. A ‘do whatever the fuck you want’ speech introduces Miss The Boat; his tone of voice when stating “we’re having a fantastic time” is closer to miserable than bouncy, but where it counts – musically – they are excellent, a six-legged rock machine making the sort of noise most bands will only ever dream of.

The key to their success is their sheer eclecticism. Heavy as God one minute (Scenester – ‘one of the first metal songs we ever wrote’), mischievous and fun the next (a blast through The Goodies’ Run is a highlight, as is set closer Ol’ Man Sam), and when bassist Janet English takes lead vocals (Outta My Head, It’s Beautiful, Fucking Awesome – which is just that) they achieve the perfect balance between saccharine pop, crushing riffs and a relentless rhythm section. It’s no surprise later in the show when Kram spontaneously introduces his old friend as ‘one of the finest singers in this country,’ catching her unawares and embarrassing her in the process.

Whether you came to headbang, sing cute choruses, pogo and flail around the floor, chant anthems or dosey doe (often all in the same song) a Spiderbait gig will always leave you satisfied, and they own The Astor beyond the shadow of a doubt tonight.

Buy Me A Pony, the anti-music industry rant that was the first Australian song to top the Triple J Hottest 100 back in 1996, gives English the chance to play drums while Kram takes the frontman role, and sounds as vital and relevant now as it did then.

‘Thankyou darlin’, that was lovely,’ says Kram shyly as security drag off a cute lass who jumped the stage and showered him with hugs and kisses, before ranting against moneymen, greed, developers and politicians by way of introducing Sam Gribbles, which segues into Ol’ Man Sam to finish the main set.

A four-track encore book ended by two covers seals the deal. English singing Nena’s 99 Luftballoons IN GERMAN is a left of centre treat that perfectly fits with their anarchic pop-colliding-with-rock modus operandi, and the mad dog heavy blues of Leadbelly’s Black Betty, practically sees plaster falling from the ceiling such is its intensity.

‘There’s nothing better than playing in a band with your best friends – it’s great,’ Kram states, again in a moribund voice, but the sentiment is echoed by the entire practically sold out Astor Theatre.


Set List:

Stare At The Sun
Outta My Head
Miss The Boat
It’s Beautiful
I’m Not Your Slave
Fucking Awesome
Buy Me A Pony
Sam Gribbles
Ol’ Man Sam

99 Luftballoons
Circle K
Black Betty



Category: Live Reviews, Photo Galleries

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