Spiderbait, Numbskulls @ The Gov, Adelaide 20/4/2017

It seems to be the thing to do; Pennywise recently toured their About Time album, Grinspoon have just announced their Guide to a Better Living tour, and tonight (and tomorrow night) at the Gov it is all about Spiderbait and their killer album from 1996 Ivy and the Big Apples.

And with both nights completely sold out, it appears the punters are keen and ready to throw back to an era where rock didn’t take a back seat to the electronic crap that currently rules the airwaves.

In the middle of the Easter and ANZAC Day short weeks, despite it being a ‘school’ night the punters were out in force, the amber ale was flowing and there was a real party atmosphere.

Opening the show was Adelaide’s own surf punks the Numbskulls. Hailing from the era and scene that produced some of Australia’s finest punk bands, should it not have been for a tour van accident, these boys could have held a place alongside bands like The Living End, Frenzal Rhomb, Bodyjar. After over twelve years the boys are back and playing just as hard and fast as they ever have.

Catchy tunes such as Mosquito and Coco Pops had the growing crowd nodding along with a number of old fans singing and jumping around like it was 1996. They finished with Numbskulls, thanked the crowd and also raised awareness for Chris’s wife who is in need of a bone marrow transplant. The crowd was warmed up and primed for what was to come.

Kram exploded onto the stage in typical Kram fashion and from that point forward had the crowd in the palm of his hand, like only very few performers can. Playing Ivy and the Big Apples from cover to cover doesn’t offer a great deal of surprises, but you get to hear a bunch of songs that haven’t been played live for a long time if not ever.

The opening bracket of Chest Hair, Hot Water & Milk and the 1996 Hottest 100  number one and one of the greatest punk songs ever written Buy me a Pony was a blistering start and the crowd rocking.

One of the pitfalls of an album show is that generally the quality tapers off towards the back end, and whilst the crowd got a little restless at times (I’m sure there were some punters who were expecting a greatest hits set) the energy Spiderbait and particularly Kram were bringing eliminated the flat spots. Only disappointment was a couple of technical issues and the sound was a little off, but these didn’t dampen the evening.

What I love about this album is that we get to see Janet and Kram playing the guitar and the vocals are shared between all members. Whilst Kram was playing guitar, Janet pulled young Jack from the crowd, a ten-ish year old lad decked in a Spiderbait shirt and plonked him on the drums drawing a huge cheer. Other highlights were of course Calypso, Hey and the epic album and main set finisher Driving Up The Ceiling.

After a short break, Spiderbait returned and fired a three hit encore of Ol’ Man Sam, Fucken Awesome and Black Betty, which had the crowd going nuts and finished the night on a huge energy high.

It’s a real testament to a band that tours here regularly that they continue to sell out shows night after night. And when they bring the energy as they do every single time it is little reason why they are so well regarded. 5-stars Spiderbait!!

Review by Tim Nicholas

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