Review: ‘Silverchair’

The three teenaged members of platinum-selling Australian rock band Silverchair went to conspicuous lengths to overcome their juvenile reputation with an updated sound and more thoughtful songwriting approach on their just-released third album, but in concert the trio remains a mundane act alluring to youngsters only.

The three teenaged members of platinum-selling Australian rock band Silverchair went to conspicuous lengths to overcome their juvenile reputation with an updated sound and more thoughtful songwriting approach on their just-released third album, but in concert the trio remains a mundane act alluring to youngsters only.

Silverchair opened their show at the House of Blues — which enjoyed an early sell-out for this booking — with the dramatic “Emotion Sickness,” from their new album “Neon Ballroom” (Epic), another earnest stab by singer-guitarist Daniel Johns at explaining why it’s so hard being a nice guy like him in an unjust world.

But deeper meaning in this or any other of the band’s simplistic songs was of little consequence to the boisterous and insatiable crowd, who jumped and screamed throughout the 75-minute show, occasionally shaking the club’s walls and fixtures.

“Thank-you, San Francisco,” dead-panned Johns, before leading the band (which also occasionally included new touring keyboard player Sam Holloway, formerly of impressive Aussie group Cordrazine) into “Suicidal Dream,” from Silverchair’s 1995 multimillion-selling “Frogstomp” album. The song — with its gloomy theme — earned smiles and cheers as if the band were singing about summer vacation.

Johns further tried to create a tense mood toward set’s end, warning of youthful revolution in “Anthem for the Year 2000” — in which he was all but growling his apocalyptic words — and recalling Kurt Cobain in the punk-fueled “Satin Sheets.”

Despite Silverchair’s commendable intentions — which also included rearranging early hit “Tomorrow” into a solo acoustic turn for Johns — the show never shed the weight of the band’s mostly underachieving songs and unremarkable grunge sound.

Silverchair

House of Blues; 1,000 capacity; $15

Production

Presented by House of Blues/Universal Concerts/Hewitt/Silva. Reviewed April 1, 1999.

Cast

Band: Daniel Johns, Chris Juannou, Ben Gillies.
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