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Live Review: Spiderbait – 9th August 2014 – The Hifi, Brisbane, Australia

4 min read

Australia’s very own Spiderbait has come back from the ashes and graced the country with their first headlining tour in 10 years. Having gone on hiatus in 2005, the anticipation for the band’s new material was near unbearable for their eager fans. Kram, Whitt and Janet weren’t just part of some rock n roll act in the 90’s, they were the Aussie rockstars of the decade and many nostalgic faces gathered at The Hifi in Brisbane, hoping to see their favourite band once again.

Kram’s mop of unruly hair made its way on to the stage and many wolf whistles and  fists thrown up in the air were there to greet him. Whitt and Janet strapped on to their guitars and off they went, opening the night with one of their new tracks, ‘Straight To The Sun’. It was good ol’ Spiderbait; loud, gritty and catchy. Everyone in the room lit up and buzzed from excitement, and it wasn’t too long before they started playing their old hits like ‘Shazam’ and ‘Outta My Head’. The night was still young, but Whitt was already showing off his guitar skills,  soloing on the stage floor during ‘Run’.

The lights shed a range of red hues and flashing white lights, but when ‘It’s Beautiful’ came on the stage shined bright pink and blue, reminiscent of their latest record’s cover art. Everyone sang the words to the song and chanted through all woo-ooh’s with Kram, as if it was part of Spiderbait’s back catalogue, reinforcing how relevant the band still is today.

One of the many highlights of the night were the band’s interactions with the crowd. Big, buff security guys watched all the drunken fans like a bunch of hawks, but many still got away with throwing things on stage. The first time Kram got off his kit, he went to the front of the stage and grabbed a shoe someone threw. Before he even got to sit down again another shoe was flung on stage and barely missed the drummer. As things seemed to have come in pairs, a couple of ladies also decided to throw their own bras to join the bandwagon. Kram humbly asked the fans if they had spares but continued to encourage the crowd to keep these things coming. There was also Kram’s skilled crowd-surf, with Janet and Whitt admiring him safely on the stage. And someone even yelled out ‘Fuck off’, with Kram politely replying to the man by telling him to leave the venue in a stern, school teacher-esque voice.

Besides all the trivial fun and games of the night, what mattered to the fans most was getting to hear their favourite song live for the first time in maybe 10 years. Time stood still when the band started playing the first bars of ‘Fucken Awesome’ and you could see the look of awe coming from the crowd. There were no shenanigans, no shoes or bras being thrown, just whole lot of people engrossed in that moment. Since that song played the room emitted so much more energy than anyone could’ve imagined. There were no more individual fans rocking out in whatever space they could, the whole room moved together, headbanging and air-smashing in unison as Spiderbait performed ‘Buy Me A Pony’ and ‘Footy’.

It didn’t feel like 2014, it felt like we were back in the 90’s. Back with old high school chums, back with our best mates, back with our own Spiderbait. People had their arms slung over their friends, singing along to ‘Sam Gribbles’ with their drinks in the air, and when ‘Old Man Sam’ came on there wasn’t a person in the crowd who didn’t dance along. No one wanted the 2 and a half minute song to end. But when it did, Kram got up, waved to the crowd and the band left the stage. It didn’t fool anyone though, and Spiderbait were back on stage before you could say ‘encore’.

Playing their first cover of the night, Spiderbait’s version of ’99 Luft Balloons’, completely in german, was mesmerizing. There was praise all throughout the gig from Kram about Janet’s singing, but her voice truly shined during this track. And the foreign lyrics didn’t stop the crowd from singing along either. Kram then introduced ‘Circle K’, the first song they wrote, and talked about past gigs and being petrified when they saw Jello from The Dead Kennedy’s watching their first big festival gig on the sidelines. By now the crowd was aware that the night was coming to a close, and people had started requesting ‘Calypso’, screaming it at the stop of their lungs. While Whitt had to deal with minor technical difficulties it didn’t stop the Kram and Janet cranking on the people-pleasing track. The magical night ended with ‘Black Betty’, which seemed to stretch the fragments of time, with the band making it last as long as they could, and included Whitt’s iconic solo, as he shredded with his teeth.

Everyone was ecstatic to be part of this show. The crowd received the band that went on hiatus for 9 years with open arms, hugs and kisses (clothing and shoes optional), while Kram, Whitt and Janet had massive grins on their faces the whole night. We missed Spiderbait, and they missed us. Whether this is the first of many more headlining tours to come, or the last ever Spiderbait tour, it was a night that will never be forgotten.

Set List:

Straight To The Sun
Miss The Boat
It’s Beautiful
I’m Not Your Slave
Fucken Awesome
Buy Me A Pony
Sam Gribbles
Old Man Sam

99 Luft Balloons
Circle K
Black Betty