On July 31st, rock band Silverchair returned to Montreal after an eight-year absence, not only from the city, but from the country of Canada.
Although it was less than a week after the group's fifth studio record, Young Modern, became available to North America shores, the crowd was ecstatic for the return of the Australian trio. They welcomed them with cheers and applause, despite the 40-minute long intermission between opening act We are the Fury and Silverchair's headlining performance.
Hitting the stage at 9:15pm, Silverchair opened with several new tracks off their new album, warming up the audience for the set ahead. The audience did not seem to be that familiar with the new tunes yet, though they did make a commendable effort to sing along with the band, who now tour with the additions of Paul Mac and Adam on keyboards.
First single off Young Modern, "Straight Lines", was of course met with a noticeably positive reaction but nothing could quite compare with the roars of approval that came with the recognition of the opening notes to songs off of previous records, such as Neon Ballroom's epic "Emotion Sickness" or Freak Show's "The Door".
Silverchair also played a few songs off their fourth effort, Diorama, but never once acknowledged their grunge 1995 debut Frogstomp. Not that they ran out of time, as the whole set, with the one-song encore included, lasted for a mere 60 minutes, ending at an unusually early 10:20pm.
No longer the awkward teens trying to prove themselves to the world, vocalist and guitarist Daniel Johns, bassist Chris Joannou and guitarist Ben Gillies were definitely confident on stage. Johns was wearing a red bandana on his forehead and a suit jacket, smiling and dancing throughout the concert and even demonstrated his skills of playing electric guitar with his teeth on several occasions. He made sure to thank the fans in between songs at times in French and other times in English - the former arousing an extremely enthusiastic response as a result of Montreal being the biggest city of Canada's most Francophone province, Quebec. But his banter with his fellow band mates as well as the crowd was kept to the bare minimum.
When they came out for the encore and the opening notes of the familiar and extremely popular "Freak" from 1997 began, the crowd went ballistic. The two additional keyboard players remained off stage and the original three members of Silverchair were blasting the music much like the old days. At the end of the song, the band thanked the crowd and left the Spectrum audience slightly stunned and wondering why they had just been treated to a play list that did not even come close to bringing justice to the 5-album discography spanning the 15-year long musical career that Silverchair had accumulated up until this point.
While the songs Silverchair did play showcased a maturity and evolution both in their musicianship as well as their sound, this did not make up for the fact that fans were left wanting after almost a decade since the group were last seen on Canadian soil. The evidence for this was shown by the fact that fans lingered on for at least ten minutes in front of the stage, cheering in vain with the hopes that Silverchair would come back but it was all to no avail.
Silverchair may have come a long way since their high school days, but their fans probably would have expected to being taken along for a much longer and more intimate journey than what was offered at this week's show.
Writer: Stephanie Ng Wan