Silverchair Phoenix Concert Theatre, Toronto ON August 1


Playing their third sold-out Toronto show this year, Silverchair took advantage of the swiftly growing popularity of their latest album, Young Moderns, to treat ecstatic concertgoers to a performance highlighting the sophisticated, psychedelic orchestral pop of Silverchair that is, rather than the group of high school grunge stars that was. Confidently sticking to the strength of brand new material, the band dropped the Bowie-esque funk of "The Man Who Knew Too Much,” followed by the key-shifting melodic pop of "Reflections of a Sound,” before regressing to Neon Ballroom highlight, the epic "Emotion Sickness,” which easily garnered the most enthusiastic audience response of the night. It was impressive to see how much the crowd has embraced the new Silverchair, seeming to be completely familiar with material that had only been officially released a week earlier. Daniel Johns seems to have recovered fully from his crippling reactive arthritis, as he was every inch the self-effacing rock star, pulling out all the stops and blazing extended and extremely capable guitar solos with his teeth and behind his back, all the while poking fun at rock-god conventions. His vocal talents were the most consistently awe-inspiring element of the show, eclipsing his surprising guitar skills and unexpected indulgence in psychedelic noise jams. Even during the brief trips down memory lane, Johns couldn’t help but alter melodies in the older material to give them a refreshing punch and exercise his soul-diva acrobatics. Nowhere was his vocal talent better on display than in the hilarious interlude of singing "Happy Birthday” to drummer Ben Gillies in the style of a classically trained Marilyn Monroe. Silverchair has a new lease on musical life and they played like they knew it, showering appreciation back on the fans for following them to bold new territory. If only they recognised this new support enough to flip their encores, ending with the manic circus cabaret of "If You Keep Losing Sleep,” instead throwback grunge of "Freak.”