The iconic Brisbane band Powderfinger are as much as a household name as AC/DC, Crowded House, and John Farnham. Performing together for 21 years, Powderfinger announced that the Sunsets tour will be their last ever performance. Touring around Australia from the start of September, ending November back in their hometown of Brisbane, Powderfinger performed at the Brisbane Riverfire Festival, smack bang on River Stage.
Operator Please warmed up the crowd with their catchy tunes. I had underestimated this young band when I had heard them live before as the sound quality was originally off-setting, but on River Stage, the acoustics were perfect. Adding some extra zing to their songs Song About Ping Pong, You Can’t Always Get What You Want, a brilliant cover of Blondie’s Heart Of Glass, and my personal favourite (because it has a delicious dosage of cowbell) Logic, they altered a few notes and interacted a bit with the audience, giving them a passing credit and sounding better than the band that were on next: The Vines.
As much as I try and make these reviews friendly, entertaining and positive as I can, I’m sorry – The Vines – you nearly ruined the night for everyone. The tantrum chucking, anger fueled rebellious rock band image is just not cool anymore. Really. You come out on stage, mumble some jargon “hmhmhmhmhmph Vines… hmhmhmphhph song hphmhph Brisbane hhmhpphhmh” was pretty much the only clear english that myself and the crowd could understand. The looks on peoples’ faces were dumbfounding, wondering if the performance was a joke. Scratchy guitars playing out of tune, constant voice breaking that sounded like that the teenage nerd from The Simpsons was singing, and swearing at the audience when it was an all ages gig would easily put you off your knitting. The crowd only attempted to listen when signature songs Ride and Get Free were played. The final song, I had no idea what it was as it was performed like it was a dog’s breakfast, was so immature. Lead singer Craig Nicholls, if you wanted to try and raise a heartbeat from the crowd by slamming your guitar into the stage and attempt to destroy the set, you got a heart murmur.
Now back to some positive thoughts…
The stage was set for the ever-loving band that everyone came to see – Powderfinger. The power was unleashed once their presence was felt on stage. Cranking out their well-known songs On My Mind, The Metre, Passenger, Sunsets, Lost & Running, Burn Your Name, Sail The Wildest Stretch, I Don’t Remember and more, the crowd was roaring. Lead singer Bernard Fanning soaked up the atmosphere and didn’t fail to disappoint. With River Stage full to capacity, the people up the back of the hill side were missing out – so midway through, the guys walked off stage and went up the back to the middle stage to perform Like A Dog and Belter. The hillside and the back crowd were quite happy with the close encounter with the band as they walked through the middle of them, with security watching their every move. Drummer Coggsy then did a jam session as a distraction while Fanning raced back to the main stage to perform some acoustic solos, then once they were all back, blasted the night away with more tunes such as Happiness which started to bring the rain down – literally.
Also noted was all their shows that were performed throughout the Sunsets tour was that it was being recorded by Abbey Road Studios for a future DVD release. The concerts are also available to download for a limited time. That way, you can get your own personal little touch to the shows, instead of a compilation from all the other performances.
In a rarity for concerts, Powderfinger did a show which their live performances sound better than listening to them on CD. There are still tickets available at some concerts, but they’re selling out quick. This will be your last chance to see them before they dissolve away.
Bravo Powderfinger – bravo.