Phil Jamieson & Pat Davern (Grinspoon) @ Walkabout Temple, 31 January
Review By Larissa Clare
Aeroplane-issue toothbrush in pocket, and sleep mask on head, finally Phil Jamieson quits wandering around the front of the small stage at Walkabout Temple, and joins bandmate Pat Davern on stage.
Having recently been given a makeover, I am pleasantly surprised at how clean the Walkie is, and with wood panelled floors, large communal tables, and a cavernous ceiling, it rather reminds me of a shearing shed (though thankfully without the smell). In what I guess can only be a tribute to the iconic Australian beach culture, an enormous poster of a surfer ‘gnarleying’ down a wave in brilliant sunshine is tacked up behind the stage.
In complete contrast to this, it’s Tuesday night in London in late January and it takes us ten minutes just to remove our coats. As we slowly warm up, I am even tempted to keep my mittens on so my hands don’t get cold holding my beer.
The Walkabout crowd gradually thickens until all the tables are filled. There are a few suspiciously rat-tailed wall leaners crowding the bar near the stage, who seem to have pledged their allegiance in 1997 to the antics of Phil, and haven’t updated their haircuts since.
Though plagued by sound issues (we were all on a first name basis with the poor sound guy), a stripped down, acoustic Grinspoon still gives a pretty good show. While some songs seemed lacklustre compared to the kicking full band versions, others become solid bluesy tunes such as Phil accompanying himself on harmonica in the likes of ‘Better of Alone’.
Little perks, such as a rather good alt country cover of La Roux’s ‘Bulletproof’ met the Grinspoon we all know and love as Phil called for tequila before ripping into ‘Hard Act To Follow’. Old favourites such as ‘More Than You Are’ and ‘Chemical Heart’ showed that their sideways step into more radio-friendly tunes did them no disservice as certain members of the crowd air-guitared and head-moshed with more enthusiasm than most acoustic gigs ever see.
Some neat lyrical inspiration saw Phil serenading the security guards as ‘cranky pants/for not letting us dance’ after they hauled two kids off the dancefloor. Transition then into a stomping ‘Just Ace’ and a whole bunch of circa 2002 Big Day Out spirit pulled half the crowd onto the dancefloor in united rebellion. The security guards gave up and Grinspoon bowed out victorious on ‘DCX3’.
Overall, it was a neat little trip down a musical memory lane. This modest acoustic set was rather like hearing the sea through a sea shell — Phil and Pat giving us an echo of the Grinners of by-gone days (maybe at a Brisbane Big Day Out, with that surf poster in the background) — just quieter, softer, and a little bit fuzzy on the sound.