Tonight's gig seemed to follow a theme of relating back to three sayings that, however clichéd, remain tried and true. The first is “never talk to strangers” - although, this one seems to have been misconstrued as “never watch Strangers.” There are more people on stage than there is watching the band when they plug in at the Prime Possum-friendly time of 7:30pm, but at least they don't let it get to them, persevering with their brand of streetwise, RSL-ready rock. It's not inspiring, but what can be at this hour?
Onto the second saying: “a rose by any other name would smell just as sweet.” Not that there's anything sweet about Hunting Grounds – who were Howl last time they went on tour with Grinspoon – but at least the sentiment is maintained. They might have changed the name, but they're still the same no-good punks who jump off stage, flip off their hecklers, and make some of the most raucous, gritty and exhilarating rock in the country. If you haven't seen these kids in action, you're only doing yourself a disservice.
The third and final saying: “you can't teach an old dog new tricks.” So much is true for the Grinners, the pub-rock warhorses with their own nickname and a permanent fixture on Australia's live music scene. If you've seen them once, you've seen them a thousand times. From “Ready 1” to “Hard Act to Follow” and back, their sets are essentially roll calls for any Australian rock fan who's owned a radio in the past decade. It's nothing new.
With that said, there's definitely a reason why people keep coming back to watch the old dogs. For one thing, Phil Jamieson is still an untamed wildebeast of a performer, dancing around camply, and racing from one side of the stage to another and back. Even after so many years, he enjoys getting up on stage and singing his guts out. Another aspect is the songs themselves – almost completely ignoring their last two albums, the crowd is instead fed early smashes, like the breakneck “More Than You Are”, and the crunching “Rockshow”. It's enough to make any old-school fan salivate at the very thought – particularly when they end on “DCX3” and send the entire moshpit into a frenzy.
They might not have any new tricks, but let's face it: When you're Grinspoon, who needs 'em?