We worshipped at the altar of Ian F Svenonius when Chain and the Gang came to Melbourne
A Chain and the Gang show isn’t your standard gig, it’s a once in a lifetime experience to worship at the altar of Ian F Svenonius, one of the greatest rock icons and commentators of music in the last 30 years.
Testament to his engagement with music, Svenonius was up the front of the crowd taking photos of the support bands. Primo and Parsnip are two bands made up of some of Melbourne’s best musicians and they both made a considerable impression on the audience with their guitar effects and effortlessly infectious songs.
Anna Nasty, Francy Z Graham and Fiona Campbell of Chain and the Gang arrived on stage wearing matching pinstripe suits, holding the fort before Svenonius emerged from the crowd. As Svenonius howled and fly kicked the air, the band played the self referential song Chain Gang Theme (I See Progress) to kick off the set.
“You didn’t want to come here tonight but you felt compelled,” said Svenonius forbiddingly as he prowled across the stage. “I want you to keep this just between us,” he cautioned before launching into Mum’s The Word, leaping into the crowd and getting them to chant “Mum”. When he wasn’t singing, he was dancing along to the band, never spending a single moment standing still and seemingly possessing unlimited energy.
Taking his job of entertaining the audience to the next level, Svenonius spent the majority of the set up against the crowd, spitting out commands and conundrums after each song. One of the most memorable moments of the show came during What Is A Dollar? which was paced so the song’s tension was drawn out to its thrilling conclusion. It took some convincing but the band came back on stage for an encore, leaving the audience with one last memory of an unforgettable show.
Equal parts terrifying and mesmerizing, Chain and the Gang are easily one of the most electrifying live acts to witness. Their performance felt almost more like a sermon than a rock show, Svenonius bellowed and shrieked his manifesto in a way that was entirely convincing. To be in the same room, consuming the music of someone as iconic as him was truly an honour.
By Holly Pereira
Loved: Every moment.
Hated: That I can’t see Chain and the Gang every week.
Crowd favourite: Svenonius jumping into the crowd for Mum’s The Word.