After almost 30 years, Spiderbait are tighter and more connected than ever

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After almost 30 years, Spiderbait are tighter and more connected than ever

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Words by James Robertson
Photos by BandAnna Photography

These guys have still got it.

Spiderbait are an Australian band that need no introduction. One of the biggest names in Australian rock history, this three-piece formed in the early ‘90s from the small New South Wales town of Finley and progressively grew to dominance throughout the decade and into the 21st century.

Dropping into The Forum for a show with no new album connotation, the gig was intended as a celebration of the band’s catalogue of singles to coincide with the release of a limited edition 7” vinyl box set.

Playing every single chronologically from start to end, Spiderbait burst out with the thrashy angst of ‘Circle K’, all the way back from the band’s genesis in 1991. A large degree of their early discography consists of much of the same raw sound, with almost every tune touching the hearts of the members of the audience. The Forum reverberated with the bellowed singing of the crowd, on occasion drowning out the band’s vocals entirely.

The crowd towards the front throbbed with a devoted mosh pit, collectively convulsing to the rapid gnaw of Kram’s fast-paced drumming, Damian Whitty’s violent and warping guitar chords and Janet English’s melodic vocal work on tracks like fan favourite ‘Calypso’, which saw some of most vivacious excitement from the floor. Grand slam track ‘Stevie’ garnered one of the biggest singalongs of the night with the whole crowd screaming “boo, boo” on repeat with English.

The night’s biggest standout however was not the music, it was the warmth and heart expressed by industry legend Kram. The very epitome of wholesome, the drummer-singer would often walk about the stage between songs, giving his bandmates hugs and kisses, while also getting the crowd to give it up for Whitty and English on upwards of five occasions. “Spread the love!” Kram decreed to the band’s fans.

But this loving positivity was still juxtaposed by the showy grittiness of a band that thrashed and bashed with the rock’n’roll kingpins of their era – Kram threw his drumsticks into the air at every third song and tossed parts of his kit offstage. Things got intense with their rendition of classic ‘Black Betty’, which resounded with the pulse of a danceable drum beat and the unforgettable spitting of lyrics.

The group brought the night to a close with a double-tracked encore of The Go-Go’s ‘Our Lips Are Sealed’ before finally ending with an extension of ‘Old Man Sam’, which rose up from a possible ending three times.

Transparency is the word that best suits Spiderbait’s relationship with their fans. This gig showed that there are no boundaries between the love they share for their audience and the love that is reciprocated the other way.

Highlight: Kram’s heartwarming wholesomeness.

Lowlight: Struggle to find anything fundamentally wrong with a Spiderbait concert.

Crowd favourite: ‘Buy Me A Pony’ sent the crowd crazy.