‘I don’t feel a day over 55’: Why Filter deserve more attention 30 years on

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‘I don’t feel a day over 55’: Why Filter deserve more attention 30 years on

Words by Staff Writer

We had the privilege of seeing Filter play the biggest show of their 2024 world tour in the humble surroundings of The Croxton in Thornbury.

Okay, so we all know Spotify streams aren’t a solid indicator of popularity, but bear with us for a moment.

IDLES, a band with 1.5 million monthly listeners and no track over 11 million streams, have recently booked a show at 10,000 capacity Sidney Myer Music Bowl.

Filter – who have a pioneering 30-year reputation, 1.4 million monthly listeners and two songs over 100 million streams, are unable to completely sell out the 900-capacity Croxton. That’s one thing, but for Patrick to say that this was the biggest show of their world tour and sold out London “by about 500 tickets” beggars belief.

The truth is, Filter are criminally underrated, especially given Patrick is still one of the best hard rock vocalists in the world. He belted out track after track with zero pretension but perfect technical mastery at his first Melbourne show in seven years, with the crowd in raptures.

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The story of Filter begins with its founder, Richard Patrick and to a lesser extent, his older brother, Robert Patrick – the famed villainous actor of Terminator fame, who introduced him to bands like Pink Floyd, Led Zeppelin, and The Who. Needless to say, it’s quite a talented family.

His career in music took a significant turn when he joined the industrial rock band Nine Inch Nails in 1989 as a touring guitarist, after a chance encounter with Trent Reznor at a record store before their big break. During his time with Nine Inch Nails, he contributed to the band’s live performances and became exposed to Trent Reznor’s innovative approach to music production.

In 1993, he decided to leave Nine Inch Nails – just before the release of Pretty Hate Machine, no less – to pursue his own musical vision. It was clear just how Filter’s legacy endures last year when Reznor invited Patrick on stage at their Rock n Roll Hall of Fame induction, covering Hey Man, Nice Shot and encouraging a nearly-crying Patrick to sing the second verse to Head Like A Hole.

Drawing from his experiences in Nine Inch Nails and inspired by the burgeoning alternative rock scene of the 1990s, he founded his own band – “Filter” was chosen as a metaphor for his desire to sift through and distill various musical influences into something unique.

Filter’s early lineup included Patrick on vocals and guitar, along with Brian Liesegang on keyboards and guitar. The band’s debut album, the iconic Short Bus, was released in 1995. The album achieved commercial success, propelled by the hit singles Hey Man, Nice Shot and Dose, which showcased Filter’s signature blend of aggressive guitar riffs and Patrick’s extraordinary vocals.

Following the success of Short Bus, Filter continued to evolve their sound with subsequent albums. In 1999, they released Title of Record which as Patrick noted live, “still holds up today” – featuring the crossover hit Take a Picture, Welcome to the Fold and the crowd favourite at last night’s gig, It’s Going To Kill Me. The album further solidified Filter’s reputation as one of the leading bands in the alternative rock scene of the late 1990s.

Throughout the years, Filter underwent various lineup changes, with their mainstream appeal scuppered slightly by Patrick’s rehab stint directly following their third album. His current backing band, admittedly a much younger cohort of recent times, are phenomenal. Special mention goes out to Filter’s drummer, Tosh Peterson (Tosh The Drummer), who really gave Patrick a run for his money as far as the star of the show goes.

Ultimately, live in Melbourne, Filter did everything right. The setlist was perfectly balanced. They chose the perfect balance of newer and older material and the newer tracks were the best possible choice for the live environment. The lighting was impactful and the mixing, especially on Patrick’s vocals, was excellent.

Patrick’s stage persona equally mixed restraint and poise with energetic engagement when required. He wasn’t smashed (sober for 22 years), didn’t talk for talking’s sake, they didn’t do a cheesy encore, he ultimately came across as a veteran who loves his craft and cares deeply about his live performances.

If we had to criticise, it would be the lack of any live presence for the synthesizers, drum machines, and sample-work that has been so interestingly deployed throughout Filter’s discography. Instead, their live show doubles down on the heavy guitar riffs and driving rhythms – hey, we’re not really complaining.

“I don’t feel a day over 55,” Patrick joked early in the set, before becoming more sentimental later on. “We don’t want it to be another seven years,” he told the crowd near the end. “Tell 5-6,000 of your closest friends.”

Filter deserve the attention of mainstream rock fans now, as much as ever. Follow them and buy tickets to their remaining shows here.