I once swore that I would never go to another gig at Festival Hall. Parking is near impossible, the traffic can be insane, and the reception punters receive from security staff is usually frosty if not downright hostile. At one gig I almost asked the doorperson if they didn’t want me to strip naked so they could search for illegal contraband, but I didn’t believe that question would help me get through the door any faster so I kept my thoughts to myself. It needed to be a bloody brilliant line-up to get me to venture that way again and this was it. I was taken aback by the smile I received at the box office when I went to collect my ticket, and after only a cursory check of my bag I was allowed inside. Things seemed to have changed for the better.

The night got more positive still. Grinspoon are one of the best live acts you could ever wish to see and on this particular night they were on fire. I have always liked this band, and it seems that I’m not alone here. Ever since their inception in ’95 they’ve produced one quality recording after another. They began it all by winning the inaugural ‘JJJ Unearthed’ competition and they’ve managed to keep the momentum going. ‘Six to Midnight’ (2009) is their most recent release and is again primarily thematically morose and desperate yet a joy to listen to. The highlight of the gig for me was their rendition of Chemical Heart, simply because I enjoy the song, but if I had to pick something that exuded more quality than the other songs played that night I’d be truly stuck. Jamieson and the band put on another awesome show.

Stone Temple Pilots are an institution, and I found it tough to believe that they have never toured here before now. Weiland toured with Velvet Revolver but it was so good to see him fronting the band that won him (and the other band members) so many fans. Despite the critics panning almost every one of this band’s efforts, it was obvious that STP are loved by people of all ages. The crowd were a mixed bunch, though all had something in common which was their resolve to have a great time. It’s brilliant that STP are back together after band members embarked on various other projects and certainly after Scott Weiland hit an all-time low with his dependence on legal and illegal substances and subsequent run-ins with the law. Often such stories end up the stuff of nightmares, but maybe this time at least one fairytale has come to fruition. Weiland seems to have got his ‘shit’ together and STP are sounding really tight. It was great to hear ‘Vasoline’ and ‘Between the Lines’. One punter commented ‘This must be the acid interlude’ when they launched into ‘Big Empty’. Fans were thrilled to hear ‘Sex Type Thing’ and the encore ‘Trippin’ on a Hole In a Paper heart’. It was a fairly hefty set and the punters were mightily pleased. Stone Temple Pilots are back with a vengeance (and we are surely glad).

–       Sharon Brookes