It was once The Griswolds’ dream to headline at the Oxford Art Factory after several times supporting other bands. But it was more than a dream for their final, headlining Australian show, in their hometown, before their overseas tour — to be sold out. Out of the eleven times I’ve seen them, I have no doubt that this lucky eleventh time, the 3rd May, was their absolute best performance.
Supporting them were Oceanics and Panama — unfortunately I didn’t get a chance to catch Oceanics as they were on rather early, but Panama really got the audience into the mood with their infectious pop music, which included a saxophone and bongos.
It was a bit of a long wait for The Griswolds with the stage curtains closed, but it was worth it. The stage had been decked out with golden lights as drummer Chris Riley opened with The Courtship of Summer Preasley, Robbie taking his place as scientist of music. The Courtship of Summer Preasley has been the opener for most (if not all) of The Griswolds’ gigs this year, and it was well received by the audience, with Whitehall and Dan decked out with tribal paint on their faces. Many of us know that The Griswolds have made a name for themselves overseas, and after several songs, singer Chris Whitehall announced the band’s signing to Wind-Up Records, also the label for big-name groups Evanescence and Creed.
A catchy, powered set of tunes were to follow, driving members of the audience into a singing and dancing frenzy. The love song Red Tuxedo still had everyone singing, with talented left-handed bassist Tim playing a regular electric guitar upside down, taking his usual position sitting on the bass drum.
Defined as an angry song, The Griswolds played their newest track, Charlie Baker, during which Robbie took a main part on the guitar. Angry it may have been, but it ended rather abruptly, leaving us wanting quite a lot more. They finished their set with their rock anthem Mississippi — which everyone knew the words to — and their smash hit Heart of a Lion, which introduced more headbanging that coincided with Riley’s incredible drumming.
If you live outside of Australia, particularly in the United States, I highly recommend seeing this band. You will not regret it, and it is worth every penny. They will surprise you every time with their chameleon pop, and you will not be able to stop dancing. This band was to be the next big thing, and well, they pretty much are a big thing now.