Live Review – Phil Jamieson & Scott Russo at Cambridge Hotel, Newcastle – December 21, 2014

Review by David Jackson
Phil Jamieson & Scott Russo at Cambridge Hotel, Newcastle
What do you get when you combine one of Australia’s best front men in the past 15 years and a former lead singer of a well-known international punk/rock band? Well on Sunday night the smell of sweat from long time music fans was obvious in the air as this question was answered. Phil Jamieson lead singer of Australian band Grinspoon and Scott Russo the Unwritten Law front man brought their acoustic Christmas extravaganza to the Novocastrians. Jamieson and Russo were first introduced to each other’s talent on the 1999 Warped Tour. They have remained close mates since.

Grinspoon by nature is loud, combine that with punk and you expect your ears to be challenged right? Wrong, both front men were armed with nothing more than an acoustic guitar. There was no electric guitar, no drums, not even a whiff of bass. So what was the attraction? Well that is easy; it was a stripped back adventure featuring both artists at their very best.

On a dark lit stage saturated with an overuse of red light, Jamieson took to the stage. The Grinspoon classics “Bad Funk Stripe”, “Hate” and “Comeback” sounded great on acoustic guitar. “No Reason” was a standout winner and Jamieson’s unplugged version of “Just Ace” went over a treat with the audience. “Here’s a song about douche bags, I should know I have got a PhD in them” Jamieson commented to the crowd, cementing his alternate take on a song and further adding to his often flamboyant personality.

Following a brief break, Russo took the stage dressed in a hoodie and a black wide brimmed hat. On the menu for his performance was a three course meal of Unwritten Law tracks stripped down to acoustic mode accompanied by the crowd singing along. Highlights included “Geronimo”, “Save Me” and the anthem “Cailin”. Overall there were as many Russo fans in the audience as Jamieson fans. At one point the mind faded and words were forgotten only to see the song saved by Russo’s committed backing audience.

Honouring their brothers in arms commitment to each other, both musicians shared the stage and lighting adding more songs from their extensive repertoire. Each artist putting their own take on each other’s songs. For me “Black Friday” and “More than you are” were the highlights of the night.

Overall very skilled and talented muso’s stripped bare and liking it, make sure you catch them.

Click Here for our photos from the night.

Click Here for our Interview with Phil Jamieson (Grinspoon)