It’s been a long time since I frequented the infamous Cambridge Hotel, but here I am ready for one of my favourite bands of all time, Chocolate Starfish.
I was pleasantly surprised by its upmarket funk and somewhat ‘Newie does Hard Rock Cafe’-esque vibe. If these walls could talk… God only knows, what they have seen over the years.
The look of the crowd was certainly in line with the antiquity of the night’s entertainment but it was clear that the 25 years since Chocolate Starfish first graced our ears have not diminished their energy nor their following in the least. With two Top 10 albums and six Top 50 singles under their belt, it may be that the best is to come.
The support, Gina Balenzano, provided a folksy 40-minute interlude to the main act. During this time I had the fortune of chatting with a lady by the name of Daphne who regaled me with stories of seeing Chocolate Starfish back when they launched their first album in Melbourne all those years ago and she has attended every local gig since.
The band opened to an eager crowd with perennial favourite Four Letter Word followed by their red hot hit Ten Feet Tall during which lead singer Adam Thompson reminisced about nearly dying at the venue the first time they played here. During a stage dive gone wrong, he was dropped, landing on a glass which resulted in a serious shoulder injury. More memories shared and talk of the early days, Adam tells of the road trips from Melbourne to Brisbane each week, and every Tuesday night stopping to play at The Star Hotel during a 6 month residency amid which the band wrote their epic ballad Mountain, which they then played with as much passion and enigmatic energy as any would remember.
Their impeccable harmonies and confident, punchy stage presence continued as they worked the crowd with Sign of Victory, All Over Me, Into the Fire and a surprise cover of Brittany Spears Oh Baby Baby delivered with as much sex and sass as the original. Another show-stopping surprise: an on-stage wedding proposal with the groom-to-be quoting “this band changed my life 25 years ago and this woman changed my life 4 years ago”.
The night finished with their Carly Simon hit You’re so Vain which included a mid-song segway into the 4 Non-Blondes smash What’s Up? which Adam revealed they have recently spent some studio time recording.
After the gig I caught up with diehard Choccies fan Joel who had driven up from Sydney just for the occasion. He fondly recalls his first-ever concert at the tender of age of 16 where he saw them at The Beaches Hotel in Sydney. He couldn’t speak highly enough of the band, how they had introduced him to rock n roll and of their albums Spider and Primitive as some of their best work.
Upon hearing these sentimental stories throughout the evening, it’s clear that their music still resonates with many people and across generations, each fan having their own unique thread to weave into the powerful journey that is Chocolate Starfish.
The ever-personable band members treated their adoring fans to a meet and greet at the conclusion of the night where Adam keenly added: “25 years is only the beginning”. We’re now very much looking forward to the next 25 and beyond.