Sunday, April 22, 2012
Friday, March 30, 2012
BRIAN SETZERS ROCKABILLY RIOT
Mon 26 March 2012
Bowling shirts and greased up hair, 50's pin-up girls are all over Thebby and ready to rock'n'roll, with the head Stray Cat Mr Brian Setzer and his Rockabilly Riot.
Brian Setzer is one cool cat. He dresses great (green brothel creepers - hellyeah), his hair is great, he sings great, he is an incredible guitar player AND he is hell of a showman. He takes the stage with Johhny Hatton on bass and Noah Levy on drums and they rip into Ignition from his short lived outfit 68 Comeback Special, but from the first note - IT'S ON DADDY-O. Levy is swinging on his kit, and looks like classic 50's nerd kid who just got hip. Hatton (who has previously played with both Elvis Presley and Bob Dylan) has a huge quiff which is fluro green and is slapping the be-jesus out of his upright bass. They bang through songs from many of Setzers solo albums and a bunch of tunes from his Brian Setzer Orchestra too. Joined for some numbers by boogie woogie piano player Kevin McKendree, they do a killer version of Johnny Cash's Folsom Prison Blues and finish the first part of the show with two tracks form his latest (and first completely instrumental) album. Pickpocket is excellent, but his blistering version of Blue Moon of Kentucky is totally mind-blowing. Johnny and Noah leave the stage and the stage is reset.
They all return for an explosive Rock This Town and finish up with an incredible finale of rockabilly classic Seven Nights to Rock. Such a cool night - if you get a chance to see these guys in the Eastern states GO MAN GO!
Word and Photos - Ian Bell
Brian Setzer Rockabilly Riot
Adelaide Set(zer) List 26 March 2012
Ignition (Ignition 2001)
48 mercury Blues (VaVoom 2000)
This Cat's On A Hot Tin Roof (The Dirty Boogie 1998)
Drive Like Lightning (VaVoom 2000)
8 Track (Ignition 2001)
Slow Down (Rockabilly Riot 2005)
Folsom City Blues (Johnny Cash cover)
Put on Your Cat Clothes (Red Hot & Live 2007)
Blue Moon of
Pick Pocket (Setzer Goes Instru-MENTAL 2011)
Runaway Boys (Stray Cats - Stray Cats 1981)
Sexy & 17 (Stray Cats Rant'n'Rave 1983)
Stray Cat Strut (Stray Cats - Stray Cats 1981)
Cry Baby (Stray Cats - Choo Choo Hot Fish 1992
Red Hot (Rockabilly Riot 2005)
Fishnet Stockings (Stray Cats - Stray Cats 1981)
Rock This Town (Stray Cats - Stray Cats 1981)
Seven Nights to Rock (Moon Mullican cover)
Thursday, March 29, 2012
FRANKIE VALLI & THE FOUR SEASONS
Tues 28 March 2012
The last time Frankie Valli was in
It's a big band, many of which have been with Valli for decades with a great all-Adelaide horn section (hats off guys, great job). I'm not quite sure why it was billed as Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons though. There are four young singer/dancers providing the harmonies and the choreography, but none of them old enough to be members of any of the classic line-up's of the actual Four Seasons. In fact, they were much more 'Jersey Boys' musical theatre than Seasons, to the point where I found their enthusiastic twirling a little distracting at times.
They open with The Night with the local brass section earning their pay packet right up front. Dawn (Go Away) is next and their are chills up our collective spines as those glorious layered harmonies wash over us. However it certainly does appear that while Mr Valli is still quite the showman, both he and his backing singers have more than a little vocal help via what I like to call the Morning Television effect. You know on The Circle when they have a guest chef on and he's saying you have to cook the flan for 45 minutes, BUT here's one I prepared earlier? It's like that except instead of a flan it is a note perfect vocal track. A few songs in it becomes obvious that not everything coming out of the speakers is coming out of the mouths on the stage live. This is very common place these days and major acts, especially those either doing lots of dancing (i.e. Madonna, Janet Jackson, etc) or older performers who at 60 or 70 don't have the puff to put on the same show they once did, will often have a little help (and sometimes a lot) on the tape. This is always a controversial thing to say, because the people who went and had a great time feel like you're telling them Santa Claus isn't real or something. I don't think in the scheme of thing anybody in attendance tonight was that bothered one way or the other, but it needed to be mentioned. It's also important to say this was not the case for the entire performance, as something's were absolutely sung live.
Opus 17, Working My Way Back To You and their classic take of I've Got You Under My Skin (dedicated to Frank Sinatra) have people chair dancing enthusiastically. The run of hits continues with Save it for Me and the excellent Beggin'. Frankie sits on a stool for one of my favourite solo Valli numbers My Eyes Adored You from 1975 (I think I had it on the Ripper compilation album!). Swearing to God from the same year, is the first of his disco flavoured hits.
There is a section of songs from his latest album Romancing the 60's (which actually came out in 2007), where he covered a bunch of classic 60's tunes by Petula Clarke, Ben E King, Everly Brothers and the Temptations, but gave them a terrific 4 Seasons make over. So we get Call Me, Let it Be Me, Spanish
Surely that must be all the hits? No way Jose. Sherry, Walk Like a Man, Big Girls Don't Cry and Bye Bye Baby round out the evening. He returns for Rag Doll and it's during the last song Let's Hang On that there can be no doubt he has some vocal help. Bent over signing autographs and shaking hands for most of the song, his voice doesn't falter at all. And I doubt that not one of the dozens of people who rushed to the front to shake this legends hand cared a jot.
Dawn (Go Away)
Opus 17 (Don't Worry About Me)
Working My Way Back to You
I've Got You Under My Skin
Save It For Me
My Eyes Adored You
Swearing to God
Let It Be Me
My Girl / Groovin'
Silence is Golden
Who Loves You
December '63 (Oh What a Night)
Can't Take My Eyes off You
Walk Like a Man
Big Girls Don't Cry
Bye Bye Baby
Let's Hang On
Wednesday, March 28, 2012
Norwood Concert Hall
Saturday 24 March 2012
It was an intimate (that means quite small) but enthusiastic (that means enthusiastic) audience gathered at the
The evening opens with Lowe's touring keyboard player Geraint Watkins as support. "We can't afford a support band," says at one point. After we laugh he continues "..you may well laugh!", he says referring to the size of the crowd. Most people tonight haven't heard Geraint sing before, but his combination of jazz, boogie, old school rhythm & blues and Cajun and a voice like smooth gravel will mean there will be a bunch of us searching out his CD's. The entire audience is eating from the palm of his hand less then half way into his set.
After a short break Nick Lowe arrives and treats us to a couple of acoustic solo numbers Stoplight Roses, from his latest album The Old Magic and his classic Heart from Nick The Knife from 1982. Right from the start it is obvious this is going to be a special night. These days it is extremely rare to see a singer so aware of his own voice, that he allows it to do all the heart work on it's own merits, without straining and having too many effects or sledge-hammering an audience with volume. His voice is rich and textured and put simply, he is a fantastic singer. Somebody yells out "Happy Birthday Nick" as it is his 64th birthday, when we attempt a quick audience version of Happy Birthday to You, Nick is quick to good naturedly wave it away.
As his band joins him on the stage he tells us he has a new album out. "I know what you're thinking, why do they do it? You come along to hear the songs you know and they play a bunch of new songs. Well let me assure you these songs have been tested by experts and they are really very good and will blend seamlessly in with the songs you may already know." Nick Lowe wouldn't lie to us. All the new songs really are 'really very good' and apart from being a great singer and raconteur, Lowe is an incredibly underrated songwriter. Yes people know his best known songs, but almost every song he performs tonight is classic A Grade material. You could be forgiven for believing they were written by Bacharach & David, Leiber & Stoller, Ellie Greenwich or a team in the Brill building. He tells stories of love and loss, heartbreak and hurt and delivers them with a melancholia, poison or joy depending on what song it is.
So the set is peppered with old favourites like Raging Eyes and Cruel To Be Kind, but many of tonight's high points come from newer songs. I Live On A Battlefield, I Read a
Nick returns with Geraint to do one of Geraint's own songs Only A Rose. A toe-tapping version of When I Write The Book, is followed by his best known song What's So Funny 'Bout Peace Love & Understanding. Written by Nick when he was only nineteen, made popular by his long time buddy Elvis Costello, it is the most intelligent non-hippy, anti-war song in pop music history. Hearing one of my all time favourite songs performed by it's original voice, is a treat indeed. The encore concludes with
Shortly after the lights go up a group of people hoping to say hello are ushered backstage, where Basher (as he is affectionately known) signed albums, posed for photographs and shared his birthday cake with the die-hards. A lovely end to a lovely gig.
words & photos : Ian Bell
Stoplight Roses (solo acoustic)
Heart (solo acoustic)
What Lack of Love Has Done
Lately I've Been Letting Things Slide
Has She Got a Friend
I Trained Her To Love Me
I Live on a Battlefield
I Read a
Cruel to be Kind
Somebody Cares For Me
I Knew The Bride
Only a Rose
When I Write The Book
Peace Love and Understanding
Alison (solo acoustic)
Wednesday, March 14, 2012
AXIS OF AWESOME
WORLD TOUR 2006
Garden of Unearthly Delights
7pm til March 18
It's been a crazy twelve months for the boys from AOA. Formed in
til March 18th
I see a lot of stand up comedy. A lot. Much of it is okay to very good, much of it is patchy, with good bits and not so good bits. Every now and again you come across a stand up who is head and shoulders above the pack. A comedian who is in complete control of his material and his audience, who interacts with people and takes the show in unexpected directions and is consistently funny for their whole set. A comedian who writes great gags, who is extremely likeable on stage and who can break up an entire room with a single facial gesture or even a pause. A comedian who is at the very top of their game. Lindsay Webb is such a comedian. This
til March 18th
It's a bit hard to explain
Cinema Nova (early) / Umbrella Revolution (late)
til March 18
His last show was produced by Noel Fielding from The Mighty Boosh. It's worth mentioning because he shares some of the same absurdist humour as The Boosh. The lights go down and Paul Foot starts the off stage announcement, but it goes so well that he seems reluctant to start the actual show. He spends five minutes out of sight debating with himself wether people would prefer to enjoy a continuing off stage announcement instead of his actual show. When he does appear it's not on the stage but in the audience who he proceeds to get close up and personal with whilst animatedly discussing the pros and cons of celebrity cockerel sanctuaries and giving us a run down of how the show will run, once he starts it. I was in stitches for most of the night, but it wasn't for everybody and there were a few walk outs. But those that stayed absolutely loved it.
Friday, March 9, 2012
AWAITING MY MOUSTACHE
8pm til March 10th
Playing your Fringe show in a tent (in this case Funny Pork) in a noisy garden venue (in this case Gluttony) can pose some problems for the most seasoned of Fringe veterans. Extraneous noise from show rides, vendors flogging hot dogs, even bleed form other shows in progress. James McCann is one of my favourites of the new wave of
It's a brave move to start your show by announcing it has been cancelled and is being replaced by an Avant-Garde theatre piece. It is of course James, who makes an unusual entrance, before 'revealing' it was him all along! His material is smart and his on stage boy/man personae extremely likeable. He has extremely funny material about the
Monday, March 5, 2012
CHRIS KNIGHT'S ODD FUSION WOLF BEARD GIVE THEM SNACKS
Crown & Anchor
Wed - Sat, 6pm til Mar 10
Yes it's an odd kind title for a show but he's an odd kind of fellow.
The spruced up Cranker has new stage curtains a lick of paint (and has possibly been disinfected) and scrubs up rather well as a Fringe venue this year. Well done chaps.
RANDY IS SOBER
Garden of Unearthly Delights
Sun Mar 4 - one show only.
It seems a bit weird that a purple puppet with a head like a testicle would deliver one of this Fringe's most fantastic shows. But that's exactly what Randy (usually seen with his human partner Sammy J) has done with his Randy is Sober. Sounds like for a puppet Randy was quite the drinker and when he gave up the firewater, he decided that wouldn't be hard enough by itself, so he gave up smoking and embarked on a long distance relationship all at once. He was already a vegetarian.
A near full house is completely captivated by Randy from the second he appears on stage (obviously he doesn't 'walk' on stage) and for a full hour he has us in stiches with his rapid-fire, hilarious material, dance moves and the slightest tilt of the head. His impersonation of Stephen Hawkings one of the piss-funniest things I have seen this Fringe. His audience interaction is priceless. "Am I looking at you? These eyes don't work!" and unscheduled biology lesson ("You all know where the perineum is right?", "Nipples?", horrified Randy "I think it's just as well we're having this little chat") is fantastic. The show itself is the story of his journey to sobriety and a bit of a love story to his lush days gone by.
You forget that Randy is a puppet, even when he is reminding you. And the fact that he is so captivating is all down to his close friend Heath McIvor, who is pretty much a frickin' genius. A puppeteer par excellence, with impeccable comic timing, lightning fast reflexes and great material McIvor breathes more than life into his purple protégé. An hour whizzes by way too fast.
Wednesday, February 29, 2012
Mostly Glitter & Girls
7pm & 9:30pm Sundays & Mondays only til Mar 12th
Sell out seasons in 2010 and 2011 have already proven that
Gorgeous blonde pin-up girl Miss Lolly Dolly get's things off to a traditional burlesque start with a sensational and classic fan dance. Reigning Miss Burlesque Lyra Le Belle & Bollywood temptress Radha Leigh are the powerhouse duo behind this tassle twirling troupe of talented performers. They work really well together and alone. There are afro'ed disco dancing, Leigh's Bollywood number is amazing and Le Belle's playful Lion Sleeps Tonight routine is the true essence of burlesque. There is sometimes confusion about exactly what the difference between burlesque and stripping is. They both have girls and music and there is often disrobing, but the simple answer is burlesque is more about the suggestion than the pants off full frontal nudity of the stripper. There is humour, playfulness in burlesque and it's more about being sensual than sexual. Don't misunderstand me, the girls are all breath taking and they each bend and move in ways that have pulses racing, but it's never smutty or crass.
Guest performer Luna Eclipse from fellow Adelaide burlesque troupe Peaches and Gin rocks the roof off the Rhino with a perfect Genie routine, full of great comic timing, knowing over exaggerated winks and tassels that seem individually powered no matter where they are stuck. The finale has to be seen because it will simultaneously blow your mind and split your sides.
They have shows at 7pm and 9:30pm every Sunday and Monday til the end of the Fringe at the Rhino Room.
Hannah Wants a Wife
8pm til March 4
Each time I see Hannah Gadsby she is better than the last. She is deadpan and whip smart, thoroughly engaging and extremely funny. Recently her fan base has expanded considerably from being
Hannah has a Fine Arts degree which she hasn't been using much lately, unless you count that Artscape shows she made about the National Gallery of Victoria for ABC-TV. But let's say, for the sake of this review that she hasn't been, her new show Hannah Wants A Wife gives her a great opportunity to do so. The tiny stage of The Rhino Room is dominated by a large print of a painting by Jan van Eyck from 1434 called the Arnolfini Portrait. For hundreds of years this portrait has been seen as an actual marriage contract, with every tiny detail a symbolizing and detailed story about the people in the painting, their standing and lives. Throughout the show Hannah uses the painting and all that is known about it, to illustrate that everything is not as it would appear and not just in the artwork. She deftly uses the painting as a reference point for talking about gay marriage, time travel and how awkward it can be when heterosexual blokes come into contact with somebody like Hannah who...well...bats for the other team. Great writing, engaging and laugh out loud funny story teller. Hannah Wants a Wife is excellent. Hurry last days!
BARRY MORGANS WORLD OF ORGANS
7pm til March 18
When I first glimpsed BARRY MORGAN two years ago I knew we were going to get along famously. The man with toothiest smile since the Osmonds, the cheesiest safari suit since my Grandad and the quickest keyboard fingers since Barry Hall (obscure 1970's
Morgan is a fantastic comic creation of course, the fantastic 1972 hair cut and moustache, the biggest smile in showbiz and he bangs out every conceivable double entre about 'organs' you could imagine. It should also be said that Barry is actually an incredible musician. That he is being an incredible musician on one of the most kitsch of all instruments isn't a deal breaker, it does in fact it makes it that much more fantastic. There is however a thin line between a parody of a guy playing cheesy
9:45pm til March 3
Mr Dave Callan is the quintessential Adelaide Fringe performer. He comes to Adelaide each year does his own always excellent show, then turns up everywhere there is to turn up. Rhino Late Show, Chopper Late Night, Comedy Gala, Imaan's Bigger Than Jesus, Comic Strip plus this year he is a part of the Burlesque Beauties show Mostly Glitter & Girls show (I suspect he is the reason it's not just called Totally Glitter & Girls). He's like an omni-present comedy Jesus, but with better jokes. Which is all the better for us. He is one of the most likeable stand-up's on the planet. He doesn't do nasty material and doesn't treat his audience like idiots. Last year he did a show in Edinburgh and while he was there he stumbled across a book from 1913 called The Psychology of Laughter. That book and the 'wisdom' contained therein were so disturbing they have become the backbone of Callan's new show. Some of 'psychology' involved makes sense and is insightful, but great chunks of it's pages are crammed with the kind of blatantly racist and sexist jokes that Dave is the polar opposite of. In his skillful hands he uses the sheer inappropriateness of this work to turn the ridicule on the book itself. Some of the contents so offensive he actually spat tea all over a particularly off colour page. There is a great section where he compares how things were 100 years ago to how they are now. It's extremely funny and has the audience in stitches. Partly the show is a semi-deconstruction of what makes people laugh, mostly it is a show to make people laugh a great deal. The run has sold extremely well and finishes this weekend get there if you can.
Tuesday, February 28, 2012
HOT DUB TIME MACHINE
Garden of Unearthly Delights
11:30pm Saturdays Only during Fringe
So it's Saturday night in the Garden, February 2012 and people are looking for the best party on the planet. It's right here in the Idolize.
Sydney DJ Tom Loud has built himself a Time Machine. A Hot Dub Time Machine. It's an intricate device powered by dancing and through Hot Dub power we travel back in time to 1954 and he creates a year by year dance party like you have never seen before. Through skilful DJ-ing of both audio and video projections, the joint is jumping from the get go. Starting in the rock'n'roll era, through the British Invasion, Motown, funk, psych rock, disco, grunge, hip hop, rave and right up to dub step. Tom is a DJ after my own heart with the breadth of musical knowledge and the sense to know people like to dance to more than one style of music. And with HDTM it means he can literally cherry pick the best music of the last 60 years and make EVERYBODY dance. Elvis, Beatles, Hendrix, Led Zeppelin, Doors, Pink Floyd, New Order, MC Hammer, Hilltop Hoods, all the way up to Skrillex. Guaranteed your favourite things to dance to will be in the mix somewhere. He throws in some TV themes and other pop culture references along the way, and one of my favourite bits was Sammy J and Dave Callan losing their minds when he dropped the Theme from Ship to Shore into the mix.
At the start of each decade we are briefed by Tom's video assistant. She informs us that we need to keep the energy levels up or we could get trapped in 1989 "..and nobody wants that". We can get extra power along the way by dancing exceptionally well or doing specific moves for each decade.
The audience was sadly not as mixed and varied as the set list. Mostly young hipster clubber types with too much attitude you might find at Parklife or Future Music Festivals. Which is a shame. Just because you dress in groovy clothes and have one of those 'club' hair-do's doesn't make you any less of a douche bag. Still it's a big pavilion and it's easy to re-position yourself round the edges with plenty of places to bust a move. Close to us there is a group of four quite elderly people who aren't doing much dancing themselves, but who are clearly enjoying watching the young people enjoy themselves.
The time appropriate video images are a great addition and do make it more of a show, than just watching a DJ. That said though Loud is an Energizer Bunny on the decks pumping the crowd, taking hi-fives from people and dancing up a storm. It is an epic journey back to 2012 and takes almost two and a half hours to complete. By the end everybody is covered in sweat, exhausted and they leave with big dumb grins on their faces. Yours truly included.
A fantastic party that you should not miss during this Fringe.
25 Feb 2012
Everyone occasionally has a bad day at the office. You missed your alarm or the bus, there's no milk for your coffee, the meeting you rushed in for is cancelled.
Stephen Cummings is having a bad day at the office. Except it's night time and the office is the Idolize. He thanks us for coming to his "..annual trip to
Inevitably somebody yells out Boys What Did The Detectives Say, The Sports breakthrough single from 1978. Cummings bangs through a terrific version of it with great confidence. She Set Fire To The House from the Lovetown album also has some problems. A couple of times he uses a machine that makes a rhythmic thud track to play along with, but he seems unhappy with it and has trouble making it do what he wants it to do. At one point he says "I'm going to sit up here til I get one of these songs fucking right!".
He debuts two songs off the forthcoming new album Reverse Psychology and both of them (Stupidity and All Day) demonstrate he still has the goods as a singer/songwriter. By now it's 11 o'clock and I am hyper aware that these Fringe venues in the Garden have pretty tight turn around times and shows that are queued up back to back. But he starts playing Strangers on a Train, another great Sports classic, so I'm not complaining. This too is a victim of the thud box, and half way through he aborts it and starts over with just the guitar. I'm becoming aware that the Idolize staff are now trying to get his attention, sending people down front to try and catch him between songs. There's a flashlight from the back of the room and at one point they turn the house lights up. However Stephen is concentrating and misses all of these hints that it might be time to wrap things up. The audience is mostly unaware of this because he is playing Sports classics like Suspicious Minds, and an aborted How Come. When that one crashes into a heap someone down front says "Okay Stephen one more Who Listens to the Radio", and he happily complies.
It was a far from perfect gig, but everybody is entitled to a bad day at the office. I hope we see you again next year Mr Cummings.
Sunday, February 26, 2012
Triple J favourite Tom Ballard tells us his show is about politics but we shouldn't worry because ".the usual dick and gay jokes you have come to expect from a Tom Ballard show will still be here." And they are, but Doing Stuff turns out to be more textured than you might think. It is a show as much about sexual and personal politics as it is about the other kind. I saw this show the day Rudd resigned and this was manna from heaven for a political comedian. Over an hour he covers the Labour leadership spill, gay marriage and some very disturbing tales of the grossest gay sex acts, both in general and his own specifically. Are they gross - OH Yeah they are, but the point is not that they not gross acts because they are between same sex participants. They are just flat out hilariously disgusting no matter who was involved. I'll spare you the details, trust me it's better that way. Ballard is fantastically likeable on stage, his material is really strong, cleverly written and delivered with boyish charm from a terrific performer.