Show Review: John Farnham 12.12.15

Published on theMusic.com.au, Dec 2015

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A DAY ON THE GREEN

Nostalgic Aussie pub rock with a hint of saxophone delivered by The Black Sorrows wasn’t a bad way to spend a Saturday afternoon.

Doing his best to connect with a tame and restless, slowly building audience, the only original member of the band, Joe Camilleri, had enough hits up his sleeve to keep the masses satisfied.

Ross Wilson, however, wasn’t about to let the audience sit back and relax, demanding interaction with timeless classics from his Daddy Cool and Mondo Rock days, which set the perfect tone for what followed.

The sun may have disappeared by the time Daryl Braithwaite graced the stage for the night’s most energetic performance, but the Summer Love was just getting started.

His charismatic wit had punters divided one minute (mentioning Collingwood is a sure-fire way to instantly make 6,000 enemies in WA) and singing in harmony the next.

There was never a dull moment as Braithwaite and band powered through a hit-packed set that culminated in Sherbet classics Howzat and The Horses.

Although Braithwaite’s got a solid voice, no one comes close to the instantly recognisable sounds of the one and only John Farnham; that much was sure during opener Age Of Reason.

A grand entrance and even more lavish production amplified emotions, as Farnham danced his way around the stage with grin. The lights stayed up for a Whispering Jack classic that gave numerous Reasons to sing along.

At 66 years of age, he was “rooted… to the spot”, and although his cheeky, self-deprecating humour was a nice touch, his age didn’t affect his performance ability, with many Hearts On Fire throughout the set.

Farnham’s name was front and centre, but he handed out praise to various individuals almost after every song, from the band around him to others who have contributed to his career, giving accolades to co-writer Brian Cadd in Don’t You Know It’s Magic and Mondo Rock guitarist Eric McCusker – who had performer with Wilson earlier – for his part in No One Comes Close.

“I wish I had that mullet. I miss that thing. It was world class,” he said, welcoming Touch Of Paradise. An odd transition, but many agreed. Farnham may have a little less hair now, but his voice and loyal fan base are still in fine form, that much was clear from That’s Freedom, Pressure Down, Little River Band’s Playing To Win and epic, expected finale You’re The Voice.

A Day On The Green’s latest venture shone a spotlight on “some of the greatest talents Australia’s ever produced”, and by the final note of a cover of AC/DC’s It’s A Long Way To The Top faded out, it was clear the hits throughout the evening were some of the best ever written.

http://themusic.com.au/music/livereviews/2015/12/16/john-farnham-kings-park-and-botanic-garden-daniel-cribb/

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INTERVIEW: Dylan Moran

Published in The Music (NSW, VIC) and on theMusic.com.au, Dec 2015

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It seems comedy is the only thing keeping Irish funny man Dylan Moran sane. Daniel Cribb discovers how he deals with a chaotic world and why cult favourite Black Books might have flopped if it were set today.

Only days after the tragic Paris terror attacks comedy legend Dylan Moran finds himself in Prague on tour. While other comedians might shy away from such a sensitive issue when it comes to the media and the stage, it’s one of the first things he weaves into conversation, and it’s all too clear that for Moran, his chosen career path is one that allows him to process what’s going on in the world. “It’s not difficult to have something to say about it, but as a comedian, it’s not exactly a shining fruit on the tree,” he begins.

The difficult thing is thinking about laughter, especially so recently after it. I grew up with terrorism in the background in Ireland, so I’m quite familiar to the sounds of reports and that kind of thing and reactions on a day-to-day basis — that was part of growing up for me.

“The thing is, life does carry on, and it carries on in every single possible way; every single facet of life carries on after some cataclysm event. There’s a shock and then life picks itself up and carries on at pace. Because you have to.”

Each show for Moran acts as a diary entry of sorts, and it’s a personal approach to those issues that seems to work better in a stand-up environment. “For all the planning you do and all the kind of conceiving you do, a lot of that doesn’t actually make it. Funnily enough, what does tend to make it is stuff that you think won’t work because it’s too easy or too familiar, but a lot of the time that’s the stuff that people respond to because that’s the relatable stuff.

“It’s not, ‘I think this about the history of terrorism,’ or ‘I think this is why this country has the attitudes that it has right now.’ It seems to be much more, ‘So I was in the bakery and this happened.’ Street level, anecdotal.”

It’s a far deeper thought process than fans of cult hit Black Books or his film work might envision, but the fact is, Moran is a political and social sponge, forever adapting his show to what’s going on in the world and the city he is performing in. If you caught Off The Hook in Australia this year, its DVD release — filmed in London — is almost a completely different show.

One of the constants throughout, however, is Moran’s concern with how much humanity is engaging and relying on technology. “I think the phase of it that I’ve noticed over the last year or so has not been a positive one. I think people either need to get rid of some of it or integrate it more into their lives so it’s less of an obstruction to their ordinary behaviour,” he comments.

The current trend would see future generations watching Black Books and not quite understanding the concept of a bookstore. “Yeah, it’s interesting that,” Moran says. “Because when people sit down with a book, they’re plugging into a relationship with another mind, but the internet is not a mind, the internet is like a boiling sea of souls. There’s no rest in it.”

Off The Hook begins with a series of art drawn by Moran projected onto a screen, which is another creative format he finds cathartic. Coupled with the impressions and numerous accents delivered throughout the show, it’s not a stretch to think he might be thinking about getting into voice acting. “It is, actually,” he says, sparking to attention. “It is, but I’m a bit reluctant to jump into somebody else’s game. I am thinking about it, in short — possibly animated, but I’ll get back to you on that. It’s very much in the pipeline.”

The Off The Hook DVD release marks the end of an extensive world tour that will see Moran take a bit of a break from touring, allowing him time to work on other things. “I have fiddled around with some television things, I will again before long because I won’t be touring for a while. I’m going to be doing something homemade,” he reveals. “Something I can do at home without having to haul my arse out on the road for a year again, so I’ll do something that I can make at home — that’s what I’ll tell you.”

But Moran’s noticed a change in the way TV is consumed these days, which ties back into the technology issue. “I think people are using TV differently — there was a phase of really good dramas, long-form American series that happened after The Sopranos. I think people seem to be using [TV] for pure escapism now.

“Your problem is still there squatting at the bottom of your bed when you’re finished looking at MasterChef Goes Dancing.”

http://themusic.com.au/interviews/all/2015/12/04/dylan-moran-daniel-cribb/

Show Review: Tim & Eric 08.12.15

Published on theMusic.com.au, Dec 2015

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ASTOR THEATRE

With a cult following at their disposal, the debut of Tim & Eric’s new live show was literally a religious experience.

Dressed in white gowns, sporting their own bible of sorts in Zone Theory, their second venture to Australia saw a more developed and diverse production on offer, which reflected the busy few years since the last time they visited the “beautiful bogans” in 2012.

While their maiden voyage was primarily focused on fan favourite Awesome Show, round two was a culmination of the exiting and broad strokes they’ve produced as of late, including the aforementioned book release and new TV show,Bedtime Stories, mixed with new songs, skits, slapstick and awkward crowd interaction.

With little or no context, Tim Heidecker’s downright absurd mood swings and Eric Wareheim’s innocently filthy speech can come across as quite a puzzling feat. While seemingly random and chaotic on the surface, a closer look sees a show that flows perfectly.

http://themusic.com.au/comedy/reviews/2015/12/09/tim-and-eric-astor-theatre-daniel-cribb/

INTERVIEW: Tim & Eric

Published in The Music (NSW, VIC, QLD) and on theMusic.com.au, Aug-Dec 2015

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A DIFFERENT PAGE

It’s only been in recent years that US comedy duo Tim Heidecker and Eric Wareheim learned to embrace the limitations set by the absurdist label they unwillingly fall under. Daniel Cribb discovers the method behind the madness.

“What’s uuuuuuuppp??” shoot two high-pitched voices down the line. It’s unmistakably Tim Heidecker and Eric Wareheim, who have just announced their second Australian tour, and unless this scribe treads lightly, things will spiral out of control very quickly. “Ba’hee to you too,” the pair respond when the mantra from their new ‘self-help’ book is mentioned.

It’s a 317-page effort parodying religions like Scientology, and has just as many celebrities throwing their name behind it. “Zone Theory helped me to become a happier, healthier, more confident man. I recommend it to everyone I meet. Buy it now,” John C Reilly, Marilyn Manson, Ben Stiller are quoted as saying on the back of Heidecker and Warehiem’s first book, Zone Theory: 7 Easy Steps To Achieve A Perfect Life.

Those are just a few of the many Hollywood names plastered on the back of the hard-covered path to enlightenment, and while Tim & Eric aren’t as popular as some of the big-time names on the back of the book, they’ve found a cult following since unleashing five seasons of Awesome Show, Great Job! on Adult Swim, and have greats like Paul Rudd, Will Ferrell itching to get in on the action.

“I think there’s a sense of freedom and creativity with what we do that is not hard — it comes naturally for these people,” Heidecker says. “If you compare that to a big movie set or a big TV show, a lot of the times those can be very stifling and boring environments to be in, because things are methodical and they take a while and when we work, it’s very fast and fun.”

It’s an interesting brand of humour the comedy duo unleash, and while fans will attest to the fact that the manic animation and often disturbingly hilarious subject matter is well written and executed, the Tim & Eric brand is frequently labelled ‘absurdist’: a term they’re not too enthused about. “We don’t love it, because people associate absurdity with randomness and we actually do work hard on all these ideas, and the ideas come from grounded things that exist. We’re storytellers in our own unique way,” comments Wareheim.

Their work often has the uninitiated scratching their heads, wondering where ideas sprouted, but even longtime fans might be surprised that the creativity has never been sparked via illicit materials. “It doesn’t really bug us anymore,” Wareheim says on the constant ‘they must be on drugs’ comments. “If you do look at our work and don’t know us, it does seem kind of whacky, and I think the work is very good on drugs, but we’ve never taken drugs when we write or perform – maybe a beer or cider before a performance, but that’s as hard as we go.”

Translating their visual humour to the Zone Theory pages was a “frustrating” effort, and one that saw the pair enlist help from longtime collaborator/writer/editor Doug Lussenhop, who helped shape the style of Awesome Show, and Australian-born actor Gregg Turkington (Neil Hamburger), who Heidecker has worked with extensively, when it came to writing.

Lussenhop opened for Heidecker and Wareheim on their last trip to Australia in 2012 as DJ Dougg Pound and will accompany them on the ‘Stralia-Zealand Experience tour. “Basically what we do a lot of time with our shows is we get a room together with people we really like and we just bounce ideas off each other and they throw ideas back, and that was kind of how they contributed — an afternoon trying to make each other laugh within the constructs of the concepts of the book,” Heidecker tells. “We like to keep it in the family and work with people we love and know well.”

Their connections to the inner sanctum of Hollywood see Heidecker and Wareheim branch out on their own projects when they find the time. Heidecker recently appeared in Fantastic Four (of which he commented “Who gives a shit?”), and Wareheim has signed on to appear on Aziz Ansari’s Netflix show Master Of None, and directed music videos for Major Lazer, MGMT and more in the past.

While they both have the potential to expand their horizons, they have accepted the fact their work under the Tim & Eric banner has its limits, which was a revelation cemented by 2012’s Billion Dollar Movie. “We made the movie to be appreciated by more than just our fans, and the general public said, ‘Hell no,’ so that was as far as we could go,” Wareheim says. “But we’re fine with people not getting it — it makes it much more special for fans that it’s not a widely received movie or show; it’s like a cult.”

John C Reilly got a mention earlier and his connection to Heidecker and Wareheim goes far deeper than some words on the back of a book; the pair has worked closely with him on Awesome Show and spin-off Check It Out!, in which the actor plays a questionable doctor by the name of Steve Brule. “We’re writing Season Four of that show,” Wareheim reveals. “We’re shooting it in the fall, and they usually come out in Feb, Mar area time,” Heidecker adds. “We love it; it’s a really fun show for us to write and make. The more you make it, the more the universe of the show grows; it’s very satisfying.”

They might be branching into different avenues individually, but it’s when they collaborate with one another, even after all these years, that things feel right. “It’s a blast. I recently did a large job and it was a lot of hard work and not that many laughs,” Wareheim says. “We got back together and made the Bedtime Stories special and we laughed together. It’s good to have that laughter. We’ve been working together for 20 years — can you imagine — and we were cracking each other up — it was fantastic.”

http://themusic.com.au/interviews/all/2015/08/14/tim-heidecker-eric-wareheim-daniel-cribb/