INTERVIEW: Jack Gleeson

Published in The Music (QLD, VIC) and on theMusic.com.au, Mar – Apr 2016

The Man Who Can’t Watch ‘Game Of Thrones’

The reason why Game Of Thrones is so successful is also why Jack Gleeson isn’t able to watch it. Everyone’s favourite king tells Daniel Cribb what he’s been up to and dispels a rumour that’s been circulating.

You only have to glance at social media when even the slightest bit of Game Of Thrones news breaks to realise the impact the show has on society. After every new episode, there’s banter between friends and the world speculates about what will happened next, but it’s not a conversation former star and former king of Westeros Jack Gleeson is able to partake. “I haven’t actually watched one episode since leaving, to be honest,” he laughs. “The trailer just came out about an hour ago, so I watched that for the new season but it’s all gibberish to me, I don’t know what going on.”

It’s not out of any form of negativity, rather he’s unable to become immersed in the show after working behind the scenes. “I’ve just heard a few people who have really enjoyed the show and then they see an event at which the actors are present in their normal everyday clothes, and it kind of ruins the illusion for them, so I think it’s a testament to the storytelling that you can really get lost in it and believe these characters are real.”

Since Game Of Thrones, Gleeson hasn’t really pursued any other acting jobs, other than maintaining his theatre company, Collapsing Horse Theatre Co., and appearing in a stage production of Bears In Space last year.

He’s finished a degree in philosophy and theology, started learning Arabic and is now just living a “pretty normal” day-to-day life. “I think naturally I’m prone to kind of overthink and I like to pick apart concepts and argue for the sake of arguing, so it was kind of a natural thing for me,” he comments on his studies. “I’ve graduated now and I don’t really know what to do with the degree. It’s not really the most practical one, but I certainly enjoyed studying it.”

Despite numerous news stories that circulated after his time on the show, Gleeson hasn’t bowed out of acting, and it’s something he is still interested in; it’s just a matter of the right project presenting itself. “It was never something that I actively proclaimed or decided that I was never going to do it again and that I was going to quit,” he says.

“It was more a thing of taking a break and wanting to do other things because Game Of Thrones was so big… I wanted to revaluate my career choices or whether I wanted to be full-time actor. But no, I’m just taking a step back.

“Someone probably asked me if I planned on doing any other projects after Game Of Thrones and I probably told them exactly what I just told you, which is I don’t really know and journalists sensationalise things.”

If the latest season of Game Of Thrones taught us anything, it’s that killing off a character doesn’t mean farewell, so maybe we will see the return of King Joffrey at some stage. “I’d say yes. It’d be hard to say no,” he says. “I suppose there’s more a chance of that kind of thing happening now that the TV show has caught up with the books, so the storylines are becoming slightly more inventive whereas before a lot of the storylines were based on the books.

“As an actor, you kind of knew where all the twists and turns were coming from, whereas now, they might call me up, but I haven’t gotten a call yet. I’ll wait.”

http://themusic.com.au/interviews/all/2016/04/01/jack-gleeson-daniel-cribb/

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INTERVIEW: Arj Barker

Published in The Music (QLD, VIC, SA), X-Press Magazine (WA) and on theMusic.com.au, Mar – Apr 2016

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Barker’s Got A Lot Of Fingers In A Lot Of Pies

Australian adoptee Arj Barker‘s not only been working his latest set to perfection, but crafting a new single, developing a TV show and avoiding goats in bushes. Daniel Cribb gets schooled by the comic-turned-hip hop star.

If you were sitting in a Melbourne bar and an Arj Barker-like character dressed convincingly as Satan sat next to you for a couple of drinks, you might be left somewhat speechless. Well, between takes on the set of Brisbane rockers DZ Deathrays’ latest music video — the second DZ clip Barker has been a part of — that’s exactly what went down. “I would just sit there at the bar, having a beer and I got some pretty funny looks, because that make-up was really intense,” Barker laughs. “They’re mates at this point, so it was a pleasure working with them,” he adds.

Having spent a large amount of time Down Under over the years, he’s come across a few local acts that have sparked his interest, including Adelaide two-piece Filthy Lucre. It’s in South Australia that Barker’s been moulding his new show,Organic — a fitting title considering his methods — in preparation for MICF. “I did two weeks of previews at the Fringe festival in WA, and since then it’s changed a lot. When I came to Adelaide I had it pretty well dialled-in; I’ve just made some minor tweaks, subtle tweaks,” Barker explains.

“It’s more it comes down to the wording — getting the wording just perfect. I’m sort of particular about that, so I have it so ingrained that I can deliver it in a natural way. I never want it to feel like you’re watching a play or a speech.”

Extensive runs in Adelaide and Melbourne just scratch the surface of his itinerary, with Barker still performing his Get In My Head show — an endeavour that has instantly hilarious art that parodies an old record cover — around the country. Organic keeps the trend of comical posters going, but needed some work to avoid people envisioning acts of beastiality. “We did initially have a goat in the bushes with me, sticking its head out in the same direction, but in the end we decided that people were going to assume it’s this joke about having a sex with a goat, which I didn’t want because that’s a little lowbrow for me, so we decided to just leave it pure.”

Taking into account other projects along the way — like the DZ Deathrays venture — it’s surprising he’s had time to work on a hip hop single and accompanying video. “I’m putting out a song — it’s a hip hop song produced by myself, and mostly created using Logic in my hotel room in Brisbane,” he reveals. “It’s a real grassroots operation. I love rapping, and I love comedy. I’m just editing the video for it now. It’s called Disgrace Book, and complains about certain behaviours on Facebook, but it’s very light-hearted.

“If it catches on I hope to get a chance to perform it… [it’s] on my list of goals is to make a whole album of probably mostly hip hop-style stuff. I’ve always loved rapping and I’m not ashamed to say it. I’ve always tried to rap going back all the way to high school. I see no reason to stop now.”

There have also been some exciting developments on a TV show he’s been working on. “It’s coming along real well. It’s still too early to announce anything, but we made some great progress. We have a production company that’s on board with us now and that’s a massive step. The next step is finding a network that wants to commission the show. We have the talent, the writers, a production company, but we’re just missing that final element — the network — but we haven’t even started to pitch it yet. It’s a little early but it’s coming along great.”

http://themusic.com.au/interviews/all/2016/03/21/arj-barker-daniel-cribb/

INTERVIEW: Alfie Allen

Published in The Music (QLD, VIC, NSW) and on theMusic.com.au, Mar 2016

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Dark Spaces In Far Away Places

Tackling the darkest role on Game Of Thrones, Alfie Allen tells Daniel Cribb he hopes Reek’s storyline gets grimmer on the “political soap opera drama with swords”.

Jetlag has hit Game Of Thrones star Alfie Allen hard when he picks up the phone during a Melbourne promo run. “It won’t affect my amazing answers,” he laughs. It’s not the first time the English actor has been to Victoria, recalling a time when he was 10 years old and his father, Keith Allen, filmed The Bite with Hugo Weaving in the state. “I haven’t been back to Melbourne in years, but I loved it back then and I’m loving it even more now as an adult.”

It was these kind of experiences that helped shape his introduction into film and TV and ultimately secure the role of Theon Greyjoy (now known as Reek) in the massive HBO hit, a character whose multiple dimensions leading into season six have given Allen a wealth of elements to play with. “It’s obviously been pretty tough and it’s taken me to dark places, but I don’t think I’ll ever get an opportunity to play a character like this again,” he says. “I get to basically play three different characters in one person; I play Theon, then I play Reek, then I play Reek pretending to be Theon. As an actor, you can’t really ask for more than that.

“My dad said to me years ago that acting is all about the eyes, and when I didn’t really have much to say in seasons four and five I had to do a lot of acting with just my eyes, so that was challenging and interesting.”

He’s tight-lipped at the mention of the new season, and with good reason. Any spoilers or scoops would surely result in an internet meltdown similar to that when the season six trailer dropped, not that Allen would necessarily be aware of it. “I barely know how to open my own emails, mate,” he laughs.

But he does have some thoughts on why it’s had such a massive impact and has created such an epic global community. “When it first came out, it had the fantasy tag attached to it, where really, now, it’s more of a political soap opera drama with swords. I know it’s sort of weird to say, but it’s a family show, a family drama. There’s sort of different motivations going on in different families and I think that mirrors politics and countries, if you can represent countries as families.”

As far as Reek’s destiny goes, Allen has conflicting views on the matter. “As a person, I would like to see Reek get to a nicer place and see him flourish into another man, but as an actor, I just want to see what they are going to offer up, and if it gets darker, that will be just as exciting as if it didn’t. I’m just up for a challenge, really, and I would like to see how much darker they can make the storyline.”

http://themusic.com.au/interviews/all/2016/03/31/alfie-allen-daniel-cribb/

Show Review: Tom Green 21.03.16

Published on theMusic.com.au, Mar 2016

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Tom Green

Octagon Theatre

Mar 21

An interesting venue for Tom Green (or any comedian for that matter) turned into the perfect setting, as the Canadian cult favourite transformed the university theatre into a classroom from which to school fans on the “digital vortex” that’s taking over.

“It was better before,” he barked, lecturing younger audience members on pre-internet days.

The attendance rate was low, which Green was quick to poke fun at as he told everyone he was filming his new live show, Tickets Still Available.

His time on the Tom Green Show, Road Trip and Freddy Got Fingered encapsulated Green’s absurd and random humour perfectly, but didn’t reflect his surprisingly insightful views on current issues and the way the world is evolving, which was a nice, surprising edge to the live show.

Behind-the-scenes tales and songs from his Hollywood hits, as well as a new Donald-Trump-hip-hop-dis track and aFreddy Got Fingered quote request section were highlights.

From hosting SNL in his prime to now running a podcast (“my career’s going pretty well then”), it seems that as Green matures his humour becomes more refined. While he’s not as sporadic (there were still plenty of over-exaggerated and violent movements and phrases throughout the set), there’s something to be said for Green’s more organised, cohesive material, which is far more engaging.

http://themusic.com.au/music/livereviews/2016/03/22/tom-green-octagon-theatre-daniel-cribb/

theMusic.com.au: Frenzal Rhomb Release Pell Shirt; Label Him ‘Horrible Paedophile Enabler’

Published on theMusic.com.au, Mar 2016

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In keeping with past shirt designs, Australia’s favourite “third rate punk pop losers” Frenzal Rhomb have re-released a politically-charged design that takes aim at Cardinal George Pell, with the band labelling him a “horrible paedophile enabler”.

Speaking to theMusic.com.au about the design, which is a play on Slayer’s Hell Awaits record and features Pell sitting on a throne with “Pell Awaits” written below, guitarist Lindsay McDougall said the imagery was done up in 2014 (an idea from friend and artist Glenno Smith), with Pell’s actions at the recent Royal Commission – after declining to return to Australia for them – a prime time to reprint it.

“I guess the accidental link being that because that horrible paedophile enabler believes in it, he’ll probably actually go to hell when his sordid life finally ends,” McDougall said.

“We booked a gig in Ballarat and saw the disgusting way he weaselled out of answering any questions honestly, from behind his golden camera tripod in the safety of the Vatican (or child rape HQ as they like to call it), with the Ballarat victims ACTUALLY STANDING THERE, watching his thin little hellbound lips spitting out those obvious lies, well, it seemed timely to trot it out again.”

It’s not a matter the band takes lightly either, with McDougall expressing a strong opinion on Pell’s actions.

“They are the actions of a man who pretends he believes in God and The Devil, yet has no problems committing exactly the acts that will better acquaint him with the latter than the former. So, pretty much on par for that tier of the religious hierarchy.

“He’s ticked off most of the 7 Deadly Sins, from his ultra-conservative views on queer lifestyles (Homosexuality a greater risk than smoking), a little basic misogyny, climate change denial, to his grossly overpriced $700k renovation rescue in Vatican City that even had Papa Frank scowling (an under-sink storage unit cost $7000!). And of course the whole pretending-to-be-sick-so-he-can’t-fly-back-to-Australia-to-face-the-Royal-Commission-for-turning-a-blind-eye-to-priests-fucking-kids thing. I liked his attitude on refugees though. He’s probably saved from the lowest pit of hell for that.”

Recently, Tim Minchin released hit single Come Home (Cardinal Pell), which raised raise over $200,000 and hit #1 on the Australian iTunes Songs Chart.

“I’m glad that with such a massive audience he’s still into making statements like that, to rattle the cages a bit,” McDougall said. “The song though, come on. That melody is a rip of of Green Day’s 21 Guns, which is a rip off of Bachelor Girl’s Permission To Shine, which is a rip off of Telephone Line by Electric Light Orchestra. But I’ve heardMatilda is a great romp for kids of all ages.”

“I’m much more impressed with the Ballarat survivors (and people like Meshell Laurie who raised the cash) who actually went over to the Vatican to front the prick. It’s all good for massive comedians or third rate punk pop losers to have a go from the safety of our merch store, but these legends have been dealing with the pain all their lives, and are now having to relive it because some smarmy frock-wearer won’t own up to being a rape-enabler.”

Frenzal Rhomb hit the road at the end of the month for their first shows with drummer Gordy Forman since he broke his arm in Perth last year during a show. The tour kicks off Thursday 31 March at The Loft in Warnambool before taking on other states, all with support from Clowns.

http://themusic.com.au/news/all/2016/03/18/frenzal-rhomb-release-pell-shirt-label-him-horrible-paedophile-enabler/

Show Review: Tom Jones 13.03.16

Published on theMusic.com.au, Mar 2016

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Tom Jones, Mahalia Barnes & The Soul Mates

Kings Park & Botanic Garden

Feb 9

A funk-soul frenzy greeted punters in the form of Mahalia Barnes & The Soulmates, the perfect concoction of moody guitar riffs and soaring vocals to counteract the Sunday blues.

Soulful lead guitar and Barnes’ trademark piercing vocals pulsated through the PA, carried by bass from Ben Rodgers, her husband. The pair’s vocals complimented one another perfectly when things went a little more rock in The Same Thing Happens, off the band’s latest EP, but it was when they tackled endeared classics that they truly won over the crowd.

Ike & Tina Turner’s River Deep, Mountain High got people up and dancing, swarming the area side of stage, Aretha Franklin’s (You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman incited singalongs, and Creedence Clearwater Revival’s Rollin’ On The River combined all the best parts of their performance for a diverse conclusion that set the mood nicely for Sir Tom Jones.

A punter’s Wales flag hung in the middle of the crowd, with nonsensical chants radiating out as thick rock guitar broke the darkness. A dapper Jones meant business, as he marched out to Burning Hell, surrounded by only two guitarists and a drummer. His mission statement was simple: this was a rock show.

“Is it hot enough here?” he chuckled, leaping into a song he came to know during his Las Vegas days with Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash’s God’s Gonna Cut You Down. After injecting a gospel edge, the rest of the band joined him for Mavis Staples’ Don’t Knock, which, accompanied by Didn’t It Rain, and further established that direction.

An explosive horns section graced the stage and all the elements were in place for the Sex Bomb to go off, a hit that took an unexpected jazz direction and saw panties get airborne.

With a blood red backdrop, emotion-heavy Delilah made the audience sway in sync and shout its villainous lyrics with passion until Jones pulled the mood back with I’ll Never Fall In Love Again.

Rolling through an arsenal that included an accordion, banjo and tuba, Jones and band unleashed hits Green, Green Grass Of Home, It’s Not Unusual and more, ultimately at their best with guitar-driven blues rock numbers like Soul Of A Man and upbeat crowd-favourites that included Joe Cocker’s You Can Leave Your Hat On.

Not relying on overzealous production elements, the show rested almost entirely on Jones’ powerful voice, as evident during the stripped-back Elvis Presley Blues and Leonard Cohen’s Tower Of Song.

At 75 years of age and 50 years after his first visit Down Under, Jones’ energy and vocals didn’t fault once during a set that spanned countless hits across blues, country, rock, gospel, jazz and more finishing with an expected cover ofStrange Things Happen Everyday, missing out the frequently requested What’s New Pussycat.

http://themusic.com.au/music/livereviews/2016/03/15/tom-jones-kings-park-and-botanic-garden-daniel-cribb/

Show Review: Kate Miller-Heidke 04.03.16

Published on theMusic.com.au, Mar 2016

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Kate Miller-Heidke, Ayla

J-Shed

Mar 4

At 20 years old, Sunshine Coast solo artist Ayla has made a decent name for herself, and you only have to witness her in action for a few minutes before falling under that spell.

A one-woman choir, looping vocals and harmonies to lay over delicate guitar lines, Ayla rolled through a set of triple j favourites that fittingly enough reached a high at a cover of Hunters & Collectors’ Throw Your Arms Around Me, as heard on Like A Version last year.

Softly spoken between songs to the point of coming across as shy, she doesn’t hold back at all during song. If the crowd’s “aggressive” applause to set closer Wish I Was was any indication, Ayla’s first WA performance won’t be her last.

Much like the delightful opening act, Kate Miller-Heidke has a voice that never disappoints, especially in an intimate setting, so a beachside venue so close to the ocean you can hear the waves crashing on the shore was a perfect fit.

A lush and quiet “thank you” through the darkness drifted into Space They Cannot Touch, and lights shone down onto a sparkling red dress.

An upbeat transition into O Vertigo! by the duo was cut short by a guitar error, which the crowd turned into a positive, cheering on a charismatic Keir Nuttall as he tried to recall the correct chord.

“Do I look fat or pregnant?” Miller-Heidke asked the crowd, recently announcing her pregnancy. “It’s not a beer gut. There’s actually a baby inside my stomach.”

New song You’ve Underestimated Me, Dude was reminiscent of God’s Gift To Woman in a lyrical sense, but took an interesting (and exciting) turn musically, splattered with surprising operatic elements, a perfect rock groove and interesting mash of genres topped with her trademark quirkiness.

Tina Arena’s When You’re Ready, which Miller-Heidke co-wrote in Paris last year, was a stunning addition to set that put focus on domestic violence in a powerful way.

Another new song with the chorus line “get off your phone” got an immediate response before an anecdote about breastfeeding perfectly transitioned into Humiliation, at the expense of Nuttall.

At the start of the set, he worn a denim jacket that wouldn’t have seen him out of place in Wayne’s World, and through a few Words and an epic show-closing solo he’d more than proved his worth of the title of ’80s metalhead. Miller-Heidke then took control again with request Psycho Killer and The Last Day On Earth to round out a well-balanced and memorable set.

Opera meets pop meets comedy by the beach. That’s an unconventional combo that worked surprisingly well.

http://themusic.com.au/music/livereviews/2016/03/05/kate-miller-heidke-j-shed-daniel-cribb/