Perth’s Giant Fire-Breathing Spider Is The Best Thing You’ll See All Day

Published on, Nov 2016


A 50-tonne fire-breathing spider has appeared on the foreshore of Perth for Arcadia Australia, and while images of the machine’s past endeavours are enough to make your jaw drop, they really only scratch the surface of what the festival has to offer.

The three-day Australian exclusive kicks on Friday at Elizabeth Quay after community days this week. Here’s everything you need to know.

the spider

The beast itself it made of recycled military machinery and industrial components; its eyes coming from spy planes while its legs are partially constructed from helicopter tails. It’s 15 metres tall with flames that reach a similar height; amid the heat will be DJs in the body and acrobats flailing around the legs.

During a mid-week rehearsal, The Landing Show sees the spider from another planet awake in a flurry of lights and analyse its surroundings before unleashing dancers that mimic the actions of spiders – two of them being spun into a web cocoon while suspended well off the ground; perhaps not the best job for someone with arachnophobia. The suspense surrounding the spider’s gradual awakening will no doubt be next level when artists like Leftfield and Alison Wonderland are at the helm.

In the vicinity of the game-changing, suspended DJ booth (artists will actually be inside the spider), are posts spitting more flames into the air, and while the spider isn’t ready to unleash hell during the rehearsals, the bursts of warmth from those alone are enough to get the adrenalin pumping. Here’s a shot from past shows to illustrate how insane things will be when the festival kicks off on Friday. Pic via Arcadia Australia:

the shows

As well as The Landing Show, each night will feature The Lords Of Lightning and traditionally performance Yallorr Keeninyarra. As the sun sets over the river, the dance of the Dance of the Wadjuk Nyungar/People begins; a powerful performance connecting the Arcadia spider and the sacred Wadjuk spider of Garrgatup (meaning Kings Park, which is in view across the river as its unfolding). It’s an important and engaging piece that hasn’t been performed to the public in its traditional form since 1901 and sees the claws of the spider waving an Aboriginal flag.

Perched just behind the spider are two raised platforms that frame the scene for The Lords Of Lightning, a stand-out performance piece that’s almost worth the ticket price alone. You can feel the static and change in the air as the two dances wield four million volts of electricity… through their bodies. It’s amazing, and terrifying as they cycle channel modern dance, martial arts and freestyle performance.

the artists

With all this going on, it’s easy to forget this is actually a music festival. Across Friday, Saturday and Sunday the likes of Leftfield (DJ Set), Alison Wonderland, Shy Fx, Carmada, Elk Road and more will climb into the belly of the beast. Check out the full line-up here.

the view

Everything else mentioned here makes for an amazing festival, but when you add in the aforementioned Perth river/Elizabeth Quay and the city skyline as backdrops, you’ve got one of the most visceral experiences to visit the state.

Grab tickets now via the Arcadia Australia website. Jumping the fence isn’t an option – unless you want to have a really bad time.


INTERVIEW: Gen Fricker

Published in The Music (NSW) and on, Nov 2016


Gen Fricker On Overcoming Criticism And “Imposter Syndrome”

As the Australian comedy scene shifts towards inclusivity (though “sometimes rooms are just fucked”), Gen Fricker tells Daniel Cribb how she overcame “imposter syndrome”.

“I’m so surprised that some people still think comedians just get up on stage and make it up as they go,” comedy aficionado and triple j host Gen Fricker tells. “So many audiences think that it’s just magic; that’s kind of the trick of it and also what you’re working towards.”

Fricker knows all too well about hard work, spending her one day off doing promo for an upcoming slot at Festival Of The Sun. Having attended the festival as a punter last year, she’s keen to get back and perform this year, but navigating such a stage can be a tricky one. “It’s hard, because if you’ve got a comedy stage running during a music festival, people aren’t necessarily going for the comedy stage. It’s always like a drop-in kind of thing, but you can also get some gold,” she explains. “The Thursday night shows are excellent, for example. You can also have a looser time; it’s less restricting than a comedy club.”

It’s the constant battle every comedian faces – what might work for one audience could bomb on another. Either way, it’s quite a similar craft to music, which is why the two often partner well together. “The process is quite similar… A lot of the time, it’s being alone and just crafting stuff and then taking it to an audience and crossing your fingers.”

But while they’re so similar, there are still big differences in each scene. “I think in some ways comedy is easier to come up through than music because there are less people to compete with,” Fricker says, having scored some of her first opportunities through some funny tweets. “You can be a bigger fish in a smaller pond, and the overheads are way less.”

So what does an aspiring comedian need to do in order to stand out? “Aw, man, I have no idea,” she laughs. “I don’t even think it’s having a strong viewpoint or some kind of brand, I think it’s just a really hard work ethic – just turning up to every single gig and writing all the time and being humble. I think having a specific ‘brand’ of comedy comes later because that’s when you begin to know what you’re good at talking about and what you want to talk about.”

A comedian’s best joke might be one that bombed 100+ times as they workshopped it. “I think it’s having the confidence to trust in the material and yourself. It’s a mix of ego and self-reflection; you want to protect your material because if you just throw out everything that bombs and you don’t work on it then you’re never going to get better, but sometimes rooms are just fucked.

“I don’t really have any confidence,” Fricker laughs when queried about her own path. “Total imposter syndrome, really. I’ve just never had that bravado, which I think is the constant self-reflection. My main thing is having to stop myself from completely throwing out things or getting dark on stuff because that’s just how I’m geared; I’m very self-critical. Being a woman in the industry, you’re kind of already going in where everyone is going to criticise you more because you’re kind of the novelty, I guess.”

With that said, Fricker has noticed a positive trend in recent years. “I really do think it’s getting better. There are so many things that have happened even in the last two years. Obviously the popularity of Amy Schumer has really opened people up to the idea, and the internet is such a democratising force… There are so many awesome young female comics coming up who I’m such a fan of – Naomi Higgins, she’s dope, and there’s a sketch group in Sydney called Freudian Nip and they’re awesome.

“There are heaps of cool women coming through and it’s less of a one woman huddled in the corner and more of everyone hanging out and creating things; it’s not the same thing over and over again.”


Published in The Music on, Nov 2016


Why Anti-Flag Are Stuck In A Nightmare

Political punks Anti-Flag feel like they’re stuck in a nightmare, as frontman Justin Sane tells Daniel Cribb.

“It felt almost as bad as 9/11,” Anti-Flag frontman Justin Sane begins, recalling his emotions a week earlier when Donald Trump was elected President. “9/11 people actually died and it was horrific, and you would wake up every day after it thinking, ‘Woah, was that a bad dream.’ This feels really similar because we were so close to making so much progress in this country and with ‘he who shall not be named’ there is a possibility that all of that progress could be wiped away.”

Ten years ago the band released their iconic fifth studio album For Blood & Empire, and to celebrate they’ll be playing it in its entirely around Australia in December. Sadly, some of the poignant issues they were singing about a decade ago are still relevant; especially those presented on the record’s two biggest song – This Is The End (For You My Friend) and The Press Corpse. The latter deals with an unbalanced media, something Sane believes contributed to the recent US election results. “It’s really important for people to look outside of mainstream media sources,” he tells. “There’s a lot of information that they just don’t touch upon that’s important for people to know.”

This Is The End is about overcoming bigotry, hatred, xenophobia, shaming, bullying and, again, it’s something that’s really relevant to our current president elect.

“It’s hard to believe that there’s a present elect in the United States who is a bigot, a misogynist, who’s attacked women through Twitter, on TV, during the presidential debates. In my opinion, he is a sexual predator; I believe the women who said he groped them and went after them.”

The Trump election has set a fire that will no doubt result in some great records, but it seems that Anti-Flag’s next record would have been another political punk gem regardless of the results. “There’s a lot of areas where I didn’t agree with Hillary Clinton at all,” he laughs. “She was someone I had a target on for our next record. Now I guess our focus is going to be on Trump… Unfortunately, I feel like we’re going to be fighting battles that we thought we had won – just simple things, like racism.”

Their upcoming trip to Australia will serve as a temporary break for not only them, but hopefully fans too. “The number one thing for us is that we are a band, and we want people to come to our shows and have a good time. I started going to punk rock shows because they were fun, and they were a place where I felt people weren’t judging me – I fit in, people were looking out for each other. That’s what we want our shows to be. I think a punk rock show should be a place where you can escape the daily grind, forget about your problems for a couple of hours and find a constructive way to deal with the bullshit in the world.”

INTERVIEW: Jason Mewes

Published on, Nov 2016


On Staying Sober, Alternate Universes & More ‘Mallrats’

A podcast can be a life-changing force, as Jason Mewes tells Daniel Cribb.

“I was doing a little cuddling and reading [my daughter] a book,” Jason Mewes begins with pep in his voice. He’s happy, and it all goes back to the decision he made in 2010 to get sober.

Over the past six years, he’s used the Jay & Silent Bob Get Old podcast as a weekly intervention with long-time pal and collaborator Kevin Smith and it seems his time spent with the pop icon has done more than just keep him clean, with Mewes in the midst of his directorial debut, Madness In The Method.

“It’s set in an alternate universe and it’s about me trying to go out and get this serious role in a movie that’s the talk of the town, and the casting isn’t taking me serious,” Mewes reveals.

“I have a little chat with Kevin [Smith] and he says, ‘You’ve got to get method – you’ve got to let them know you’re serious.’

“In that interaction of trying to show the casting I can be serious I wind up killing him by mistake, and it goes on from there; a bunch of craziness happens, a couple of other murders. It’s an alternate universe, but it’s nice because it’s a touch based on reality.”

The plot was conceived by Mewes and London-based filmmaker and actor Dominic Burns, and fleshed out by Burns and Christopher Anastasi.

A number of notable actors have signed on as the film starts to take shape, including Danny Trejo, Casper Van Dien and Dean Cain. “I’m really psyched and feel really blessed because we don’t have a lot of money but we’ve really had some people agree to be a part of it because I’m directing and it’s my first thing and that’s been very sweet.”

After spending the past five days shooting in LA, the production will go on hold until January when Mewes flies to London for three weeks. In the interim, he’ll be touring with Smith and making a solo visit to Australia for Supanova. It’s at fan conventions that he’s truly been able to see the impact the podcast has had.

“A mum will come up, start crying, give me a hug and be like, ‘This is my son, he’s been struggling for the past few years and now he’s been listening to your podcast and he’s eight months sober and you saved his life.’

“You just can’t beat stuff like that; it’s flattering and I just feel blessed that I get to be part of that.”

Another hot topic when it comes to conventions are cult classics Clerks and Mallrats, both of which will have sequels in the foreseeable future. “Kevin announced Clerks III, but Jeff Anderson – who plays Randal – said he was busy. Last I heard we were gearing up, we had the money and we were looking at locations. I guess Jeff said he was busy and wouldn’t be able to shoot for the next year or two, so Kevin’s moved on.

“He wrote a Mallrats II script, and we were talking about that, but now there’s more interest in a Mallrats TV show, so knock on wood I’m hoping we start shooting next year.”

INTERVIEW: John DiMaggio

Published on, Nov 2016


“Finale” Doesn’t Always Mean “Farewell”

After taking an emotional beating with the cancellation of FuturamaJohn DiMaggio tells Daniel Cribb why the Adventure Time finale isn’t a farewell.

Watching the credits roll on the finale of your favourite TV show can be a surprisingly emotional experience, as you say goodbye to characters you’ve come to love and a storyline that makes your day better. But what about the actors and crew involved with the show? For them it’s even more “gut-wrenching” and something voice actor John DiMaggio is all too familiar with after his role as Bender on Futurama came to a close in 2013. “Futurama put a callous on my cancel bone. I know how to take bad news,” DiMaggio laughs. “I’ve seen it come and I’ve seen it go.”

Since then he’s been busy juggling numerous other projects, including a constant run as Jake the Dog on animated hit Adventure Time, which wraps production in February for a curtain call in 2018. “When a show ends it’s always weird, there’s a lot of feelings that you go through,” DiMaggio tells. “Nobody likes to see a great job end, but in show business, that’s what happens… but that’s the nature of the biz, man.

“There’s all that talk about the Adventure Time movie, so that’s really cool. It’s a really incredible thing; this little tiny short that turned into this goliath of entertainment for the world. It still blows my mind how big a hit Adventure Time is – it really is something.”

Fan conventions such as Supanova – which DiMaggio hits this month – keep those characters alive and well. It’s somewhat hard to keep Bender Rodriguez at bay when DiMaggio’s natural laugh isn’t too far from what fans adored on Futurama. “I do the voice live for people and it’s a treat for them and me because I love doing it, so that’s totally cool – the thing lives on. It’s not like it completely dies; it’s out there in the atmosphere, it has legs. I mean, sure those legs will get weak after a while, but it’s all good.”

Sometimes a fan will go above and beyond to keep a show alive, like Futurama live-action fan film Fan-O-Rama, lead by Dan Lanigan. “The funny thing is, [Lanigan] rented my house from me for a year and a half and then he goes and does this thing, which is pretty weird, but it’s pretty funny. He’s a good guy and there are a lot of people from Futurama that have gone down to his set, which is pretty cool.”

DiMaggio is working on some pretty cool stuff himself, but unfortunately, as is the biz, NDAs can make it difficult for him to talk about, “which is always great,” he laughs. “Just know that I’m doing alright. I can’t say – a non-disclosure agreement means I can’t talk about it. Just know that I’m working on some pretty cool stuff.”

INTERVIEW: Dean Strang & Jerry Buting (Making A Murderer)

Published in The Music (NSW, VIC) and on, Nov 2016


“Everybody wants to know who we think did it; who we think the real killer is,” Making A Murderer attorneys Jerry Buting and Dean Strang tell Daniel Cribb.

There’s a bizarre disconnect when a true-crime documentary becomes a worldwide phenomenon and its subjects are thrown into celebrity status overnight.

People often become so engrossed in the story and how it’s told they can forget the real magnitude of the crime and conviction, which is why Making A Murderer attorneys Dean Strang and Jerry Buting have been in a unique and interesting situation following the Netflix series on Steven Avery blowing up. “We’ve been doing a lot of travel and a lot of interviews,” Buting begins, commenting on their A Conversation On Making A Murderer world tour.

Normally entertainment sites doing interviews with TV talent will probe for clues on what to expect next or push for more insight into what’s aired already, but it’s a completely different story when talking to two lawyers about a murder case. “Everybody wants to know who we think did it; who we think the real killer is,” Buting tells. “We’re not in a position where we can publicly state that, beyond what we’ve already said in the real case and in court or in pre-trial proceedings.”

“Nope, we’re just not doing it,” Strang says with a chuckle after a cheeky off-the-record attempt is made. “It got lost in court and court was the place to do it.”

The rise in true-crime series such as Making A Murderer and podcast Serial is partly to do with social media allowing viewers to engage with one another and start their own dialogue. “The lack of a tidy resolution, the frustrating uncertainty in which the audience is left may appeal; especially to a millennial demographic,” Strang says.

Avery was convicted of first-degree murder and illegal possession of a firearm in 2007 and is still in prison today. While there are countless questions and theories floating around (some of the best directed at Buting on Twitter), the pair uses the documentary as a platform to discuss justice on a larger scale. “We’re really looking to engage audiences in a conversation about the systemic weaknesses that you find in the administration of criminal justice,” Strang explains. “Jerry and I are not so much interested in lecturing people as we are simply trying to foster and enhance a public dialogue in the hopes that if people were really engaged in Making A Murderer we can spread that engagement to other cases and the broader problems in the criminal justice system, wherever they may be.”

With the announcement of more episodes on the horizon and Avery’s nephew, Brendan Dassey, having his conviction overturned in recent months, there’ll be plenty for Buting and Strang to talk about in Australia. “My hunch is that it’s going to be more focused on the post-conviction process, and how difficult it is once somebody is convicted to try and right that wrong,” Buting says on the next season, an angle that would tie in nicely with the direction of their dialogue on stage.

“Australia has a lot of problems in that regard as well – it’s more difficult to even get back into court once your initial appeal is done, even with newly discovered evidence like DNA,” he explains. “A lot of people think if a jury got it wrong, it’ll be fixed on appeal, and justice will be done – that’s just not the way it works.”

They hope the dialogue they assist during these tours will be the start of real change around the world. “I think a groundswell of public opinion is the starting point; people willing to take small steps that can make big differences,” Strang says. “It does have to start from the bottom up,” Buting adds. “I think this documentary has had such an impact because it really gives a window into a world that the public doesn’t see very often, and when people say, ‘Look, this isn’t the way we expect our justice system to work, we want better,’ that’s the way you get real reform.”