INTERVIEW: Loyiso Gola

Published in The Music (VIC) on theMusic.com.au, Mar 2017

South African-born comedian Loyiso Gola’s candid and politically charged comedy can often make punters cringe, but as he tells Daniel Cribb, that’s not always the intention.

Having moved to London from South Africa only two weeks ago, Loyiso Gola’s body clock is out of whack when he answers the phone in his Melbourne hotel room ahead of his debut Australian tour. “I’m just consuming the internet,” he begins, waiting for a break in the awful weather so he can go out and explore.

The frequent traveller’s debut US stand-up special dropped last year and performing to so many different audiences around the world, he’s often navigating what will and won’t hit the sweet spot. But Gola’s current show, Dude, Where’s My Lion, remains the same wherever he travels (most of the time).

“In South Africa, the neighbourhoods were separated by race and so right next to where I grew up there was a Muslim community,” Gola tells. “When I do the Muslim jokes in America, they are really tense about them, because in their media and consumption of everyday life, they view Muslims in a specific way, but I talk about this candidly, and so they’re cringing the whole time.”

Such reactions can sometimes lead Gola to over-analyse comedy (“which is one of my pet hates”) and given him a reputation as someone who ventures down avenues that can make people uncomfortable. “At the end of the day, I’m still telling jokes, so I want the people to laugh,” he explains.

“Sometimes I really feel bad making people feel uncomfortable, because I go, ‘Yeah, this person paid to see stand-up.’ That’s how much brain computes it, but then my other brain goes, ‘What do you want to say to them?’ So I say the thing I want to say and then I feel bad,” he laughs. “I don’t know how Australians are going to take the show,” he adds.

While he hasn’t toured Down Under before, he’s become a regular name in Australia through his role as a correspondent on ABC’s The Weekly With Charlie Pickering. “I just texted [Charlie] now and I’m hoping we can get dinner,” Gola says. “I’m going to meet him on Monday and see what his say, but we’ve been talking about trying to get me on the show while I’m here.”

He’ll also have to brush up on Dude, Where’s My Lion before a run of comedy festival dates around the country. “I haven’t done it in such a long time,” he tells. “I was in the middle of writing a new show and had to go back and remember [Dude, Where’s My Lion].

“The [new] show is called Unlearn. We’ve learnt so much and everything we do is learnt – how we eat, walk and dress. Some of the stuff that we’ve learnt throughout our lives is bad or makes no.

“The show is about unlearning things – we need to unlearn what history is, what religion is and a lot of habits about ourselves…it’s an extremely complicated show.”

http://themusic.com.au/interviews/all/2017/03/31/loyiso-gola-daniel-cribb/

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theMusic.com.au: Say What You Will About Biebs, But He Puts On One Hell Of A Show

Published on theMusic.com.au, Mar 2017

Justin Bieber

nib Stadium

Mar 6

It was almost like Brisbane pop favourites Sheppard had been rehearsing at nib Stadium all weekend, hitting the ground running and playing to the 25,000-strong crowd like it was their own headline show.

Booming tom beats complimented the pitch-perfect, soaring harmonies of Amy and George Sheppard, and while the guitars and keys were a little washed out, the rhythm section and tight vocals were more than enough.

Familiar tunes from 2014’s Bombs Away album were accompanied by material from a forthcoming release. Their “first new international single in a while”, Keep Me Crazy, saw George make the runway protruding into the audience his own before the band had everyone on their feet for Geronimo.

The mood changed drastically when the sun went down and Dutch DJ Martin Garrix rolled out the decks, making things immediately louder with the introduction of The Weeknd’s Can’t Feel My Face.

The juxtaposition between a live band and DJ was jarring at first but bridged the gap between the opener and headliner perfectly.

The stadium was on fire — and that’s not referring to the pyrotechnics — as seizure-inducing visuals collided with a sea of phone lights to the sounds of Daft Punk, Major Lazer and more.

Eardrums? What eardrums? Justin Bieber was welcomed to the stage to a collective screech that could render you incapacitated on the floor.

The wave of screams fused with a wall of bass and hectic light show as Bieber rose from below the stage inside a transparent box, scribbling on it with a fluoro yellow marker, giving a literal interpretation to Mark My Words as fireworks lit up the stadium.

Where Are Ü Now continued the onslaught of pyrotechnics and welcomed an army of back-up dancers, leading him to the end of the runway for Get Used To It, where another epic addition to the already massive production was unveiled. A platform lifted Bieber into the air as the song climaxed into another fireworks display and dancers spun out of control in the background.

Dishing up an early message to the haters, he climbed into a cage that resembled a UFC ring for I’ll Show You, pacing around with an infectious energy that carried over to uplifting number The Feeling and megahit Boyfriend.

Sitting down on a velvet red couch with an acoustic guitar, some technical difficulties set in, with a quick strum interrupted by a noticeable rattle. “These damn bracelets,” he said, requesting assistance from a crew member to take them off. But he still wasn’t satisfied, firing off a snide remark at a roadie. “It’s like someone deaf tuned my guitar,” he added, kicking into Major Lazer’s Cold Water.

Any concerns that the lavish production and relentless pyrotechnics were overcompensating for the performance itself were put to rest during a solo performance of Love Yourself.

His band got their time in the spotlight during Company — guitarist Julian Michael unleashing a solo that managed to cut through the insane bass and production, while Devon Taylor dished up impressive speed across a number of unique drum fills — showing how integral they were to the show.

While the production was mind blowing, it was songs like No Pressure where the melody took control that Bieber truly shined.

After a brief drum solo from Bieber himself, it was back to a full-fledged pop show with a flurry of dancers — including a handful of young locals — moving to a steady beat while bursts of smoke shot from all corners of the stage.

The hundreds who braved the scorching heat and lined up all day for a prime spot at the front were dished a raw deal, with Bieber spending most of the time interacting with fans in the middle of the crowd near the end of the runaway, getting up-close during hits like Life Is Worth Living.

What Do You Mean? dished up the biggest fireworks display of the night with a massive sound to back it up — something that highlighted the weakness of the trademark single Baby, which followed.

“This is my Purpose, thank you for listening,” Bieber said. “If you could put your phones down for this song so we can make it a little bit more intimate,” he requested, laying down on the stage and singing to the stars. It was a nice change of pace before every phone in the stadium was out for the show-stopping Sorry, which was unsurprisingly accompanied by more impressive fireworks and his band unleashing everything they had. “Sleep tight, don’t let the bed bugs bite. I’m Justin Bieber.”

Say what you will about The Biebs, he puts on one hell of a show.

http://themusic.com.au/news/all/2017/03/07/justin-bieber-nib-stadium-daniel-cribb/

theMusic.com.au: Adele’s Stunning Aus Debut Was An Emotional Rollercoaster

Published on theMusic.com.au, Mar 2017

Adele

Domain Stadium

Feb 28

Helicopters fluttering violently above gridlocked streets and people shuffling towards a location featuring a “lost children” checkpoint resembled something from the apocalypse, and when the stadium was full, the voice that nearly caused an entire city to shut down had the high expectations of 65,500 punters to live up to.

The open lines of Hello echoed from behind a screen that circled and concealed the 360-degree stage planted in the middle of the oval. It slowly lifted to reveal Adele all by herself on a raised platform wearing a sparkling dress, noticeably nervous as she swept into the soaring chorus of the song and kicked off her Australian debut and first-ever stadium show.

Emotional and overwhelmed, she did a lap of the platform surrounding the stage while holding back tears of joy. “Let me hear ya sing!” she yelled to the nosebleed section in a thick British accent. “Louder! All 65,000 of ya.”

The intimate feel of the show was assisted by her backing band sitting on a lower platform almost out of view to half the audience.

The stage setup was jaw dropping in its own right, but Adele proved early on she didn’t need a fancy light show or cheesy choreographed dance moves, having every punter in a trance with the simple piano riff and soulful vocals of One And Only.

“Ello, Perf! You go so far back,” she said, sipping from a tea. “I’m finally ‘ere!”

Her accent became more charming and grounding with each word and despite claiming to be “flabbergasted” she had plenty to say.

The drum-heavy Water Under The Bridge dished up snare bursts that reverberated through your chest, and while upbeat, pop numbers like I’ll Be Waiting added healthy dynamics, nothing compared to the ballads and more raw numbers. Adele could have quite easily entertained the entire audience for the whole two hours with nothing more than a capella renditions of her songs.

I Miss You reached an emotional overload with pacing drums and a medley for backing vocals, and that intensity was amplified when a men’s choir lined the edge of the stage, dressed in black suits for James Bond theme Skyfall.

It was a classy production, but Adele revealed a slightly toned effort than planned during soundcheck.

“Up until last night, we did have fireworks for you,” she revealed. “My son was watching [soundcheck] in the crowd… a bit of debris went in his eye so we got rid of them.”

One lucky punter in the bleachers found a handwritten note accompanied by a photo of the singer holding said note — Adele was repaid with an infestation on the stage. “There’s a cockroach on the stage and a fly in my tea,” she cackled.

Adele is one part bogan, one part comedian and two parts musician.

Adele explained how her 21 album was heavily inspired by Alison Krauss before launching into an ode to the country star with Don’t You Remember, the perfect blend of pop and country.

After fumbling around with a crew member’s phone to take a selfie backed by a stadium lit by phone lights, she shamelessly burped and continued to gush about the influence of other musicians on her and the pleasures of covering songs (“maybe I should stop making my own”), a nice segue into Bob Dylan’s Make You Feel My Love, which appeared on Adele’s first album.

Throughout the set, Adele dished up enough banter to last a lifetime, talking to the audience like she was in a small bar somewhere, or hanging with close friends.

In a chance interaction that almost seemed staged it was so perfect, Adele plucked a gentleman dressed in drag from the front to join her onstage. “I’m Feminem,” he said, wearing a custom $700 dress and quickly letting everyone know he was a professional Adele impersonator before unleashing an impressive vocal performance of Rumour Has It.

Within the same song break, Adele fired t-shirt guns into the audience, truly utilising her first ever stadium experience. An unexpected rainbow confetti explosion at the end of Sweetest Devotion took things to the next level before an old favourite, Chasing Pavements, made its way back onto the setlist. “I haven’t sung this song in a very long time. If I fuck it up, I’ll start again,” she admitted but didn’t miss a beat.

After a trip down memory lane via a collection of family photos set to When We Were Young — that featured a brief tribute to the late George Michael — Adele went out in a blaze of glory to megahits Rolling In The Deep and Someone Like You, the latter of which had her in tears as 65,000 people sung the chorus as loudly as they could. “I’m so sorry it took me this long,” she said through tears. “This is my first ever stadium show and I will never, ever forget this. I hope it was worth the wait.”

http://themusic.com.au/news/all/2017/03/01/adele%E2%80%99s-stunning-aus-debut-was-an-emotional-rollercoaster/