RAW: Soundwave Interview – Young Guns

By Socratos

The Young Guns are a band who have enjoyed a rare fast track to success from playing small gigs in 300-capacity ‘shacks’ to the main stage at Reading and Download festivals to crowds of 15,000 within 3 months. Their rise is a wave of success mainly encouraged by the release of the band’s first album entitled All Our Kings Are Dead.

I spoke to frontman Gustav about his philosophy behind the naming of the album;

It was some thoughts that arose within myself which I then thought could be applied generationally. Just a sense of lack of direction, mainly because we don’t have any leaders or role models in the traditional sense to look up to as we once might have had. So that leads to a lot of confusion and not knowing what to do as expressed in sons of apathy.  So that’s what that is all about, all our kings are dead. I tried to write an album that broke down the barriers and spoke about things that that a lot of people could connect to.

My conversation with Gustav took place as the band was between tours having some down time.  They are currently working on their second album when they get the time. I asked if they were looking forward to unleashing some of the new songs live during the tour.

We have a very perfectionist thing going on within our band, we like to keep the songs underwraps before we unveil them live. It’s nice to take some time off touring to be able to be in that headspace for writing.

Seeing as so much of your success has rested upon the first album do you feel anxious about changing or wonder about the direction of the band during the cross over to the second album?

We just let whatever comes out be and we focus a lot on making the album sound as good as it possibly can so in that way we are very commited in that way, it’s nice to have the time to concentrate on it. It’s nice to have something that you are passionate about in your life. I think that to be on that main stage infront of all these people you have to have a sense that that is where you are meant to be and a belief in it that makes it all come about, so I try not to think about how we got there so quickly in such a rush because it blows my mind a little bit!

Do you feel as though you are part of a scene of related bands in England or over in Europe?

Not to sound wanky as much as we love to play with other bands its nice to be able to be a part of the scene and then get away from it. There are a lot of young up and coming rock bands in England at the moment that we feel a part of like we are the ocean who we are heading to Australia with for Soundwave.

So far the highlights of our career are sharing the main stages at all the big festivals like Download and Reading and when we are over there we are sure that being on tour in Australia will probably be the high point.

RAW: Cabaret Festival – Robyn Archer – The Other Great American Songbook – 4K

From a haunting opening solo to a fun medley of US place names to finish, Robyn Archer delights in her program entitled The Other Great American Songbook.

Opening with tunes from the 1850s, Archer explores songs of wit, about depression and despair, censorship and by exiled Europeans as a result of World War II, ending with Bob Dylan’s Hard Rain Gonna Fall and Pink.

Robyn Archer is a colossus on the Australian stage, particularly in Adelaide given her role as Festival Artistic Director in recent years. Her choice of songs reflects not only a deep knowledge and understanding of her subject matter but also a desire to impose, subtly, some of her political views about the world.

Having sat thought Karin Schaupp and Katie Noonan’s similar attempt with British songs, this is a street ahead through sheer prfessionalism alone.

Backed by the ‘soggy bottom band – Adelaide Chapter’, comprised of Michael Morley on piano, waterboard and the like, Mathew Carey on key board and whistle and George Butrumlis on accordion, the show quickly engages the large loyal following in the crowd, bringing on from them spontaneous vocal accompaniment and a great, upbeat atmosphere.

This was Archer’s world premiere of the material and it is all the pity it is the only show she is giving at this festival. However, anyone taken with American music should ensure they get to see a performance when she tours.

Kryztoff Rating  4K

RAW: Cabaret Festival – Lisa Hunt

By Kosta Jaric

If it’s a diva’s performance you’re looking for, then you won’t have to go far this Cabaret Festival. Lisa Hunt has the kind of voice that complements her personality perfectly – as big as it wants to be.

Traversing a songbook that’s littered with history’s finest divas, Hunt swings from Motown to Staxx, from Soul Train to Studio 54 with relative ease. Hunt admits to loving Aretha Franklin the most, and her belting rendition of Dusty Springfield’s Son of a Preacher Man is firmly the hottest track of her performance.

Hunt’s band is a solid bunch. At first, the dual set of keys almost set the tone of a karaoke backing track, but once they get stuck into The Four Tops’ I Can’t Help Myself, they’re ruling the stage with ease.

The Banquet Room falls short of being the perfect venue for this Festival. Whilst visually appearing like a true cabaret venue, it lacks the most crucial of elements – a bar. Most people were dashing in and out before the performance to try and stack their table with a bottle and glasses, so be mindful if you want to drink away during the show.

Hunts involvement of some audience members up on stage and her engagement with the crowd made for an extremely enjoyable performance, but it’s the charisma that will grab you.

You’re not going to get anything new in this show; you’ve heard all these songs many, many times before. What you’re going to get is a voice that can bring the house down, and for the majority of the show it sure does. It may be her first invite to Adelaide, but chances are it will most definitely not be her last.

RAW: Cabaret Festival – Olivia Newton John – 4K

Banner act for the Adelaide Cabaret Festival, Olivia Newton John, produced everything Festival organisers and her fans desired – a packed Festival Theatre audience that was unafraid to give her rousing standing ovations.

Covering an enormous amount of musical ground, mainly through the use of medleys, Newton John opened with some of her mainstream mid 70s numbers, Sam the feature before doing a string of her country and western numbers, the ones that got her career going, before finishing with music from the films that cemented her fame, Xanadu and, of course, Grease. A duet with Festival supremo, David Campbell, for You’re The One That I Want was perhaps the highlight of the evening.

ONJ has certainly kept well over the years, notwithstanding breast cancer and a husband who mysteriously went missing, her shimmering black dress a constant feature. Her audience seemed in such a thirst for their girl just about anything would have done but the large backing band with the able assistance of the Adelaide Art Orchestra meant the night was one to remember and something that will for a long time define not only this Cabaret Festival but Cambell’s tenure as its director.

Kryztoff Rating  4K

RAW: Cabaret Festival – Glenn Shorrock – 4K

Elizabeth boy, Glenn Shorrock returned to his home town giving him and his audience an enjoyable trip down memory lane. From the Twilights, through Axiom to the Little River Band, Shorrock gave us the best of the songs written by him or for him by the likes of Graham Goble and Brian Cadd, wedged in with a few Beatle and Bobby Darin tracks as well.

His 15 piece band, including four in the wind section, four ‘string sirens’, three guitarists and two on drums and percussion, reprised perfectly all those great rift motifs that came to single out those songs as hits in their time and which have kept them in our memory ever since.

Shorrock himself was somewhat off his game early on, as if he had just witnessed some car accident or similar, but after one fluffed verse regained his professionalism and delighted not only a full Playhouse but ‘the three women in his life’, his wife, mother and sister who were also present.

The highlights included Reminiscing, Little Ray of Sunshine and in the encore, Cool Change and the Beatles’ Carry That Weight both of which were the only tracks where new workings were attempted and both achieved with great success.

Neither Shorrock nor his audience are getting any younger but for a trip down memory lane this performance suggested the roses were still in bloom, the sun shone and birds chirped just as memory would and should have them.

Kryztoff Rating  4K

RAW: Cabaret Fringe – A Doll’s House – Higher Ground – 3.5K

A Doll’s House brought together four of the prominent burlesque performers in Australia, each with their own unique talents and appeal. The evening was hosted by “Johnny Castrati”, a 16th century dandy with a naughty smile and a beautiful voice, created by Miss Burlesque Australia 2010, Rita Fontaine. He navigated us through the first act of the show, during which the remaining “dolls” – Flavella L’Amour, Zoe L’Amour and Ruby Rubber Legs – performed numbers ranging from more traditional, pretty, dance focused segments to daring fire twirling displays and a hilarious skeleton dance.  

Following an interval, the girls kicked the performance up a level with the appearance of a snake, a ladder of swords, an angle grinder, contortionism and an impersonation of our Prime Minister. While some of the segments may have made certain members of the audience uncomfortable, the girls are all accomplished professionals at their various trades and carried their pieces off with flair, while maintaining their sex-appeal.

The costumes were opulent and bountiful, with a good mix of classy glamour and outrageous bling. Castrati’s frock coat was a particular triumph, with divine blue and pink velour, embroidered floral cuffs and peacocks adorning his tail. Unfortunately, the decadence of the costumes accentuated the bareness of the stage. While this may have been necessary for some of the more daring numbers (fire twirling, angle grinding etc), something as simple as a colourful backdrop would have lifted the space without causing any danger. Technical glitches with lighting, sound and costume changes also detracted from the overall experience.

The other problem was the size of the audience. It is surprising that Adelaidians, who normally embrace such shows and turn out in droves, did not do so for a performance of such high calibre. Because of the small numbers present, the audience response – which is so important in any burlesque show – was sadly lacking, meaning that the overall energy was also below par.

This was a wonderful opportunity to see some of the country’s leading burlesque artistes do their thing and had it had the audience it deserved, the extra energy may have helped it to live up to its potential.

Kryztoff Rating: 3.5K

RAW: Cabaret Fringe – La Chevre Noir – La Boheme – 4K

La Chevre Noir is a struggling Parisian cabaret club. Celeste (Sidonie Henbest) has been left to keep it afloat while her sister Gigi (Catherine Campbell) runs off to South America and Jaques (Jamie Jewell) is gallivanting around the Alps in the Tour de France. She has been less than successful in this and has received notice that the club will be closed. Reunited, can the three proprietors find a way to save their club or will this be their closing show?

This is classic cabaret, with great singers, a mixture of soulful and cheeky songs, a vague storyline to string it all together and over-the-top characters to inject humourous banter in the spaces between songs. It was well-balanced, with new and old, well-known and more obscure pieces, class and cliché – the Moulin Rouge does make an appearance but in a way that was appropriate and hilarious rather than tired and overdone. The three singers are skilfully supported by Christopher Martin on the piano, who adds an air of decorum to the evening while still getting in on the frivolity.

This group of performers are well known locally and thrive on stage, both as a trio and individually. Henbest is a delectably pouty Celeste and is matched well by Campbell as her strong-willed but less responsible sister, creating a fun quarrelsome relationship between the two. Jewell shows his skills as both a comic and a vocalist, achieving a pleasing tone reminiscent of Rufus Wainwright.

This is a fine example of good, locally produced, cabaret.

Kryztoff rating: 4K

RAW: Cabaret Festival – The Magnets – 4.5K

Self proclaimed as a grown up boy band (complete with Westlife parody), the British group The Magnets kicked off the Cabaret Festival at the Playhouse in fine style. Using only their mouths for sound, but amply projecting not only voice but bass and drums, the six man sound machine were an all class act in their Gobsmacked show.

Highlights included Irishman’s Patrick Smith’s Living On A Prayer and Stephen Trowell up front for Bowie’s Let’s Dance.

Behind the most effective lighting and perfect choreography, the beat work of the mouths of Andy Frost and Fraser Collins warranted close inspection, sustaining sound and timing with dancing and by play throughout faultlessly. Frost’s solo number working an imaginary mixing desk rightfully brought all that to the fore and it proved another highlight.

With the just right amount of team and solo numbers and crowd interaction, it is obvious why The Magnets have been a favourite of the Edinburgh Fringe and Glastonbury Festival but less obviously why 10 years after forming this was their first Australian show.

More than a mouthful of supreme entertainment.

Kryztoff Rating  4.5K

RAW: Cabaret Festival – Variety Gala Performance – 5K

By Julia George

The Adelaide Cabaret Festival Gala (opening night) lived up to all expectations of being Adelaide’s “night of nights”. A well-selected cross-section of the Festival’s stars took to the stage to give the full-house a ‘taste’ of their shows. One of Australia’s most accomplished performers, Simon Burke, hosted the show, whilst Artistic Director David Campbell made a cameo appearance. It was nice to see Pembroke and Blackwood local schools perform their High School Cabaret, under the direction of David Campbell.

The stand out performers of the night included the 8th Sydney Cabaret Showcase – Showcase Award winner, Gillian Cosgriff, with her clever lyrics to a song titled “The song song”, and The Magnets, who amazed the audience with their blend of incredible beat-boxing and smooth harmonies. Robyn Archer AO flaunted her beautiful voice, cabaret group Drag added some spice to the night, whilst Carrie Rawlings brought in some disco, Daniel Boys and Toby Francis added the ‘crooner’ touch, and Glenn Shorrock got the audience singing to “Reminiscing”.

The piece de resistance was watching the most successful Australian singer of all time, Olivia Newton John, take to the stage to close the night, performing “Xanadou” and wowing the crowds. After all these years Olivia’s still got it, her voice is flawless and her graceful presence is awe-inspiring. Overall a great show with great musical direction and a professional execution. Go and see an Adelaide Cabaret Festival show (or two)!

Kryztoff Rating  5K

RAW: Cabaret Fringe Preview

By Miriam Keane

The Cabaret Fringe Festival is now well established, with 2011 being its fourth year as an accompaniment to the Cabaret Festival. Continuing to grow, this year’s festival boasts an impressive fifty-eight shows over four weeks. While the home of the Cabaret Fringe, La Bohème, still hosts many of these acts, they are also spread out across ten other city venues, including the reinvented Tuxedo Cat within the old Elektra Building on King William Street, which proved to be so popular at this year’s Adelaide Fringe festival.

The Cabaret Fringe is an open access festival, with everybody welcome to produce their own show and register to be a part of it. As always, there is a diverse mix of entertainment on offer, with both local and interstate acts included in the programme. This year there is also a string of shows which have a very international and multi-cultural flavour to them.

Golonka and Tzigane are two local bands, presenting a double bill at Nexus Cabaret on the penultimate night (Saturday June 25th) of the festival. They offer something a bit different from the usual local fare, with their sound heavily influenced by European Gypsy music. Golonka is a five piece group, which has been on the Adelaide scene for several years, performing both headline and support shows, and are well known for giving performances full of fun and energy. Tzigane is a more recently formed three piece, and while their music is also influenced by Eastern Europe it promises added flavours of South America. Together they will undoubtedly create a unique and entertaining evening of song.

Also on at Nexus Cabaret is the African comedy cabaret show Akuna Matata (No Problems). This will be presented as part of Refugee Week, with three performances from June 23rd. In addition to several short skits, this show includes original music, dancing and comedy and is designed to be an upbeat evening out with lots of laughter and enjoyment for everyone.

While the pressure of producing one show would be enough stress for most people, Fred Fudara exhibits his range and adaptability by presenting two complimentary productions. Having delighted audiences with his repertoire of French songs during his regular gigs at La Bohème, as well as local events such as the French Festival, he now shows that his talent also extends to Portuguese. His new show Come Fly With Me to Rio de Janeiro is on Saturday nights at Saldechin, until the 18th of June, and is one of a handful of free shows throughout the festival.

These are just a few of the great shows still to come as the wonderful Cabaret Fringe Festival once again fills the city’s smaller, alternative performance spaces with quality entertainment.