Thursday, March 28, 2013

Unsound


Event: Unsound Adelaide. Tim Hecker & Daniel Lopatin (aka Oneohtrix Point Never), Robin Fox, Raime and Trinity (Biosphere, Lustmord, MFO)

Queens Theatre, Thu Mar 14

It began without introduction or fanfare. Two shadowy figures huddled over keyboards, mixers and other assorted gadgetry launched an electronic fanfare of their own that enveloped every square centimetre of the Queens Theatre. It was quite literally an assault on the senses: volume was something you felt not just heard. Often quite beautiful ethereal sounds were disturbed by sonic rumblings that seemed to come from deep within the earth to shake the building and vibrate your organs. A sound and light show followed that just took the concept to a new level. Sound driven beams, waves, arcs, and swirls radiated above and around us in a science fiction fantasy. Except of course it is not sci-fi - it is now. Much excitement lays ahead for those who dabble in the digital arts. *Unsound Adelaide part 1 was a stunning, if a little scary, entree into a field that could blow peoples' minds.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Murder (Queen's Theatre, 6/3/13)


Billed as a meditation on our culture's obsession with violence Murder is surprisingly beautiful. Murder brings people together. In previous ages murder was an accepted public spectacle and drew big crowds. Our contemporary world has been forced to find other ways to indulge our fascination with death, and Murder displays several alternatives in a dream-like narrative. The subconscious realm is represented by puppets with a form and elegance so convincing you forget they're not real. Reality itself however is presented as a blend of dreams, sex, death, subconscious and fantasy - all with overlapping boundaries. Nick Cave's songs provide a suitably ominous soundtrack, and visual media offer clues about location, and the state of mind of the production's only human character. There are macabre moments but they are softened by a trance like atmosphere that teases the subconscious - humans aren't like this on a conscious level are they? Are we? Am I?

Monday, March 11, 2013

DirtDay! - Laurie Anderson


DirtDay! is a remarkable piece of performance art. The stage is lit with candles as Laurie Anderson begins a musical journey punctuated with spoken thoughts on the role of women, evolution, religion, politics, philosophy, economics, death - with superb dramatic timing and plenty of humour. This show has so many levels - a visual feast, a philosophical treatise, an entrancing musical performance, and at times a profound literary event. While Anderson reveals her depth as a serious artist in choreographing the multiple facets of this performance, it is also liberally sprinkled with opportunities to appreciate both the absurdity of existence, and her own art. Her dog gets a cameo role as a guest artist! There were shades of Pink Floyd and Nick Cave in the hypnotic feel of the musical score but the mastery of electronic keyboard, violin and other assorted gadgets produces an overall sound that is uniquely hers.

The Saints of British Rock


The Saints of British Rock tells the tale of a mythical rock band that rise to stardom during the sixties. Using the format of a celebrity chat show, supplemented by slides, movies and animation, they relate stories of their success before disappearing into a time warp that is connected with Camelot and King Arthur. Somehow they are converted into eco-rock warriors and re-emerge as musical campaigners for the natural environment. So far so good. The dialogue from the two main characters however just seems childish and pointless. The intent presumably is to satirise the phenomenon of vacuous rock stars being thrust into the limelight and forced to be spokespersons about things they know little about, but the writing is tedious and lacks punch. Musically the show holds together and has some nice moments. It would work better if they just told the story with music and multimedia and drastically prune the dialogue.

4 Voice - Review


4 Voice are four local lads who promote themselves as Adelaide's premiere acapella group - good on 'em for aiming high! Happily we were encouraged to keep our phones and cameras ON - at least someone understands new media. We were then treated to a high energy, humorous, lively and engaging show of original arrangements of mostly golden oldies, complete with dance routines, and a couple of excellent originals thrown into the mix. (Big tick!) Their infectious stage presence easily gets the audience involved on several numbers. Highlights: the song they use to pick up girls, a zany impromptu restaurant scene, and the vocals of their bass man Tom. A fun show.

Monday, March 04, 2013

Again Amazing - Nicholas Tweedy


There's magic and there's mentalism - Nicholas Tweedy's preference is mentalism but he offers both in this extraordinary show. Lots of card tricks and non-threatening audience participation in an informal and relaxed presentation. It almost feels like you're at home with friends. With each 'trick' the stakes are raised and it becomes harder to believe what you're seeing, but every time Tweedy manages to prove he knows what we're thinking. It's the second time I've seen this kind of mentalism in action and despite my cynicism (apparently Australian audiences are among the most sceptical) I'm now a convert - I believe that mentalists can control what we think! There is no other rational explanation for some of the things that happen in Again Amazing. Presentation could be slicker but my guess is 'Nick' wants to keep it down home and cosy. Treat yourself and go test out your own cynicism.