It’s the paradox of the comic musical act – to do it well you need to be deadly serious.
Cabaret Festival favourite Eddie Perfect joined with comic musical trio Tripod last night to bring new life to some Australian classic songs, and it was funny and moving.
Tripod – Scott Edgar, Steven Gates and Simon Hall – harmonised seamlessly with their tenor voices (not surprising, given they’ve been performing together for the best part of two decades). Perfect, an edgy musical satirist, provided a whole pile of ballast with his reedy baritone voice (“Tripod with balls”, as he put it).
The quartet started off with a bracket of a cappella songs, getting warmed up with “Waltzing Matilda” and “Heart’s a Mess”, before nailing a haunting version of Men at Work’s “Overkill”.
Silverchair’s “Straight Lines” morphed cleverly into a hot gospel, hand-clapping celebration, and they channelled Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons with a striking version of Kylie Minogue’s “Better the Devil you Know”.
The boys picked up guitars – and kicked the show up a notch – with a hilarious, country-cheeseball version of Lanie Lane’s “That’s What you Get for Falling in Love with a Cowboy”.
The boys had fun with plenty of perfectly timed comic banter between songs, and so did the audience at the Festival Theatre (they announced a version of the national anthem, only to break into John Farnham’s “You’re the Voice”, the main melody interspersed with backing vocals to the words “Johnny Farnham” – hilarious).
Yes, it was all fun and games until they broke our hearts with a sweet, intense version of Clare Bowditch’s torch-song-with-a-difference “The One” – soaring, is the word that comes to mind.
After a ripping version of the Bee Gees’ “How Deep is Your Love”, the lads came back on stage for an encore, gathering around a single microphone to produce flawless four-part harmonies in Paul Kelly’s hymn-like “Meet me in the Middle of the Air”.
The night ended with a crowd singalong in three-part harmony to Archie Roach’s “Little by Little”.
Funny, yes – but also devilishly clever work from four excellent Australian musicians.
Perfect Tripod: Australian Songs was a one-off concert at the Festival Theatre as part of the Adelaide Cabaret Festival, which runs until June 21.
For more stories and reviews, see InDaily’s 2014 Adelaide Cabaret Festival hub.
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