07
May
13

Perfect Tripod: Australian Songs

 

Perfect Tripod: Australian Songs

Brisbane Powerhouse & Smartartists

Powerhouse Theatre

2nd-4th of May 2013

 

Reviewed by Guy Frawley

 

I’ve been a Tripod fan ever since discovering them on skitHOUSE during the early 2000s and had been really quite excited to be able to finally see them live. I’ve always found their act to be very funny; their music to be a lot of fun and most importantly the dynamic between the three of them has always seemed natural and unlaboured.

 

The original Tripod guys are joined by Eddie Perfect (and his beautiful vocal range), with the addition of ‘the new guy’ adding a really fun element to the established shtick of the original trio. According to the shows synopsis the idea for Perfect Tripod: Australian Songs was born after the rapturous response to their cover of Paul Kelly’s Meet Me in the Middle of the Air. And for me I think that might be where the concept started to unravel.

 

This show seemed neither natural nor unlaboured.

 

I don’t think it was ever supposed to be straight up comedy, of course by the very nature of Tripod’s involvement it was bound to have some very entertaining comedic components, but the piece wasn’t marketed or presented as comedy and never truly, fully crossed into this territory.

 

And as a musical performance I couldn’t help but feel that the entire show wouldn’t have been better served with extra rehearsal time and further discussion on exactly who would be best positioned to sing which parts.

 

When it worked, it really worked! A capella isn’t easy and between the four of them there were definitely some WOW moments.

 

It’s easy to see why Meet Me in the Middle of the Air was received with such a positive response. They sounded incredible when performing this number and when their harmonies were on the mark one couldn’t help but listen in awe. The banter between members and their impromptu jests had the audience howling with laughter and I was reminded many times throughout the show of why I loved Tripod in the first place.

 

Yet the majority of the show felt vaguely empty, with much the same soul and finesse of a good karaoke cover. They can all sing, Eddie Perfect was the real standout vocal star of the evening, but there’s no doubt they can all sing. Which made the occasional song choice, key choice and the personal allocation of parts so perplexing. I’m stumped as to why, if choosing from the full length and breadth of Australian music, they would restrict themselves to choices that didn’t always compliment their personal strengths and hide their individual weaknesses.

 

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The show oscillated between a loving piss take and a delightfully irreverent homage but never really found its footing in either camp and I think suffered because of this. An extra week or two in rehearsal also wouldn’t have hurt, as there were several moments throughout that made me wonder how this could have possibly already played a season in Melbourne. Not because it didn’t appear über polished, I wasn’t expecting a Human Nature styled slick performance; it just didn’t seem fully prepared.

 

I never felt like I was being showcased a collection of well loved and defining pieces of Australian music, it was just a selection of songs (some with comedic potential) that also happened to be Australian.

 

 

When talented artists work with brilliant existing material to put their own take on it the final product can be absolutely phenomenal (I’m looking at you Naomi Price).

 

Perfect Tripod: Australian Songs was never really able to make it past ‘good’.

 

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