Thoroughly enjoyed the Concords. Ever since I learned Bret is a Harry Nilsson fan, I’ve been hearing little touches of Harry in his music – his tune that incorporated a bus tour guide and inter-marital affairs definitely had it. Musical comedy is hard to a) pull off and b) sustain, but Bret’s music, Jermaine’s sexually charged nerdly self assurance and their easy stage presence had me and the rest of the arena forgetting we were in an aren and laughing, whooping and cheering for the entire show. Recommended, as was warm up act Arj Barker.
An evening with AA Gill, Auckland Readers & Writers Festival 13 May 2011
AA Gill, the man himself, dismantler of restaurants and sharpest dictaphone in the west strolled slowly on stage suited and booted, ready to talk.
And talk he did, about food, criticism, his mother, his father, television,travel and his previous life as a drug dealer and alcoholic. There were quotable lines galore (I arrived in Auckland. It was lashing down. I thought “I’ve arrived in Hull”). He does a pretty bang on Prince Charles impression. The question and answer session gave him a couple of set piece opportunities (The Isle of Man and being chucked out of Gordon Ramsay’s restaurant), as well as a couple of bizarre, were-they-planted ramblers.
Fishing’s Al Brown was asking the questions, and looked a bit out at sea. Whenever Gill paused mid-tale, and looked to his right, where a Kim Hill or Russell Brown may have given the right rejoinder to really get the conversation cooking, he saw Brown looking at his notes. Gill couldn’t resist clawing him around a bit (“Oh, you’re a CHEF?), but let him off, mostly. Apparently Brown took him fishing on the Gulf that morning, where they both got a Kahawai (They ate it as sashimi, he told me when I had my book signed). Must have been been good.
I didn’t know what to expect from a man so clinically, hilariously scathing in print, but after an hour and a bit in his company, I thought I’d quite like to share a meal with him. A bit of a show-off, yes, but utterly charming, with a razor sharp eye for where best to take the piss from. Beneath the metaphor athletics and withering words, he just wants things to be enjoyable. Enjoyable food, enjoyable places to travel, enjoyable things to entertain us on the box. Not much to ask. Uncynical enthusiasm, and an artfully written take-down if you’re not up to scratch. I quite liked that.
TV writing from The Times – seems to have escaped the paywall
Update: Here’s a video of the session in full, courtesy Auckland readers and writers festival
Rock snob that I am, it puts me off that too many people that buy NickelBack records like them now – I mean, there was a Rock FM Dodge RAM parked in front of Vector Area with the Foo’s faces painted on the side. Hey! Dave Grohl used to be in Nirvana, you know! Get your own band, bogans!
But – I loved it. I’d forgotten they had so many great songs – and I kind of forgive them for bringing a violin player with them, and playing an acoustic set lasting almost an hour.
They’ve definitely kept their sense of humour – Grohl’s quite the comedian, and me and me mate were giggling like the schoolgirls we actually are throughout. Sample dialogue:
“I wanna say one thing…” *crowd goes wild*
“New Zealand fuckin’ SUCKS!” *crowd doesn’t know what to do with itself*
“No wait, just joking!”
Maybe you had to be there. But you know, I was greatly entertained for 2 hours 40 minutes by great songs and great touches like a tongue in cheek blues jam and Grohl embarrassing the lead guitarist with a male stripper for his birthday. It was the last night of this tour, they were obviously having a ball, and had an almost Springsteen-like desire to give the fans their money’s worth – unlike some recent visitors. Thoroughly recommended – it’s hard to stay cynical sometimes, eh.