review

James Acaster

UTG @ Melbourne International Comedy Festival: James Acaster (UK)

Melbourne International Comedy Festival
Comic: James Acaster
Show: James Acaster (UK)
Venue: Melbourne Town Hall (Powder Room)

Brtish stand-up James Acaster is a lot of things. A man, a juror, a gangster, a comedian; thankfully it is the latter of these that he has chosen to make his calling, and tonight it was the Melbourne audience that reaped the rewards. A gifted storyteller with a uniquely off-beat delivery, Acaster hit the ground running, winning over the crowd with some solid crowd work, filled with local references, before settling into an hour of finely crafted stand-up that found its loudest laughs …

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UTG @ Melbourne International Comedy Festival: John Kearns – ‘Shtick’

Melbourne International Comedy Festival
Comic: John Kearns
Show: Shtick
Venue: The Acacia Room at the Victoria Hotel

With unprecedented back-to-back ‘Best Newcomer’ and ‘Best Comedy Show’ awards from Edinburgh, it’s fair to say that UK comic John Kearns comes to the Melbourne International Comedy Festival under the weight of great expectations. Fortunately for Kearns, and the Melbourne crowds, he is more than ready to live up to them.

A supremely gifted comic who thrives in the realms of the absurd, Kearns had the crowd in stitches from the moment he took the stage, holding the room hostage with his idiosyncratic …

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UTG @ Melbourne International Comedy Festival: Nina Conti, Nick Cody, and Sam Simmons

Comic: Nina Conti
Show: In Your Face
Venue: Melbourne Town Hall

Ventriloquist Nina Conti and her long-time, foul-mouthed puppet companion, Monkey, have been delighting MICF audiences for years with their unique brand of comedy. If Tuesday night’s performance is anything to go by, Conti’s new show In Your Face will only intensify Melbourne’s love affair with her and her menagerie of puppet creations. A fully improvised affair, In Your Face sees Conti and her politically incorrect primate companion fixing grotesque prosthetic masks to unsuspecting audience participants, which Conti then controls with unpredictable and utterly hilarious results. Unscripted, uncensored and unforgettable, …

speak low

REVIEW: Speak Low If You Speak Love – ‘Everything But What You Need’

Artist: Speak Low If You Speak Love
Album: Everything But What You Need
Genre: Acoustic indie rock
Label: Pure Noise Records

In the punk world, acoustic side projects often carry an unjustified stigma. While many of the records in the “sensitive pop-punk dude with acoustic guitar” genre tend to fall flat due to uninspired songwriting and lackluster production value, Speak Low If You Speak Love stands out brightly. The brainchild and passion project of State Champs guitarist Ryan Scott Graham, Speak Low self-released a record called Everything But What You Need in December of 2013. We loved it here at …

marks watson flaws

UTG @ Melbourne International Comedy Festival: Mark Watson – ‘Flaws’

Melbourne International Comedy Festival
Comic: Mark Watson
Show: Flaws
Venue: ACMI Beyond

Mark Watson is a hardworking man of very many talents. With a decade of seasons at the Edinburgh Fringe, multiple 24-hour comedy marathons, TV appearances and a library of novels up his sleeve – as well as a family waiting for him at home – you’d expect that he’d be a confident chap quite chuffed with his lot in life, but he’s not. Or at least he wasn’t, for a while there anyway.

His new show Flaws is an hour of musings upon the nature of what he …

silverchair

Celebrating 20 Years of Silverchair’s ‘Frogstomp’

In the last week of March in 1995, a band of three long-haired, fifteen-year-old grunge disciples from working class Newcastle in northern New South Wales shot to worldwide prominence courtesy of their enthusiastically received debut album Frogstomp. That band was known as Silverchair and for a nine-year-old Australian kid, raised on the likes of Nirvana, Soundgarden, Pearl Jam, The Offspring and Alice in Chains, they may as well have been God, and Frogstomp The Bible.

I was one such nine-year-old and for me Frogstomp marked the first moment where I felt like I had discovered a band on my …

Kintsugi

REVIEW: Death Cab For Cutie – ‘Kintsugi’

Artist: Death Cab For Cutie
Title: Kintsugi
Label: Atlantic Records
Genre: Indie

Since forming in 1997, Death Cab For Cutie had never named a record until after it was finished, at which point they would all pitch ideas to one another and decide on a title together. This was the norm for over 15 years and 7 albums, until last summer, when bassist Nick Harmer ran across a tag so painstakingly applicable that it immediately stuck.

“The album’s called Kintsugi,” Harmer revealed to Rolling Stone this past January. “It’s a Japanese style of art where they take fractured, broken …

david quirk

UTG @ Melbourne International Comedy Festival: David Quirk – ‘Thrasher’

Melbourne International Comedy Festival
Comic: David Quirk
Show: Thrasher
Venue: Fast Times – Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

David Quirk is a skateboarding lifer who works in a skate shop. He also happens to be a comedian.

So when it came time to find a place to host a comedy show about his life’s work in skateboarding retail, he could think of no other appropriate place than in the shop itself. So that’s where I found myself Monday night, watching one of Australia’s most original comedians, performing his new show, Thrasher, in front of a wall of skate decks and a …

joel creasey

UTG @ Melbourne International Comedy Festival: Joel Creasey – ‘The Hurricane’

Melbourne International Comedy Festival
Comic: Joel Creasey
Show: The Hurricane
Venue: ACMI Below

The last twelve months have seen Joel Creasey rise from the ranks of ‘promising young comedian’ to genuine comedy superstar and national celebrity status. This ascendance has blessed him with an insight into the lifestyles of the rich and famous, exposing him to the idiosyncrasies and human failings of many an A-lister (and C-listers, and whatever Neighbours stars are classified as), and granting him a new perspective on the cult of celebrity.

Creasey’s new show The Hurricane draws on these experiences to hilarious effect, with Creasey using …

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UTG @ Melbourne International Comedy Festival: Rhys Nicholson – ‘Forward’

Melbourne International Comedy Festival
Comic: Rhys Nicholson
Show: Forward
Venue: Melbourne Town Hall (Backstage Room)

Rhys Nicholson is regarded as one of the world’s most promising young stand-up talents, and if his new show Forward is anything to go by, it’s not hard to see why. Taking to the stage dressed like a “lesbian debutante ball attendee” (his description, not mine), with an effigy of his own face as a backdrop, Nicholson took command of the room instantly, dazzling the audience with his razor-sharp wit as he delivered multiple laughs per minute.

Devastatingly effective in the realms of filth, sexual …

a will away bliss feature

REVIEW: A Will Away – ‘Bliss’

Artist: A Will Away
Album: Bliss
Label: Quiet Fire Media
Genre: Emo, Indie Rock, Pop-Punk

There’s a distinct difference between happiness and bliss. Happiness is the consequence of a positive situation or outcome; it describes the joy that accompanies a successful plan or an unexpected, pleasant turn of events. Bliss is different. Bliss describes the feeling of letting go, floating freely in a world of joy, unbound from the constraints of embarrassment or expectation – bliss accompanies the feeling of true contentedness with one’s sense of identity. In this regard, Bliss is a perfect title for the new EP from …

modest mouse

REVIEW: Modest Mouse – ‘Strangers to Ourselves’

Artist: Modest Mouse
Title: Strangers to Ourselves
Label: Epic Records
Genre: Alternative, Indie

At this point in the career of Modest Mouse, any new music comes with some unfortunate but fair expectations. It’s nearly impossible to listen to a new album and not think about past work. But that doesn’t mean we can’t welcome change or new approaches that a veteran band like this takes to music. That also doesn’t mean we have to like it. Strangers to Ourselves is Modest Mouse’s first album in eight years, so maybe it’s time that they re-invent the wheel. They certainly try …