Monday, 27 February 2012

"Men of Substance" - Vintage Comedy by Tripod

Friday night. 2012. The Playhouse. Deep in the belly of the Arts Centre.

Photograph © Lynton Crabb 
A far cry from the crowded, noisy university caf back in 1998 when I accidently tried to give "Vote Activate" flyers to the very comedians that had been booked to try to woo student voters as they left after the performance.

It's always a risk when you haven't seen a comedy group perform for a few years. Would they still have good material? Would it be new, or would they be doing the same skits as last time? (Not that I would have minded...) Are they still the lovable nerds we can all relate too or have they gone "Hollywood"?

These fears (particularly the last one) were quickly laid to rest when they opened the show with a mock boy band dance routine that would make even a gleek cringe, followed by a cautionary tale about technology, warning us to check our iPhones and iPads and set a Google alert on our laptops so we don't get caught unawares when computers start to take over the world.

Tripod have been entertaining us now for sixteen years and this show was certainly a celebration of that, as the boys embrace their apparent shift into the next stage of life - signalled by their ode to "Adult Contemporary" music and, later on, a sensual journey into the world of the much sought after, tried-and-tested man, or, more accurately, the DILF.

Along the way they helped us with our taxes, breaking down how one completes a BAS - with everyone in the audience that's been exposed to the displeasure of a GST experience most likely laughing the loudest as they argued on stage as to whether or not you divide by ten or eleven in order to determine how much GST you owe (spoiler alert: it's eleven).

For long-term fans of this trio, no, there was no hot dog man in sight. No Fabian, the no-nosed reindeer, either.

Ahh, memories.

There were, however, various reflections on married life - on becoming one of "those" couples who seem to lose the ability to form an individual opinion once they're married - and on planning a life together. Let's get married, have a baby, move near a pub that has live music, and get it shut down.

Woah, controversial.

Did I just accidently fall back into the Tim Minchin gig from a couple of weeks ago?

They surprised themselves (apparently), but the crowd loved it. The song I'm going to call "Blueprint" due to not knowing its real name was definitely a highlight and touched on some very real issues, the timing of which was beautiful, given that the day between their two performances in Melbourne last week was SLAM day ("Support Live Australian Music"), a day and night of live music performances in support of the remaining live music venues around the country that have not yet been completely crippled by noise restrictions and liquor licensing policies.

Overall, it was a wonderfully witty performance, strengthened by the unquestionable musicality of the trio - a fact that remains consistently understated, but without which the whole gig would technically be just as funny, but not nearly as entertaining.

So after opening with a warning about the dangers of technology taking over and finishing with "YouTube Party" as their encore, these - dare I say it - NILFs are as funny today as they were back in Fables lounge, in the RMIT caf and in whatever pub my sister dragged me to the first time I saw them perform (it's probably been closed down by now).

They thanked us at the start for logging off, shutting down our various devices and coming out to see an actual live performance and I'm very glad I did.

Of course then I had to jump back online to blog about it :-)

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