Review: The Choir Of Man

Playing at The Playhouse, Arts Centre Melbourne until January 12

Tickets: https://www.artscentremelbourne.com.au/whats-on/2020/contemporary-music/the-choir-of-man

Tour dates and more info: https://choirofman.com/

It’s not often you attend a show and before you can take your seat, you’re invited up to the stage to join the cast in a friendly pint from an actual working bar on the stage floor. But that’s what happens to attendees of The Choir of Man, a rollicking 90-minute singing session with a troupe of likeable British lads who instantly win over the crowd with their warm and friendly demeanour, and have the audience on side even before they start singing, even without the free beer.

The brainchild of theatrical producers Nic Doodson and Andrew Kay, The Choir of Man is refreshingly unpretentious, and boasts an exceptional set, a pub called The Jungle, which authentically mimics a quaint old English pub, complete with gaudy wallpaper and artwork. Propelled by wonderful narration from one of the choir members, we’re invited into the lads’ local and find out this place is a sanctuary for them, a place where nobody is judged, everyone can be themselves and they can sing their hearts out night in, night out.

The great thing about this show is how it makes you forget you’re in a grand old theatre and instantly transports you to the show’s setting, and by the end of the show you’ve been in that pub the entire time. That intangible quality is really what sets this show apart from other theatrical experiences, and their eclectic repertoire of song choices really does mean there is something for everyone here. The chosen songs form a kind of loose narrative and while every tune doesn’t necessarily tie into the characters’ stories or themes of the show, that really matters little when the song performances are so enjoyable.

Opening appropriately enough with Guns N Roses’ Welcome to the Jungle, The Choir also belts out numbers by Paul Simon (50 Ways To Leave Your Lover), Avicii (Wake Me Up), Adele (Hello), Katy Perry (Teenage Dream) and Queen (Somebody to Love), there is also a great deal of audience participation incorporated into the show. From the aforementioned invite before the show to bringing up random audience members to serenade or play a game of beer coaster stacking with them. Often audience members shudder at being dragged up on stage but in a show like this people would be clamouring to join them.

One of the best things about this show is the sheer variety of entertainment the crew deliver. One song (Sia’s Chandelier) is performed a Capella, and during 50 Ways To Leave Your Lover, we have one of the gang do a show-stopping bar-top tap dance routine. And every one of the crew get their moment to shine, even the resident bartender, who does a rollicking version of Rupert Holmes’ Escape (The Pina Colada Song), culminating in some amazing gymnastics on stage.

The choreography and chemistry is simply astounding. There’s lots of stage movement going on at all times and with nine members (as well as a few audience members) on stage at any given time things can get hectic, but everything is executed to perfection. There is even some unexpected poignancy, as our narrator talks about how the traditional British pub is sadly disappearing from the world, in favour of trendy new venues, and how the camaraderie and mate ship forged within the walls of these places is an important thing to hold onto. It’s sweet without ever being too sentimental and really well incorporated into the show overall.

The choirs’ vocal range is also incredible, going from gruff and guttural when the song requires it to sounding nothing less than angelic during other numbers. While the show is a true crowd-pleaser in every sense of the term, the team have a treat for local audiences later in their set that will ensure they go home happy, as they belt out their version of a true Aussie classic.

But even without that little nod to local audiences, The Choir of Man delivers extraordinary entertainment from first song to last. The choir is in Melbourne until January 12 but will be touring the country for a further four months after that so there’s thankfully plenty of opportunity to catch them while they are visiting our shores.

With energetic performers, an unexpected collection of tunes and a determination to put a smile on the face of every audience member, The Choir of Man is a toe-tapping triumph.

Q&A with Monica Adair

v1.bjsyMjA2MDg0O2o7MTgxMTU7MTIwMDsxOTAzOzgwOQ

With meaningful lyrics, emotive keys and moving, raw vocals, nineteen-year-old singer/songwriter Monica Adair brings a distinct sound to Indie-Pop. Now this North QLD songstress turned Gold Coast local is set to release her first single, Stars In The Water.

You’ve recently released your new single Stars in the Water. What has the reaction been like so far and is it what you expected?

I was so excited to hear that Stars In The Water had its first radio play yesterday. Actually, this is my first ever single so it was my first radio play ever as an artist!

Continue reading

Exclusive EP Premiere: ‘Keeping Secrets’ by Ryan Daykin

It’s ironic that Ryan Daykin’s debut EP is called Keeping Secrets – as we’re choosing to do the complete opposite and give you an exclusive sneak peek! Featuring collaborations with Aleyce Simmonds and Hayley Marsten, whom we interviewed and premiered her music video of Coming Home last year; his influences stretch from Motown, to Shania Twain, and almost everything in between.

If you’re into earthy, country-alternative pop with strong hooks and compelling lyrical themes, then definitely take a moment to check out Ryan Daykin’s music.

Continue reading

An Interview with Brook Chivell and Natalie Pearson

After a national tour together in 2017, Country Music’s Brook Chivell and Natalie Pearson have teamed up again to release the catchy, feel-good release I Wonder What You Kiss Like. The song debuted at #2 on the iTunes Country Charts, and currently sits at #5 on the KIX Country Radio Charts. The popular music video also sits third in the series continuation, after Pearson’s Mr Wrong and Chivell’s Hot Country Girl.

I Wonder What You Kiss Like was written by Country Music favourites, Kaylee Bell and Nick Wolfe, originally intended to be recorded by The Wolfe Brothers themselves. Considering how different your personal styles are compared to their own, it’s difficult to imagine the song not changing during production. What was the original demo like? And how, if so, did it change?

Natalie: [The demo] was Nick singing. He had a few little piano motifs at the start, which we really liked and we kept for when we took it to production. It had a similar vibe to what it ended up being; we just fleshed it out a lot more. We had a play around with the structure and put some key changes in there, so we could both have a chance to show off our vocal ranges and sit in our sweet spot. Nick really liked the arrangement, and we went from there into the studio.

Continue reading

Exclusive Video Premiere: Everything by Hurricane Fall

If you’ve never heard of Hurricane Fall, let me introduce you. Comprised of Jesse Vee (singer/guitarist), Pepper Deroy (singer/bassist), Lachlan Coffey (drummer), Tim Hickey (keyboardist/guitarist) and Luke Wheeldon (guitarist/producer); they’re a five-piece, country band from Tamworth originally, who now reside in Newcastle, NSW.

After releasing a string of catchy singles from their previous EP, How We Get Down (which reached #4 on the iTunes Country Chart), they have earned themselves a loyal and ever-expanding fan-base. With a new album due for release later this year, it’s our absolute honour to today premiere their newest music video for their latest single, Everything.

Continue reading