Cast your mind back to the music scene of the late ’80s as each year heralded the break up of another punk band, Kylie, Milli Vanilli and Madonna were dominating the pop scene, grunge was the Next Big Thing, and teens everywhere waited to spend their pocket money on the next album from Nirvana, INXS, Crowded House or The Narelles.
Well now the much-loved Narelles are back, reuniting to bring us the songs we know and love so well, such as I Want to Watch your Sex Tape and the anthemic We’re The Narelles, with the classic lines that are etched on so many youthful hearts: “I’m 21 and I deserve the right to be a social leper on a Saturday night” and “Why would I threaten to amount to anything?”.
Don’t remember them? Well, that’s proof you were there – or that you need to ask your parents.
Conceived and well and truly executed by the uber-talented Casey Bennetto (who won a Barry Award and a Helpmann for Keating! The Musical) and Alan Brough (Spicks and Specks), The Narelles is a fast-paced parody of all things rock and roll and musical, but with a great set of songs thrown in that might sound vaguely familiar; I have no idea how they split the song-writing but Bennetto has proved time and time easily he can turn his hand to any style of musical crafting.
And who knew Brough was so talented? Spicks and Specks fans know he is a walking encyclopaedia when it comes to music trivia, but here proves his practical skills, too, casually swapping between lead, rhythmn and bass guitar, while Bennetto also takes the odd turn on keyboards.
The stage presentation is minimal – spartan even, with mystery drumming supplied remotely by the “extraordinarily shy Gary X” – but Brough’s deadpan delivery (“this is from our fourth album”) and Bennetto’s manic stare add an extra layer of silliness.
Both are also pretty full of it when it comes to brains and satire, so it’s worth keeping your ears in tune for the lyrics, especially in my personal favourite for the night, their unsolicited tribute to Nick Cave.
As an extra bonus, the show is performed in the glorious Trades Hall, which never gets as crowded as other venues but still has an excellent bar (or two), is on the free shuttlebus route and offers good bike and car parking nearby. Just a brief warning to modest ladies; the unisex toilet upstairs is a bit confronting.
Token Events and Triple R present
by Alan Brough and Casey Bennetto
Venue: Trades Hall, New Ballroom
Dates: March 26 – April 19, 2015 (not Mondays)
Tickets: $25 – $34
Bookings: Ticketmaster 1300 660 013 | at the door | www.comedyfestival.com.au