101 Hits | TripodTake three clowns, who double as musicians, add three great voices, idiosyncratic lyrics, a guitar, and now and then a trumpet, and you have the inimitable, unforgettable Tripod. I love Tripod and judging from the crowd at last night's show, I'm far from alone. People were queueing up over 45 minutes before the start time of 7.30 pm. They waited patiently, drinks in hands to keep them warm in the cold evening breeze, and chatted cheerfully to others in the queue. Some clutched copies of Tripod's book, 101 Hits which was launched in March.

Tripod (Scod – Scott Edgar, Gatesy - Steven Gate and Yon – Simon Hall) are celebrating twenty years of madcap, musical entertainment. They made their debut, so Scod tells us, on In Melbourne Tonight hosted by Frankie J Holden and went on to make their names in Melbourne's lively pub scene of the mid 1990s. Melbourne Comedy Festival regulars, they've been part of triple j's national breakfast show with their Song in an Hour segment, worked on TV, in cabaret, and performed with a host of bands and singers including Cat Empire, Megan Washington and Gotye. They won an ARIA for Best Comedy Release in 2005 with their album Middleborough Road which came out of the television sketch show, SkitHOUSE. In 2013 they added Eddie Perfect to the mix to create the a capella quartet cabaret show Perfect Tripod: Australian Songs which toured nationally.

Last night's performance consisted of songs from 101 Hits, chosen at random by the spinning of a barrel of numbered table tennis balls, making us what Scod called 'Bingoites'. Neither Tripod nor the audience knew what was coming next, not just in song but also in banter. We were given a lesson in bowing, WorkSafe style and many a catchy song including one of my favourites, I Was the Only Shepherd, the only one who didn't see the light. The shepherd seeks to justify why he 'wasn't there', telling his children that he was being conscientious and doing his job of minding the sheep. There were songs about yuppies who want to close live music venues, men who hate shorts, and how lovely we are on the inside – all blood and guts. A lovely bluesy/jazzy number had a love lorn man urging his lover to remember their tryst by the river and not let the discovery of a body spoil the moment. You get the idea!

Every show will be different so you might want to catch several performances, if you can get tickets; last night was sold out. Each performance concludes with an audience request. Last night Ghost Ship brought the evening to a suitably uproarious climax, with Gatesy playing the 'rock god' to Yoni's 'sensitive man', as Scod vainly tried to keep them in line. Total mayhem is the name of their game.

The Spiegeltent was a perfect venue for these manic clowns who never cease to surprise. Their comic timing is perfect, they have amazing singing voices and, as musicians, an impressive knowledge of, and love for, many different musical genres. They bounce off each other, and the audience, delivering a performance that is sure to satisfy lovers of comedy as much as lovers of music, proving that you can be both.

Marnie Foulis & Smartartists present
101 Hits

Venue: The Famous Spiegeltent at Arts Centre Melbourne | 100 St Kilda Rd, Melbourne
Dates: 24 March – 17 April 2016
Tickets: $25 – $60
Bookings: www.comedyfestival.com.au

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