If you’re a fan of a particular muso or comic, you’ve probably wondered what they’re like at home or with their mates. Tripod and DAAS fans now have that option. At least occasionally.
Ballarat got lucky in 2017 when pals Paul McDermott (Doug Anthony All Stars) and Steve Gates (Tripod) – who have been writing together privately for about five years - decided to go public for a one-off show. That show sold out, as have subsequent sequels, so they’ve teamed up again for a tour that takes in the 2019 Melbourne International Comedy Festival.
With both of them coming off long and successful careers from writing songs that parody politics and social mores, it’s a mateship that makes sense – and there is certainly a great dynamic between the two on stage; you can tell they’re having fun and it’s contagious.
While the routine of about 12 songs over 80 minutes is well rehearsed, they’re obviously comfortable enough on stage and with each other to be able to work off each other’s banter and make fun of occasional missed lines or starts.
The lyrics and observations are as acute as they’ve ever been and they put their middle-aged, middle class white privilege in the spotlight as much as anything, with songs like White Man’s Prison mocking the First World Problems of modern Australia, and a song bemoaning a ‘fall from fame’ and swapping posh air liners to shopping mall escalators.
McDermott still assumes the role of harsh misanthrope while Gatesy on guitar deadpans as the long-suffering pal. And everything is up for mockery – from getting older to taking offence, and teak veneer to Tim Finn. Even McDermott’s own self-diagnosed narcissism and brush with death via a burst appendix end up being material.
But while the sweet, clear vocals and poetic phrasing are generally used to offset a tawdry subject or lurid lyrics, there are a sequence of songs in the second half that seem truly heartfelt. One of them is the piece they first performed together, on The Shelf comedy show hosted by comedian Justin Hamilton. Called Stone Crows, it’s a tribute to a mutual friend who passed away and it’s a heart-rending, sublime duet that dried up any laughter and probably prompted a few tears.
The song has been released as a single under their recording name Bloody Lovelies, so fans may be seeing a bit more of the pair.
Further shows will be in Wollongong on April 23 and Gold Coast on May 8.
Penney and Logan present
Paul McDermott and Gatesy
Venue: Melbourne Recital Centre | cnr Southbank Boulevard and Sturt St VIC
Dates: 13 April 2019
Tickets: $54 – $75