Australia’s weird and wonderful black-clad choristers, The Spooky Men’s Chorale are gearing up for another biennial blast round Britain.
Following triumphant UK tours in 2006, 2007, 2009, 2011, 2013 and 2015, they are busy packing multifarious hats in their native New South Wales, ready to whisk themselves away from the eucalyptus-infused Blue Mountains for a whistle-stop run of nearly 30 performances in England, Scotland and Wales – a veritable bounty of big summer festivals, wondrous workshops, and even a top secret Mystery Gig!
There will be first time appearances at WOMAD, Ely Folk Festival and London’s King’s Place, welcome returns to Warwick, Wickham and Sidmouth festivals and performances at iconic venues including Liverpool Philharmonic, Sage, Gateshead and Cardiff’s St David’s Hall.
In their 17th year and with five studio albums to their name this is a line-up that totally warrants the term ‘unique’. Describing themselves as “equal parts monk, Visigoth and village idiot” they are not afraid to send up the stereotypical male to side-splitting effect. Says Spookmeister (and sole Kiwi) Stephen Taberner (he of the deerstalker hat): “The chorale attempts to explore the paradoxes of latter day masculinity with unbridled enthusiasm, a pleasing array of deep harmonies and a gentle wink towards posterity. We’re trying to master the impossible art of being both musically immaculate and blitheringly stupid.”
The Spookies were formed by Melbourne-based Taberner in Sydney in 2001 and could rightly be said to have almost singlehandedly redefined the world of men’s singing. With a sound variously described as “sexy, powerful, impossibly gentle and sad but unmistakably male” their repertoire ranges from Georgian drinking songs to whisper perfect ballads and a string of improbable original hits like ‘Don’t Stand Between A Man And His Tool’ and ‘Stop Scratching It’ . Spooky veterans know well their hilarious, elephantine retreatments of classics like Earth, Wind & Fire’s ‘Boogie Wonderland’ and the funniest version of Abba’s ‘Dancing Queen’ you are likely to witness. Spooky virgins should expect the unexpected.
Hotfoot from their most ambitious Australian tour to date, the mighty 15-strong line-up’s UK show will run the bizarre gamut of surfing, gluttony, tools, mastodons, Bee Gees, body parts and how to scare off hostile neighbouring tribes – songs from their album The Spooky Man in History and the back catalogue but also from their snug latest CD Warm – an unadulterated album of shiver-down-the-spine Georgian songs.
Kicking off at Oxford’s Sheldonian Theatre on Friday, July 7 the tour will take them from Salisbury to Settle, Edinburgh to Ely. Their famous “open to all” workshops will be on offer at Bury Met, WOMAD, Theatre Royal, Margate, Wickham and Sidmouth Festivals.
Compellingly comic they may be but make no mistake, this is a finely-honed class act. Not only can they sing like angels; they also maintain an unflinching, side-splitting grandeur amidst the mayhem.
Says Taberner: “We love playing the UK. This time around audiences will witness Spookies that are bigger, blacker, deeper and more hairy than ever before. These fellows are guaranteed to leave small children thrall struck, women making noises they’ve never made before and real estate salesmen vaguely aware that somewhere, there’s a whole world they’ve never experienced.”
Artists’ website: http://spookymen.com/
The Spooky Men’s promo video:
Remaining Tour Dates
26 August 2017 Towersey Festival 01629 827016
30 August 2017 Corn Exchange DORCHESTER
31 August 2017 Royal Hippodrome Theatre EASTBOURNE