The Spooky Men Head Down the Mountain!
A celebration of masculine beauty and stupidity in concert.
The Blue Mountains' own Spooky Men's Chorale is set to haunt the Newcastle Civic Theatre and Sydney’s Seymour Centre next month but in the nicest possible way: with a mini suite of concerts to celebrate its 18th year.
The Spookies are taking a good hard look at themselves in the (very wide) mirror and it’s a little hard to tell whether they like what they see.
After all, it’s been 18 years of being the thinking person’s mancrumpet - musically speaking - and part of the skill-set is inscrutability.
Or is it blithering incomprehensibility? So, yes, the hats are there, the sphinx-like vastness, the facial crevices, the beard topiary…
But is that crumbling decrepitude they are revealing or a magnificent descent into the vast bittersweetness of knowing this life for what it is?
These questions are more than appropriate, because the Spooky Men have just recorded their seventh album, Welcome to the Second Half which will nearly be ready for this performance.
It’s a collection which explores yet more corners of the great spooky room, including baggage carousels at the airport, the fine art of building pyramids, and - more poignantly - what it’s like to be closer to the end than to the start.
Whether they will stop before they are done, or whether they are done before they stop, the musical exploration of all this unknowingness will be, as always, a very great pleasure. Sit back and enjoy the ride!
Armed only with their voices, The Spooky Men's Chorale commentates on the absurdity and grandeur of the modern male. Sometimes mighty, sometimes foolish, sometimes blissfully tender-hearted, the Spooky Men strike a deeply human chord.
Formed in the Blue Mountains of NSW in 2001 by Christchurch-born now Mountains'-based spookmeister Stephen Taberner, the Spooky Men soon attracted attention with a judicious combination of Georgian table songs, pindrop beautiful ballads, highly inappropriate covers, and immaculate man anthems like “Don’t Stand Between a Man and his Tool”, and “We Are Not a Men’s Group” - all of which amounted to a manifesto for the new breed of man: happily suspended between thug and wimp.
Since their debut at the National Folk Festival in Canberra in 2004, they’ve made nearly 100 appearances including WOMAD, Woodford, Port Fairy, Blue Mountain and Sydney festivals, plus tours to the UK and Europe and multiple ABC-TV appearances.
The Spooky Men have also recorded seven CDs: Tooled Up (2004), Stop Scratching It (2007), Deep (2009), Big (2011), The Spooky Man in History (2013), Warm (2015) and their latest, which they’ll ransack for good songs at the concert.
Of Welcome to the Second Half (2019) they say the album will explore some deeper things but also deliver a good deal of silliness - which can never be fully eradicated. “You may find the beauty and thoughtfulness balanced out by the fact it’s being sung by a bunch of idiots. Nice idiots.”
The Spooky Men’s Chorale:
Friday 31 May 7.30pm
Civic Theatre, Wheeler Place, Newcastle
Tickets: Adult $49 / Concession $39 / Student $25 /
Junior (2-16) $15 /Group 10+ $39
Bookings or 4929 1977
The Spooky Men’s Chorale:
Saturday 1 June 7.30pm
Seymour Centre City Rd & Cleveland Street, Redfern
Tickets: Full $49 / Concession $39 / Student $25 / Under 16 $20 / Groups 10+ $39
Bookings or 9351 7940
Visit the Spookymen webiste.
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