Just what I needed: Only Sparrows

I’m not sure I can be trusted to write this review in sound mind. You see, Josh Pyke’s music makes me awfully gushy, and I’m listening to his new album as I write about it.

It could get messy…

I’ll try not to get too carried away, but you’ve been warned, I’m a big fan.

I finally got my hands on a copy of Josh Pyke’s new album Only Sparrows (thanks Karen xx) and listened to it for the first time yesterday. It’s been on repeat ever since, and I’ve been prone to wistfulness.

Only Sparrows as an album not too dissimilar from Pyke’s Memories and Dust (2007) and Chimney’s Afire (2008). In saying that, there’s no sense of repetition, the album stand apart. It’s twelve new, delightful tracks, twelve stories, twelve little pieces of poetry.

Track number one, Clovis’ Sons slayed me. The hairs stood up straight on the back of my neck, and I had to stop what I was doing and just listen. It made me breath more slowly, more deeply. Goodness.

No One Wants a Lover, the first single from the album, brought me back to earth a little…a cheerful number, feet-tapping, head-nodding, hand-clapping. It made me thing of pubs and beer and sticky carpets.

Diet of Worms broke my heart, and Punch in the Heart fixed it again. Punch… is especially fetching as it features Katy Steele. Her unique vocals adds a little extra whimsy to an already stunning song.


If I had to pick, I’d say that my favourite track on Only Sparrows would have to be Factory Fires, a colonial tune rich with story and desperation. It’s industrial and romantic, somber and beautiful all at once.

Lastly, to wrap up the album, Love Lies is a love-song lullaby, featuring gentle guitar, and an uniquely Australian tone. A song for summer.

This is quite a special album, and the stories it contains move me. They’re just what I need right now, and I’m fairly sure it’s got lots of listens ahead of it.

What are you listening to this summer?

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So much to learn from Shazza

Last night, I hot-footed it over to South Melbourne with Fiona from Rushcrowds to see a crazy little show at the Butterfly Club. Shazza, The Bird from Broady had promised to teach us all there was to know about being a celebrity, in her latest show My Celeb Life. I thought it couldn’t hurt to get some tips on how to be all kinds of famous, and attended whole-heartedly and open-mindedly.

I’ve not been to the Butterfly Club before, and as such when we popped in for a drink before the show, I was both overwhelmed and completely delighted. The place is full. To the brim chockablock full. Full of stuff. The shelves are covered with trinkets, toys and statuettes and walls adorned with the most incredible collection of 70s portraits of big-eyed children, doe-eyed women and pictures of ships (yes, ships). The whole place was like a strange cross between the share-houses my friends and I lived in when we first hit the renters-circle, and my Nan’s front room, where ‘the good things’ were kept, her artificial flowers, the shell-art and the random mantel clocks and vases that were her pride and joy.

After a quick look around, we made our way into the showroom with a small crowd of eager punters. The theatrette was intimate (to say the least), with just enough room for the dozen or so rows of church pews and the tiny stage. The floors and pews creaked as we made our way in, and the front door rattled on its hinges as Shazza, big and bold and larger than life, barrelled into the room only moments after we’d all sat down.

Without much of a chance to catch her breath, or for us to catch ours, Shazza (Christie Cula-Reid) was up in our faces, declaring her (undeniable) hotness. And who could argue…the mullet, the leopard prints, and the red, red lippy created a Broady bird of the finest plumage.

In true Kath and Kim style, Shazza’s humour was both cringful and endearing. She was, of course, over the top, an obvious stereotype, but by the same token instantly recognisable and very likeable. Her story, the five steps to celebrity, hung together well, and was very, very funny. The crowd was roaring with laugher, stomping their feet and joining in with chants and songs.

Christie is a really talented chicky, and her cabaret-stylings of a great collection of classic 80s tracks (rewritten to highlight Shazza’s hotness) were enjoyable to listen to, and good for a giggle. Shazza can certainly hold a tune, and she can absolutely strut her stuff. She had all the moves.

Shazza is on stage at the Butterfly Club until Sunday, and Rushcrowds have some great ticket deals which you can check out here and here.

If you’re up for a slightly manic, very funny evening out, give it a go.

I’ve also got to say…check out the Butterfly Club, it’s amazing…Rushcrowds do lots of offers for their shows, and you can check out the club’s website here. A collector’s dream and a duster’s nightmare – it’s so worth a drop in for a drink and a look. I know for a fact I’ll be heading back the first chance I get for a cocktail and a rummage.

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Rockin’ and a rhyming

Although the boys and I do try and get out and about a bit these days, there are still some events which rate as super special. Rhymes Kids Music Festival was one such event.

With a bright and early start, my sister and I took our little ones off to the Melbourne Showgrounds for what promised to be a memorable, tiring, and rockin’ day. It did not disappoint, it was all these things and more.

We’d decided to do the morning shift, while the kids were fresh, happy and compliant. This turned out to be a great idea as it meant that we had the chance to have a good look around before the crowds arrived. After we’d labelled our kids (great peace of mind when your kid is just one little person in a sea of two-foot tall humans), Oscar and his cousin started off their adventure with a quick trip around the Nissan X-Trail driving track. I must say I was impressed with Oscar’s observation of the road rules (right light stop, green light go) and I thought him most deserving of the my-first-driver’s-license that the lovely Nissan people gave him – so cute!

Then for coffee, a bubble-blowing gun each for the kids and a bundle of free Huggies Nappy-Pants (gotta love a freebie!)

Once these important errands were taken care of, it was time to find a prime position in front of the stage, ready for Angelina Ballerina. We found a spot, a little bit further back, but with a bit of room to move. I was so pleased to find that everyone was really friendly and respectful…I was a little bit worried as these types of kid’s-gigs can get a little chaotic at times. Everyone happily put prams out of the way and set up picnic rugs. Grown-ups happily sat, keeping out of the way of the numerous, delighted toddlers who where jumping out of their skins with excitement.

Angelina Ballerina was an absolute hit, both Oscar and his cousin had the most fabulous time jumping, twirling, pirouetting and being as graceful as a three year old can be (which is not very graceful as it happens, but is super-cute). A great way to start the day, the kids were well and truly in the zone, and loving it.

Next up was Spikey and Friends, an Australian K-indie Rock band straight from Byron Bay. Spikey the Echidna was a real hit, larger than life and very, well, very spikey. The band was fun, and kids and parents alike seemed to appreciate their uniquely Australian songs.

There was a short break after Spikey, during which I notice that the crowd started to grow. The kids started to jitter and jump. It was time for Yo Gabba Gabba!  I wasn’t sure what to expect – I’m sure I’m not alone is saying that I find Yo Gabba Gabba a little perplexing. Nonetheless, they are definetly very entertaining even if they’ve been designed to appeal to children who are far edgier than I was as a child – Oscar is most certainly very keen on them. He couldn’t have looked funkier, dancing away, and the Yo Gabba Gabba team certainly didn’t hold back on laying down some hard-core kiddy beats. They shared their favourites, and Oscar spun and clapped and sang along at the top of his voice. The crowd was jumping, much as you would expect at a music festival, and it really was a wonderfully memorable moment.

After a 30 minute set, the Gabba gang waved Goodbye, Goodbye and the kids had a moment to catch their breath. At this stage, we went for a little wander. We had fun listening to Electric Lunchbox and Peter Combe, but we did it whilst on the move.

We came across some more freebies, this time from Burt’s Bees – free moisturisers, baby oil, nappy-rash cream and lip balm (I’m hooked!) all lovely and natural, and then stopped for a bite to eat. By this stage, Lazy Town had started and this required a quick trip back to the stage, the kids had a bit of a dance and then returned to their hot chips. I found myself wondering if I would ever be able to convince Oscar to eat ‘sports candy’ without the actual Sportacus visiting our house…his choice of lunch (chips and musk sticks) certainly didn’t really bode well. Sadly, I’m pretty sure the Lazy Town crew are a bit busy for house-calls.

After lunch we checked out the exhibitors, and listened to a bit more music. We were extremely pleased that the event was indoors, as the weather outside was very chilly and wet. The Showgrounds was a perfect venue really, big enough but not too big, a great location and warm!

I’ve got to say that over-all, the event was spot-on. It was extremely well organised, the kid’s activities were great, the acts offered something for everyone, and the set-up was really comfortable. There was enough room for everyone and this meant that we could all move around safely and comfortably, something that is so important when you’re wrangling two and three year olds. At the same time, there was enough of a crowd, enough little kids having an absolute ball, that there was an unforgettable buzz in the air.

I really think that Oscar will remember this day as a special one, and hopefully it’ll establish a real taste for all things musical. I’m pretty sure we’ll go again next year, and I’ll hopefully rally a few extra friends and family to come along with me.


If you want to find out more about Rhymes Festival, and keep an eye out for next year’s festival, you can visit their website here or Like their Facebook page here.

If you live in Brisbane, you’ve still got the chance to get along to a Rhymes Festival…coming to you, 22 January 2012.

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I’m still awake, still!

You might remember that during the school holidays I took the boys to see the musical and fabulously quirky Still, Awake Still!  The show was largely drawn from the songs that accompany the delightful picture book I’m Still Awake, Still! by Elizabeth Honey and Sue Johnson.

To follow-up on our junior theatrical experience, I borrowed a copy of I’m Still Awake, Still! from the library and it’s been on high rotation ever since!

Oscar read it on the way home, when we got home (twice), before bed, in bed, and again when he woke up. He’s had the CD on repeat, and it’s moved from his bedroom to the lounge room, and back to his room again.

The story is about little Fiddy, who is having terrible trouble getting to sleep…

“Fiddy is small and busy and quick. And at bedtime he’s still wide awake.”

Marlo, Parlo and Nonno all try and help Fiddy out, as do a cast of favourite Australia creatures. It takes a big old bear, a few sweet lullabies and a quick trip through space to finely wear this bouncy little boy out.

I can’t decide what I love more, the story, the illustrations or the music…

The story is cosy from start to finish, and Fiddy is the cutest little protagonist on page. I’m on the look-out for a pair of rainbow pyjamas for Oscar and listening to Elizabeth narrate the story (on the CD) is very special.

The illustrations are gorgeous, made all the better for having seem a few of the originals at the Art Centre last month. You can see a small sample here at A&U’s website. I was quite amazed at how Elizabeth has managed to maintain a cheer and brightness on the page, even in the dark of night.

And then of course there is the music. The first time I listened to Goodnight My Little Darling with Oscar he went quiet and still. Even in the middle of the afternoon, Oscar seemed to respond to the lullaby. I’ll admit that it gave me goosebumps, at the sweetness of this lovely song. The tracks go on to be a mixture of calmness and funkiness. As is the case with most really enjoyable kids music, Sue’s compositions don’t ‘talk down’ to the kids. They’re jazzy and funky in their own right, not overly silly and performed with great talent.

The combination of a clever, super-cute story, fun and colourful illustrations and wonderful musical accompaniment, I’m Still Awake, Still! is the whole package. So very worth a look, particularly if you’ve got a little one who struggles a bit at bedtime.

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Tell us a (back)story?

As you already know, at the end of October, Oscar and I are packing our kit and spending the day at Rhymes Kids Music Festival.

Further, hopefully by now you’ve had a chance to have a look at this month’s give-away prize of a family pass (4 tix) to the festival, which will give you a big chance to come along too!

In amongst all this anticipation, I got to thinking…how does a festival like this one come about? What would motivate someone to put on an event like this one?

I’m so glad that they have, it’s a wonderful chance for kids and parents to experience something really special, but I would imagine that it’s a huge job, it’d have to be quite the labour of love.

I had a chance to quiz Tour Director, Adam Coward to find out just what has made this festival tick, and he’s also very kindly given us a few tips and tricks to get us through the day…phew! Thanks!


The most obvious question to start with, how did Rhymes come about? What’s the back-story?
As professionals in marketing and event management, and new parents, we began going to “kids shows” for the first time and began to realise that there were a lot of things we didn’t like:

  • The price for a 1 hour performance was quite high when you added up all of us going along (vs what the kids got out of it)
  • We found that seating just didn’t work and we spent most of our time trying to keep the kids in the seats or off the stairs
  • If we wanted to go with friends, we all had to book at the same time to get seats together, which didn’t suit everyone
  • There didn’t seem to be any room to actually dance.

We thought, there must be a better way, that allows us parents to enjoy the day and of course give our kids something to remember. From here, we started the business – found the venues, brought together the artists, and the rest started to grow from there.

Do you love music festivals yourself? Is that one of the reasons that this great idea has come about?
Absolutely, the larger music festivals are something you kind of give up as a couple once you have kids and as life just gets busier. Studying the acts, setting up the “day out” and all of the other things we loved to do – we wanted to enjoy doing these types of things as a family and have others do the same.

We often say, this is a music festival for adults who have kids just as much as it is a kids festival. The future for us is bringing more mainstream adult acts into the day but with a family focus to keep everyone’s attention spans!

How did the Townsville and Sydney festivals go? What where the highlights?
Townsville was our first outdoor event (as there are no indoor areas big enough to hold us) and in Townsville’s driest month, we some how managed to get rain! It was during Hi-5’s set and what was amazing was watching the crowd who stayed and danced away in the rain in true festival spirit! Before that, Justine Clarke’s was just amazing! With Lucas Proudfoot the surprise crowd favourite playing didgeridoo songs in between acts to keep the kids moving.

Sydney was 90% indoors so, no hassle with rain and the acts again were amazing and we really loved seeing the crowds using the entire space up across the 2 stages and the Springfree Trampoline zone, the Silent Disco and Magic Light show.

It’s a long day for little ones, will there be rest spots for tired bubs and weary grown-ups?

We’ve found it’s us parents that are the ones that have trouble keeping up! So there are plenty of spots for a rest like the cafe, the outdoor picnic tables, or you can even just get a pass out, go and grab your car and go for a quick drive home and come back if need be.

Do you have any tips for this little big day out?

We have a full page of tips at http://www.rhymesfestival.com.au/info-mel.html, but our top tips would be:
  • Bring a comfortable Picnic Rug – extremely important so you can easily set down anywhere you like and be comfy
  • Don’t go right up the front – you can get great views from the sides and towards the back with more room to dance (much like any festival)
  • Grab one of our kids ID wristbands where you can put your name and phone number in cast of any lost children
  • Bring some of your own snacks and food along – to keep costs down
  • Pack light – so you don’t have to lug lots of stuff around
  • Be flexible – there’s so many little things you can go and do, so, we suggest not camping down too much so you can experience everything available

Will this be an ongoing event?
Yes – it will be ongoing and we’ll change it up from year to year as it grows to cater for more or less people coming. We really need the big support in the first few years to get it off the ground, so, we’re hoping to see more families get on board leading into these last 30 days.


For more information about this exciting event, check out the Rhymes website here. Also, I’d love for you to enter our give-away, it’s super-easy to go into the running to win free tickets. Entries close 12.10.11.

If you’re in Brisbane, don’t forget to check for the tour’s Brisbane show, 22 January 2012.

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October give-away: Rhymes!

I can’t quite believe that another month has come around so quickly, but for give-away’s sake, I’m really glad. This month is a doozy!

A couple of weeks ago, I was carrying on about how happy Oscar and I were to get our tickets to the Rhymes Kids Music Festival – you can read all about it here.

Excitingly, I’ve got a family pass (4 tickets) to give away to a lucky reader! You need to be able to attend the Melbourne show at the Royal Showgrounds, 30 October 2011.

To go into the running to win, all you have to do is:

1. Visit www.rhymesfestival.com.au and check out the Melbourne line-up

2. Leave a comment on this post, or

3. Visit That Book You Like‘s Facebook page

…and tell us which performer you’d be most excited to see!

The winner of this month’s competition (selected at random) will receive 4 tickets to the Melbourne Rhymes Kids Music Festival.

Entries close Wednesday, 12 October 2011. The winner will have four days to claim their prize, or a redraw will be held.

This month’s give-away is made possible by the organisers of the Rhymes Festival. For full details about the event, and to buy tickets, visit their website here.

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Not much sleepin’ going on…

I know I’ve said it before, but I’ll say it again – I really love school holidays.

And this is why…it gives me time to hang out with my two favourite little people, and to help them create wonderful memories of an ever-so-slightly magical childhood.

Part of doing this is through simple things like trips to the movies, or a lunch with friends. Other times it’s a bit more adventurous, like last Friday’s trip into the city to see Still Awake Still! at the Art Centre, Melbourne.

We gave ourselves plenty of time, enjoying the train trip into Flinders Street and took our time weaving through the crowd of football supporters who were eagerly awaiting this year’s grand final parade. Ignoring grand final fever and the sea of blue, black and white, we wandered into the stunning, much quieter, Arts Centre.

After picking up our tickets (big thanks to Little Melbourne!), we paused for a little heavenly entertainment, courtesy of The Fallen Angels. They caught my eye and brought to mind Wings of Desire (another of my guilty 1990s pleasures). For Oscar, he just enjoyed the music and the Angels’ simple game of follow-the-leader around the foyer of the Kids at the Art Centre set-up.

This was followed by a little lunch in the last of the Melbourne sunshine, a browse through a display of original illustrations from the book on which this production was based, I’m Still Awake, Still, by Elizabeth Honey and Sue Johnson and a quick cruisy groove to some of the book’s lullabies.

And then (some ten-year olds might say ‘…finally’) the show itself: Still Awake Still!

It started off quietly, as you might expect, with Miss Tinklefinger working hard to put the theatre-full of rowdy kids to sleep. ‘The Queen of Sleep’ twinkled her fingers on the keyboard, sang and hummed soothingly but to no avail…

The audience wasn’t having a bar of sleepy-time, and told Miss Tinklefinger in no uncertain terms that her magic was most definitely not going to work on them! After this, it wasn’t long before things went just a little bit silly.

What looked to start with to be an impressively large grand piano, fit for many a lullaby, turned out to be a magical playground for two clownish imps and a cast of furry friends. Kids and parents alike laughed and giggled along with these whimsical boys. Miss Tinklefinger was a tougher nut to crack, and it took some time to get her to enjoy a little bit of creative chaos.

But when she did, the fun really began!

The music, the singing, the puppetry of this performance was fabulous, and both my boys loved it from start to finish. They were intrigued by the seemingly never-ending supply of silly props and dug the funky double bass. Oscar yelled loudly with the crowd, in true pantomime style “It’s behind you!!” which made me giggle under my breath.

And just when you would have been forgiven for thinking that peace and quiet, fit for sleep, was worlds away, Still Awake Still! offered a surprise. A wordless and haunting tune turned Miss Tinklefinger’s piano into a Jurassic garden, lit with blues and greens and spinning chrome. I LOVED IT! It was beautiful, soothing and a garden fit for a queen, of sleep.

...with Sue Johnson

The production, by Jump Leads, is inspired by the songs from the children’s book I’m Still Awake, Still! by Elizabeth Honey and Sue Johnson. I’m really looking forward to getting hold of a copy of the book and music. I’m thinking it might make for a nice gift for a little girl I know…

Thanks again to Little Melbourne for helping me get the boys to this show, I love your give-aways!

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Lots of wonderful little ideas

I really love today’s post, it’s just brim full of wonderful ideas…books, makings, and time for tea. Today’s Be My Guest is Jo from Little Melbourne, and she’s kindly shared with us some of her favourite things. Thanks so much Jo…

To Read | A few of our Favourite ‘sleepy time’ reads
Asking for one more story before bed is the oldest trick in the book. And you fall for it every time. Here’s what we’re reading:

The Green-Eyed Mouse and the Blue-Eyed Mouse, by Bob Gill
This sweet story centers around two timid mice, Noah and Rafaella, who meet each other for the first time by peering through a dark hole. Seeing only the other’s eyes, the mice guess that they belong to anything from an exotic animal to a snake to a traffic warden. Until, on the count of three, they face their fears and emerge to discover that they’re not so different after all.

The retro drawings, die-cut holes perfect for peeking, and clever colour-coded text make it an instant classic that teaches one of life’s most important lessons: You can’t judge a book by its cover.

Spot It! Find the Hidden Creatures, by Delphine Chedru
Following clues in the brief text, readers must search out the hidden creature in each spread, often disguised in clever and unexpected ways. The unique designs and concealed animals turn this book into a treasure hunt for clever young readers. Once grown-ups and kids begin the hunt, they won’t be able to resist finding all of the creatures!

Zoo, by Bruno Munari
Come and visit the animals in Bruno Munari’s zoo. The book is a visual delight, and the story witty and playful – exactly the sort of book to dive into with your little one.

Lost and Found, by Oliver Jeffers
Lost and Found is a simple tale about a boy and a penguin and their growing friendship. Jeffers jumps into a childs mind and thinks out each scenario with the depth and obsession of a child and this clever style engages with children instantly as they can see themselves in the boy.

Walk the Dog A Parade of Pooches from A to Z, by Bob Barner
This tail-wagging book features an alphabet of jumping, barking, playing dogs. From Airedales to Zwergpinschers, the 26 breeds gather to form one big, boisterous, barking pack. Bob Barner’s colourful collage illustrations and a bouncy, fun-to- read-aloud text make this book a playful introduction to man’s (and kid’s) best friend.

Press Here, by Herve Tullet
The single touch of a finger sparks a whimsical dance of colour and motion in this joyful celebration of the power of the imagination. Press here. That’s right. Just press the yellow dot…and turn the page.

To Create | Something to do at home to cure the boredom blues


1 cup of plaster of Paris
1/2 cup of cold water
Popsicle/Icypole Molds
Tempera Paint (powdered is best)

Combine Plaster of Paris, water and tempera paint. The amount of tempera you add will determine how dark the coloured chalk will be. Pour the mixture into candy or popsicle/icypole molds and let dry.

Take the chalk out of molds and use for drawing on the sidewalk. This chalk will be most effective right after taking out of the molds. You could also use a toilet paper roll and a little tip is to line your molds or rolls with wax paper to allow the chalk to slip easily out of the molds.

Let the fun begin!

To Eat | Eating and Reading….A Match made in heaven

Not too big, not too small, Teatime & Tales Cafe and Bookshop has a bit of everything: a cafe stocked with carbs, treats and caffeine, a loungy area with plenty of cushioned seating, activities on offer for little cooks and artists, and, of course, books galore. Little mini’s are kept entertained with toys and books, for Mums there are cushions for nursing and there’s even Wifi. A babies and kids menu is a given.

To Do | Celebrating Book Week at The National Sports Museum

Celebrate with the National Sports Museum and the MCC library with the theme One World, Many Stories – Books and the Hidden History of the MCG. Come along to a workshop, learn how to draw your own caricature and meet author-illustrator of The Invincible Bunyips, Paul Harvey each day at 11.00am, 11.30am, 1.00pm or 1.30pm. Here’s some more ideas to celebrate Children’s Book Week 2011.

To Visit | Closed Loop Cool Kids Day 28th August

The Closed Loop Cool Kids Day is open to all kids between the ages of 4 and 12. There will be loads of different activities running throughout the day to keep big and little kids busy, and keep mums and dads happy.

On the big stage they’ll be entertaining you with live performances.

Off stage, cool kids can have a crack at rock climbing on the Anaconda rock wall, meeting a snake (eeek!!!!) or a celebrity (oooh!!!), face-painting, pot planting, building, painting and crafts, loads of games and cool prizes.


Jo’s site Little Melbourne is another one of my favourites, as it’s a great place to find out about what’s on and happening in Melbourne for parents and their little ones.

The range of activities means there is a little something for everyone, and budget conscious suggestions are frequently included. If you’re keen to get the kids out of the house, have a browse on this great site.

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Who’s that guy?

My next Be My Guest buddy is Amanda from Rumble (Underground), and she’s put together something a little different for TBYL. I hope you enjoy her music review! Thanks Amanda…

Who’s this Adam Lambert guy?
I have to admit to being something of a music snob.  If you’d told me two years ago that I’d be listening to a pop singer from a reality show – I’d have been just a wee bit annoyed with you to say the least.

Yet here I am hanging off every note that Adam Lambert sings.  This is why:

I first heard Adam when he was on American Idol 2008.  Friends were raving about this guy – friends that shared similar taste in music to me.  So I gave him a go.  This performance was one that polarized the judges, but that showed me this guy was no cookie-cutter singer:

It was also a risky performance – taking a Johnny Cash song and performing this arrangement on a show that is watched by much of middle-America.  You can see from the clip that Randy Travis is having a hard time understanding Adam.

Adam was the first contestant to gain permission to perform a Led Zeppelin song on the show.  Apparently children of the band were watching the show and told their parents they had to let Adam sing “Whole Lotta Love”.  This version is from a one-off concert that Adam performed on 27th Februay 2010:

After Idol, Adam went on tour with the rest of the top 10 contestants from the show and while on the road, wrote, recorded and produced his first album,  For Your Entertainment.  Adam collaborated with several highly respected producers Greg Wells, Ryan Tedder, Max Martin, Sam Sparro, RedOne, Dr. Luke, and Linda Perry, among others and sang songs written by people such as Lady Gaga, Pink, Muse…

Once his album was released, Adam embarked on his headlining, virtually sold out world-wide “Glam Nation” tour.  The tour was a success not just because it was sold-out, but because it happened in an environment where bands like Scissor Sisters were cancelling shows due to lack of interest…

Adam has a background in musical theatre, has been lead singer in his own band and performed in avant-garde cabaret around Los Angeles.  This is one of his first performances in 2004 on “The Zodiac Show” where he sang the civil rights anthem:

Adam performed the same song six years later to the day on exactly the same stage during the penultimate performance of his Glam Nation Tour.  I was there to watch this performance and can honestly say, I’ve never been so moved by a performance in my life:

Adam is an amazing talent.  He is capable of singing a broad range of musical styles, gives a thoroughly professional, engaging and fabulous performance every time you see him on stage and is, from all accounts a delightful man.

Check out this Adam Lambert guy – he never fails to deliver the good music.


Amanda site, Rumble (Underground) is a platform for people who are geographically diverse, to share ideas, music and art. This is mainly done through the production of really interesting podcasts, featuring discussions with a variety of fascinating characters.

Thanks Amanda for joining in with this month’s fun!

A first with Faust

This opera thing looks like becoming a bit of a habit. I’m pretty sure that’s a good thing, and it certainly does seem to be a very cultured thing to do – I must becoming a bit more civilised in my old age. Further, there seems to be no shortage of performances in my neck of the woods, so I guess it’s all good.

Gounod’s Faust, by Melbourne Opera did seem to be a good first experience with a more traditional opera. You may remember that my first (and only other) opera experience was Victorian Opera’s How to Kill Your Husband – lots of fun, but I’d assume not exactly traditional. Faust on the other hand is a classic, a great traditional opera with a rich history of performance in Australia. This particular production was in fact performed to commemorate 150 years since the birth of Dame Nellie Melba, one of the greatest Marguerites of all time.

My good friend Roxy kindly made the arrangements for the evening, as part of her prolonged and delightful birthday celebrations. We began the evening with pleasant introductions to new friends and a quick drink and nibble at Collins Quarter, after which we eagerly made our way to the Athenaeum Theatre.

The storyline to Faust is dark, essentially involving a pact with the devil and compromised virtue. I’d imagine the opera could be interpreted very heavily. In this instance though, I wouldn’t say that the treatment was overly somber. In fact, in the earlier scenes it came across at times as quite operetta-like, most particularly when the chorus became involved. The stage was small, and full with costumed characters and colourful performances.

The second half of the show, scenes four and five became decidedly less frivolous, as the story moved away from romance and focused more squarely on corruption. It was a shame that there was a small technical issue, specifically, an organ malfunction (of all things) that took a little away from the intensity, but the actors picked the scene back up and regathered the audience quickly and without too much damage having been done. We all had a little giggle in the meantime.

Snuck a peak at the pit

The performances by David Rogers-Smith (Faust), Danielle Calder (Marguerite), Steven Gallop (Mephistopholes) and Phillip Calcagno (Valentin) were without exception impressive. I was particularly taken with Valentin (Calcagno) who, despite only making a couple of short appearances, came across as intensely passionate in his protection of his sister. His voice was spectacular. Mephistopholes (Gallop) was appropriately maniacal, his voice and his portrayal menacing, with just the right amount of charm to beguile. Margueritte (Calder) was endearing and her soprano quite superb (to my untrained ear at least).

Somewhat surprisingly, there were moments of humour in this opera, and it was entertaining throughout. Because I’m such a know-nothing about these things (at this stage anyway) I’m interested to see this production again, by another company, to see if it is always interpreted similarly or whether at times it is produced more dramatically by others.

Once again, a great night out (many thanks Roxy). If you’re interested, Faust is running until 26 June, and you can find details at Melbourne Opera’s website.

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