Sunday, November 12, 2006

Feasting On Flesh, And The Lovely Inga Liljestrom

Here is my Drum Media review of Feasting on Flesh.

But first - my interview with Inga Liljestrom? Flawed, but perfect (flawed thanks to me and my garbled questions). By weird coincidence it turns out she spends her Saturdays working in a shop right across the road from mine. She's a full time, very successful musician but has this part time job in a button shop because it has a gorgeous and magical atmosphere, "like stepping into Amelie". She was so lovely to talk to, the story has turned out really well, and I arrived back home to a message on my machine from her thanking me for talking to her (seriously, pleasure was all mine) and inviting me along to her show next week. Some people are just good, good people. Her new album, Quiet Music For Quiet People, is really quite an experience. I have a stack of CDs that I play only when writing, and Quiet Music is definitely in there. I'll post the story after it's come out in Drum. I'm really very happy with it and totally looking forward to the show and maybe meeting Inga (pictured).

If you're a fan of Gotye and/or burlesque, see Feasting On Flesh too. This review is frustratingly short, but hopefully it captures the essence of the show.


Call me shallow, but the title caught my eye immediately. Then the poster with its manic huddle of scantily clad burlesque performers. Scanning to the writing credits, however, I couldn’t believe it – Stephen Sewell, Eddie Perfect and DH Lawrence, among others. What was going on here? But it got even better at seeing “Gotye live.” Even if I wasn’t a freeloading theatre hack, I was not going to miss this one.

Having discovered the brooding genius of Gotye’s Boardface when it was released a couple of years ago, I’d never really considered what he would be like live, simply accepting that he was a multi-talented whizz in the recording studio, but I have to say that his performance alone was worth the ticket price (if I wasn’t a freeloading theatre hack, this is where my money would go). Boardface has been one of my favourite albums of the last couple of years, and Wally De Backer (AKA Gotye) conjured its noirish moodiness along with his new material with an easy passion that raised goosebumps at times. Drums, piano, little tiny string thing or percussive pots and pans, he was brilliant. He also did a couple of stirring upbeat numbers. His comical interlude in which – in character as a Nordic Doctor - he talked about the flavour of semen was, like so much of the show, bizarre, unexpected and bloody funny.

As for the burlesque performances by Billie Brown, Candy Bowers, Gypsy Wood, Mark Winmill and Tom Flanagan... I really wasn’t sure a food themed burlesque show was the best accompaniment to Gotye’s music, but somehow they made it work. There really was a feast of flesh. I think mine is the only real-life willy I’ve seen as an adult and as a result I’ve never fully appreciated what a silly little thing it is... willies generally, I mean. The naked elegance of Gypsy Wood, on the other hand... yum. Squished tomatoes never looked so good.

Oh, right, being shallow again. As well as a fair amount of flesh, there were silly songs about food, funny acrobatics involving food, sensual dancing, a hammy knife throwing routine and a dazzling aerial trapeze dance and many more unexpected delights.

And there was Gotye live.

At The Studio, Sydney Opera House until 18 November.

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