15 August 2010

The Basement Birds at the Forum

Filming didn't go ahead as scheduled yesterday because of the weather. But last night was the Basement Birds gig. The night sky was heavy with clouds and it was icy, but my rainy, windy and slightly disappointing day had a silver lining :)

For the uninitiated, the Basement Birds are Australia's limited edition supergroup, comprising Kav Temperley from Eskimo Joe, Kevin Mitchell from Jebediah and also known as Bob Evans, Josh Pyke and Steve Parkin who used to play with Bob Evans. I've been a fan of he former three musicians for many years so it was an honour meeting them and seeing them live.

My ticket included the concert, a soundcheck, tshirt and meet+greet. Not bad for $90.

The tshirt is very cool – it is always nice to get an arty tshirt, and not a lazy one with just the album cover printed on the front.

The soundcheck was more of a very intimate acoustic couple of songs. It was in the smallest room I've ever experienced seeing a band in. So small that I was too close to get the full band in my photo (a nice problem to have!).

Before they played two songs (Waiting for you and Ghosts), Kevin said that Steve likes a bit of Q&A.They called for questions. And I actually had two questions prepared – I wanted to dabble in music journalism last night. I asked them one question in front of the other VIPs at the meet and greet. I was a bit nervous.

Because of your other musical commitments, The Basement Birds are a (sadly) fleeting band. I see you as a bit of a modern day barbershop quartet. Is there a chance that when you're all in your 60s we will see you appearing in barbershops across the country doo-wopping away?

They laughed at this question and answered it with lots of humour. I wasn't able to record thei answer but here is a summary.

Kav said the Basement Birds are setting them up for retirement, and they can perform like this when they are young and handsome. Josh said their next album will be called 'Superannuation'. Kav said he saw a barbershop quartet on TV before Friday night's gig and thought that could be the Basement Birds someday! They also did a bit of a do-wop at the end of Waiting for you.

After the performance, we queued to meet them and have photos taken and stuff signed. As my Basement Birds CD is already signed, I took in my Bob Evans and Eskimo Joe CD covers and told them to all sign them. Kav said it's the first time he'd signed a Bob Evans CD. They also signed my ticket.

They also asked me what my other question was. So I asked them this:

You have all been around playing music for a while. You currently have a huge social media presence - blogging, Twitter and Facebook. How has this made a difference to the promotion of your music compared to before social media was huge?

The question wasn't really answered, but they did nod at the mention of the social media stuff. There was a discussion of the age of their respective bands and I said Jebediah were too out there for me back in '97 as I was listening to Savage Garden. Kevin laughed and agreed Jebediah were far more out there than Savage Garden.

I was so honoured Kevin remembered my name, too.

Thee pics were taken – an attempt to be tough, where Kevin laughed, a Blue Steel one, and me with the band. They were all so nice. It was a great opportunity.

Tough one. Except for Kevin's dimples,
The Blue Steele one.
And the one with me. Sigh.

The stage had vertical rows of kite like birds. They looked cool in different colours of stage lighting.

I met an old friend there who I met back in 2006 at a Bob Evans gig at the East Brunswick Club. I made a new friend, Stephanie, and met a friend I've been talking to for a year on Twitter and Facebook – we 'met' due to Bob Evans tweets, and also share a love for Rush. Clare has an awesome blog about Art Attack.

The Sun Orchestra played first. They were folky and melodic. The singer then went on to play keyboard and lapstrings in the Basement Birds. I liked them but I need to listen to more of their music to get a proper feel.

Then Old Man River came on. I'd seen them a few years back at The Sleepy Jackson, but don't remember much. The band was so joyful last night – it was a great set. I'm going to be following more Old Man River from now on.

And then the Basement Birds. Wow. It really struck me how distinctive their voices are. Kav's is beautifully husky. Josh sings with Australian strine – I love how his accent shines through. Kevin sounds like Bob Evans but every so often I think 'this song sounds like Jebediah'. And it was brilliant to hear Steve Parkin sing for the first time. Together they are harmonious, melodic and funny.

They played most Basement Birds songs, plus covers of Sarah Blasko and The Presets. My favourites were Holly, Bus stop and Waiting for you.

During Bus Stop, which usually features Julia Stone, four girls from the audience got up to sing 'never been that good with numbers'. They were so cute, it was a great opportunity for them. I talked to two of them afterward – of course they said it was amazing! Thinking back now, I would have gotten up there too, but I didn't hesitate due to potential embarrassment, but for the fear of climbing over the barrier!
Sorry for the quality of the pictures - it's so hard with the smoke machine, lack of flash and movement.

Thank you Basement Birds for coming together - I really hope this project will continue for a bit longer, or that we'll see you 'round as a barbershop quartet.


  1. Haven't read the whole thing yet, but just wanted to say, Kevin can't look tough. He's too adorable! haha :P
    was nice to meet you

  2. Great review Carly,
    Saw them at the Astor on the 13th, have to agree with your comments on the music side, wasn't quick enough for the VIP tickets *sigh* as we were moving from Canberra to Perth when the pre-sale tix went on their site.
    Am jealous!

  3. Oh I wish I could have been there with you! These guys are so great, by themselves and together as a band. I loved Jebediah back in the day Carly, they were never too out there for me haha. Shame kev didn't sing his cover of lily allens it's not fair! I love that. And Josh did a great Like A Version of Under The Milky Way actually speaking of great covers.

    They really do sound like a modern day barbershop quartet too. I could see them doing Homer and the crews (the B Sharps) Baby On Board haha. Speaking of which I think Jebediahs band name came from the Simpsons actually! Jebediah Springfield lol.

    Oh and I'd like to see my Wes play a set with these guys, he has collaborated and knows them all except Steve (that I'm aware of anyway). That would be my idea of a fun show!

    Glad u had a good time Carly.

    Love Lucy

  4. You are way cooler than me as I have to admit I had never heard of the Basement Birds until right now. But I am a fan of all the boys so I am about to have a listen and see what I think - Yay, I love new music.


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