23 January 2011

Steve Poltz at Northcote Social Club + interview

Steve Poltz
Northcote Social Club
22 January 2010

The Steve Poltz concert at Northcote Social Club was the best value in Melbourne on a Saturday night. (Even though I was at the concert thus couldn't be anywhere else, I still maintain this view.) For $25, the audience received a fantastic music and comedy show that involved a lot of audience participation. Lots of fun.

The show opened with Kate Walker, a Melbourne singer. Her songs were romantic humourous and even a little politically incorrect. Kinda a folky jazz sound. She was a lot of fun. I spoke with her after the show and she is really lovely too.
Unlike the last Steve Poltz show I went to (January last year), there was no grand entrance by Steve. (Last year his show opened with a video of him asking punters at the Peats Ridge festival whether they knew of his music.) At Saturday's concert he came on stage telling stories about his unironed shirt, reading Paul Kelly's book, the bar brawl because of the Hawthorn beanie he wore in Geelong on the Bob Evans tour, the cricket ('so slow, like a Sofia Coppola film') and how he liked the movie Animal Kingdom, before he launched into song.

I sat on the floor the whole night. I love venues that allow this.
Steve Poltz is an extraordinary singer songwriter. He has a skill of telling stories from his past or imagination and making you feel like you are experiencing them with him. While his songs are lyrically intricate ('I killed Walther Mattaeu is a great example of this), it's also the banter in between that is entertaining. He's amazing.
One of the things I love is his use of the iPhone and recorded playback through the show. He did songs performed by the 'lady' who voices the iPhone text, played a very funny poem by his Dad, and records things into the microphone which are then played back to create the effect of more voices. These features are all additional instruments to complement his guitars.
He also has a big grin all through the show - one of the happiest singers I've ever seen. He really enjoys playing. And I love seeing enthusiastic singers!
He sings songs that are romantic, wistful, naughty, crude and downright silly. And he encourages the audience to get involved. During 'Handjob on a church bus' we did some actions - one of which Steve described as us giving an elephant's cock a handjob'. In the last song, 'Long haul', he wanted everyone to sing along and put our arms around each other. My friend had gone home by this time and so a stranger showed no reservations in putting his arms around me and the girl next to him. Awww, so friendly.

This also happened in the last song. Real audience participation!
A few songs earlier there was a nipple rub between him and Joel, an audience member. In the last song there was a bum rub. Everyone was in hysterics.

Steve also got someone up to sing with him in 'Dick's Automotive' - the guy was hilarious, switching between a high pitched and deep voice. And he was quite cute too. I spoke to him after the show and took this photo. His name is Tim. And he said I could put his picture on my blog.
Steve mentioned me once after 'Sewing Machine' (always amazing, theatrical and scary every time I see it). He said he had not forgotten about my interview questions I sent him. And that's on the recording of the show! I also asked for him to play a song, and here it is. My favourite :)

He looked at me for most of the song. And he said my name twice in the song. Squeee! Sorry the angle is a bit skew - I was mesmorised!

After the show I bought the recording of the night's performance, and a tshirt, and met him. He hugged me and we had a photo.
It was such a fun show and I laughed so hard throughout. I am seeing him again next Sunday too.

I was also lucky enough to score an email interview with him, as mentioned. Here it is!

Carly: This is my first proper rockstar interview. I am a bit nervous!

Steve Poltz:
Don't worry I'll be gentle

Carly: And I'm also a bit of a fan girl. I remember at a gig in 2009 you sang Ten Chances, and right after you sang 'cause I only had 10 chances to say I love you', you did a little guitar solo and the light shone on me, and you looked at me for a second, the crowd laughed and I melted. Now when I listen to the recording of the gig, I melt again each time. Maybe that's not how it happened but it is in my mind! Do you have a following of fangirls like me? Who do you become a fangirl (boy) over?

Steve Poltz:
No you're my only fangirl, I need one of you in every city, can I clone you? Paul Kelly

What gives you more satisfaction? Writing a serious song like Everything About You? Or silly and fun songs like Sugar Booger?
Steve Poltz: They move have their merits, this is meritocracy. We must let our freak flags fly

Carly: I think you are the Roald Dahl of songwriting. You're a real story teller, with songs filled with whimsy, personal experience and imaginative scenes. Some of your songs are like lists with beats. Others are yarns that draw the listener in, like story time at kindergarten. How do you keep your ideas fresh?

Steve Poltz: I wear fresh socks & underwear & I only sleep in 800 thread count sheets & I have several pug dogs that sleep at my feet like Chinese royalty used to have, that way I can wake up fresh & conquer the world.

Carly: I read your blog. You're a great writer. Do you only write songs or are you published elsewhere

Steve Poltz: I just write songs, but I keep threatening to write a book.

Carly: You live in San Diego, California. You come to Australia a lot. What keeps on bringing you back?

Steve Poltz: The 12 illegitimate children that I have over here. I'm wanted in the United States for murder, I can't actually go back.

Carly: What Australian musicians do you like?

Steve Poltz: Paul Kelly, Malcolm Clarke, The Chemist, Kate Walker, Dog Trumpet, Dead Letter Chorus.

Carly: You have 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?

Steve Poltz: Big difference! I love it. Now I am able to connect with people directly.
Carly: I got my Dad listening to your music. I bought him your Traveling CD for Father's Day one year. Now we have a few more modern day artists in common. Who do you + your dad listen to?
Steve Poltz: Bob Dylan.

I would be honoured if you could write a verse using three of my favourite words, please: Carly. Panda. Cheese. Sportsgirl.

Steve Poltz:
That's four words. Ummmm.
Ain't no cheese for a Sportsgirl unless her spotlight Carlifies dimensions of ubiquity.

Thanks so much for your time Steve, much appreciated, and I had many laughs.

01 You Remind Me
02 Dreamhouse
03 I Pray That It Never Comes to This
04 The Great Mystery
05 Safe Sex Tonight
06 Killing Myself (to be with you)
07 Spirit Hands
08 Joe Poltz
09 I Killed Walter Mathieu
10 Chinese Checkers
11 She Moved Through the Fair
12 An Ode to Paul Cashmere
13 Sewing Machine
14 Wash the Sins Off My Plate
15 Stax
16 Thirteen
17 Once Again
18 Every Hour Every Day
19 Medical Career
20 Handjob on a Churchbus
21 10 Chances
22 A Serbian Girl
23 Dicks Automotive
24 Rubbed Nipples
25 Long Haul

PS: Steve linked to this review and interview on his blog!


  1. So you're the lucky one who got to interview him! I'm so envious. Great photos and a great story, too. You're spot on about the best value for $25.00 - that's what I have been telling everyone all day. My brothers declined to go, even though I offered to pay for their tickets. Their loss. I'm definitely linking to you blog if that's okay. Cheers.

  2. Hi girl...
    Love the question about new social media...

    Have a great day girl:)

  3. Awesomness!
    Bosnia, Bosnia, Bosnia....

  4. Hey good work!!

    Steve was amazing!!

    One of the best shows I have ever been to. You even had a song sung to you,

    Great night, argh cant wait till he comes again


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