Monday, May 09, 2011

The Tragic Troubadours at the 2011 Australian National Folk Festival

With some time to reflect on the Tragic Troubadours at the National Folk Festival I think it was our best gig yet, despite freezing temperatures we performed nightly for two hours to the lines that formed outside the Majestic and on Saturday night to a crowd inside the venue who wanted blood.

We had a diverse group of interesting poems between the four of us, Skip with minimalist Mafiosi, Josh with comic serial killers, Bela with homicidal Muppet and Bogan love poems, me with my surrealist alcoholic words, and we had an especially animal filled Gorilla play written by Bela which was a great group piece that got an awesome crowd response.

Hinging who delivered their piece based on the choice of concept by one person in the line worked well as many people got excited about choosing with others in the crowd attempting to jump in with their choice. The crowds favoured the mafia some nights, love poems, alcoholics and serial killers others and the play got a good workout.

We did not costume for the gig outside the tent and while a few people have advised we should I enjoyed the aspect of coming out of the crowd looking like Folkie punters, delivering our act to a chunk of the line then vanishing back into the milieu, this also worked well with some people thinking it was our attempt to cut-in on the line and so giving us a go before deciding to let us in or not while others even stayed outside the venue letting others go ahead so they could hear out our performance of the Richard play. We also had two girls come and find us so they could return the entertainment by performing a song for us.
Bela, Skip and Andrew
The act on the Majestic main-stage also worked well, the crowd was only there for faux gypsy band the Askew Wing of Milo* and so when Bela charged the stage to heckle with love poems shortly after we started a Richard play to a bemused crowd people didn’t know if they wanted to support him in his attack on us or beat him up. He had blended into the crowd dressed in his Aussie, Aussie, Oi, Oi sombrero and wife beater during the band we were due to follow, where he looked totally out of place groovin’, and interrupted our play at two crucial points with examples of a love poem and love advice. The crowd ended up divided between those who supported his impromptu crashing of our play and those who wanted to hear the play. No doubt people cottoned on to what was occurring as how does a heckler get a microphone? But it happened fast enough that probably not many put it together as the act was happening.

Thanks to the Majestic at the National Folk Festival for having the Tragic Troubadours, the venue rocked with Gypsy, Circus and Spoken Word goodness.

*We actually performed between the Crooked Fiddle Band and Flap, both awesome bands; I just think there is room in the Universe for a faux gypsy band called the Askew Wing of Milo.

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