For the uninitiated, Tripod are an Australian 3-piece band who compose and perform ‘comedy’ songs. Probably their biggest claim to fame is the Tripod Song In An Hour segment they used to do on Breakfast with Adam & Wil on Triple J. The hosts used to come up with a series of (unrelated) topics that the boys from Tripod then had to make a song about in one hour, and perform it at the end. The always managed to pull through and usually the songs were quite amusing. Jaq and I received some free tickets to see their live act Self Saucing Tripod, part of the Adelaide Cabaret _(Cabarette) _Festival., and went and saw them on their last performance, last Thursday night. Our seats were either excellent or woeful, we thought as we went into the Dunstan Playhouse: right up the front on Table 4. We managed to get there early, were first into the place, just to make sure we had the seats facing the stage, not with out backs to it. Lucky we did so, as the people in second place were the others on our table… Being right up the front was actually great! You could see the boys in great detail, and we didn’t get picked on at all. The only qualm I would say I had was that it wasn’t really possible to see more than one of the trio at a time - we were so close we needed to turn our heads (slightly) to see the others. Apparently Tripod have quite a following - lots of the girls audience were wearing t-shirts, and I’m sure they sold a lot more in the foyer afterwards.
We like your aura. We hope you’ll see us outside afterwards and by a T-Shirt. Or a CD. Or a T-Shirt and a CD. Or a…
Having only heard them on the radio (and only a few times, to be honest. I listen to Classic FM, not the Youth Network…), and seen one song on Video Hits - which they played incidentally - I sort-of knew what to expect, but I didn’t realise just how talented they were. Ignoring the fact they are comedians, they are fine musicians. Three part harmony, better ‘beat-box’ than Joel Turner and the Modern Day Poets, a talented guitar player (and another one who is alright…), and a trumpeter. Many of their songs start with lovely guitar playing, layered vocal harmonies, and kicker jokes. Which brings me to the biggest beef I had. I understand that many of the songs are designed to be interrupted, but it seemed to me that they only had two songs of any reasonable length. I wonder if writing biting social and political satire into songs is just so damn hard that they cannot do it for more than a couple of measures at a time. Do they run out of material, or is it a conscious decision to fit more songs into the show? Don’t get me wrong, I was not unhappy at all as I left the theatre, but it left me wondering: what would real songs from them sound like? They made a joke that the only reason they were still around today was:
Scod:Because of a rich aunt. Who used to pump money into the act, and asked for nothing in return.
Yon:Except that I had to go around there every weekend and smear vegemite on her …
Scod & Gatesy:Aaargh!
Yon:And then I fucked her.
I wonder if that was true. Not necessarily about fucking the aunt, but if they would have made it as a real _band. Their two songs that went on for a longer time were both pure genius. One of them you may have heard: Make You Happy (The Xbox Song) is a sweet, balladic song about a guy and how much he loves his girl, and he’ll come to bed as soon as he finishes the next level. I think lots of people know how both characters in this song feel. The other one was, I thought, even better. The Hotdog Man is a happy (Frente-like?) song about aHotdog man, and how he loves his job, his customers and his family, but leads onto his darker side. I’ll not go into any more detail, like many comedy songs, listening to it the first time is the best. Which leads me onto another thing. Hearing many of these songs the first time is great, but they tend to have a short shelf-life. I can still listen to older music, over and over again. I don’t know that I’ll ever tire of Beethoven’s _Moonlight Sonata, or Paul Kelly’s From St. Kilda To Kings Cross, but shorter comedic works are a bit less lasting. (Pardon the pun). It will be interesting to see where Tripod are in ten years, and if anyone listens to their music. Regards, f you get the chance, run, don’t walk to see them. As comedic bands go, they are without peer. Except for maybe Kevin Bloody Wilson.