For the purposes of MICF 2015, from 1989 to 2004, Casey Bennetto (writer of the musical Keating!) and Alan Brough (ABC’s Spicks and Specks) gigged as The Narelles. This reunion show gives the band a chance to show off the diversity of their musical endeavours.
The duo show a talent for writing original songs that recreate the sound and mood of musical icons and styles. From guitar jangle channelling Joy Division and indiscriminate Punk rebellion, The Narelles reveal their influences with the solemnity one would expect of the (self-) serious artiste. The audience were regaled with tunes capturing the tumultuous times of striving for a big break, and the consequences of its arrival.
Bennetto and Brough capably shared duties with electric guitar and bass, and Bennetto in particular gets the importance of posturing to a rock gig. And it feels much more like a gig than the comedic musical performances I’ve enjoyed from the Kransky Sisters, Dead Cat Bounce and Die Roten Punkte. At this point, The Narelles aren’t ready to be on the bill with those acts, especially at their ticket price.
My highlights included Bennetto’s riffing on Neil Finn, and a Bad Seeds-inspired warning of why one shouldn’t mess with Nick Cave, as these achieved the most harmonious blending of music and comedy.
There’s a late subplot on how differently Brough and Bennetto see the reality of The Narelles, which, if further developed, might take this show beyond the limited humour of recognising stereotypes. However, when actively trying to fake it, their authenticity as a band can’t be faulted.
Needing little encouragement for an encore, The Narelles served up their most rousing song Sex Tape. This example of big dumb rock n’ roll was a more natural fit for comedic excesses, ending the gig on a high. Currently more of a Fringe show, The Narelles might strike a chord with the music nerd in your life.
Alan Brough & Casey Bennetto – The Narelles
The New Ballroom – Trades Hall, Corner Lygon & Victoria Streets, Melbourne
Performance: Friday 3 April 2015 – 8.15pm
Season continues to 19 April 2015 (no show Mondays)
Bookings: 1300 660 013 or online at: www.ticketmaster.com.au
For more information, visit: www.comedyfestival.com.au for details.
Image: Alan Brough and Casey Bennetto (supplied)
Review: Jason Whyte