The Spooky Men’s Chorale is set to create a ‘haunting ‘ experience – in the nicest possible way – with a mini suite of concerts to celebrate its 18th year.
The ‘Spookies’ are taking a good, hard look at themselves in the (very wide) mirror and it’s a little hard to tell whether they like what they see. After all, it’s been 18 years of being the thinking person’s mancrumpet – musically speaking – and part of the skill-set is inscrutability. Or is it blithering incomprehensibility? So, yes, the hats are there, the sphinx-like vastness, the facial crevices, the beard topiary…But is that crumbling decrepitude they are revealing or a magnificent descent into the vast bittersweetness of knowing this life for what it is?
These questions are more than appropriate, because the Spooky Men have just recorded their seventh album, Welcome to the Second Half. It’s a collection which explores yet more corners of the great spooky room, including baggage carousels at the airport, the fine art of building pyramids, and – more poignantly – what it’s like to be closer to the end than to the start. Whether they will stop before they are done, or whether they are done before they stop, the musical exploration of all this unknowingness will be, as always, a very great pleasure. Sit back and enjoy the ride!
Armed only with their voices, The Spooky Men’s Chorale commentates on the absurdity and grandeur of the modern male. Sometimes mighty, sometimes foolish, sometimes blissfully tender-hearted, the Spooky Men strike a deeply human chord.
Formed in the Blue Mountains of NSW in 2001 by Christchurch-born spookmeister Stephen Taberner, the Spooky Men soon attracted attention with a judicious combination of Georgian table songs, pindrop beautiful ballads, highly inappropriate covers, and immaculate man anthems like “Don’t Stand Between a Man and his Tool”, and “We Are Not a Men’s Group” – all of which amounted to a manifesto for the new breed of man: happily suspended between thug and wimp.
Since their debut at the National Folk Festival in Canberra in 2004, they’ve made nearly 100 appearances including WOMAD, Woodford, Port Fairy, Blue Mountain and Sydney festivals, plus tours to the UK and Europe and multiple ABC-TV appearances. They have recorded seven CDs: Tooled Up (2004), Stop Scratching It (2007), Deep (2009), Big (2011), The Spooky Man in History (2013), Warm (2015) and their latest, which they’ll ransack for good songs at the concert. Welcome to the Second Half (2019) they say, will explore some deeper things
but also deliver a good deal of silliness – which can never be fully eradicated.
“You may find the beauty and thoughtfulness balanced out by the fact it’s being sung by a bunch of idiots. Nice idiots.”
Tickets: Full $49 / Concession $39 / Student $25 / Under 16 $20 / Groups 10+ $39
Bookings: www.seymourcentre.com or 9351 7940
Newcastle performance: Friday 31 May 7.30pm/ Civic Theatre, Wheeler Place, Newcastle
Tickets: Adult $49 / Concession $39 / Student $25 /
Junior (2-16) $15 /Group 10+ $39
Bookings: www.ticketek.com.au or 4929 1977