A cold and rainy Friday Autumnal eve in Melbourne, can mean lazing about on the couch, and staying indoors by the heater, but those keen music fans who ventured out to The Corner in Richmond were in for a surprise.
A giant foil tray with what appears to be cling wrap around it, hides the support act. As the trio inside pull apart the film, they reveal some impressive costumes, for they are The Burnt Sausages and look like giant sausages too.
SNAGZ on lead vocals is entertaining the throng with her frenetic dance moves, sausage head gear and some operatic vocal gymnastics. Tina Tongs on keys, and back up vocals and Johnny Charcoal on guitar complete the sizzlin trio belting out BBQ punk ditties to heat the charcoal in our grumpy souls. SNAGZ sings, a “Ballad About Salad,” a “Song about Sauce” and “Burnt Sausages (Raw on the Inside)” whilst flinging small BBQ shapes packets and plastic balls into the crowd to represent the “Altercation at the Kid’s Table.” Punters laugh heartily at their puns, songs and sausage danceathon and SNAGZ closes their set by saying “You’ve been a smokin hot audience. Shank -you !”
Around 11pm folk troubadour, Darren Hanlon , holding his trusty banjo, kicks off his set with “Check the Future.” His affable and down to earth nature ensures the hecklers are ready. “Are you using any props?” screams out one wisecracking punter. “Yes. A drummer” retorts Hanlon, without skipping a beat. Hanlon is at home on stage and regales us with humorous anecdotes and stories. “I didn’t write a set list. Nothing challenging, just the meat and potatoes.”
Hanlon had recorded his latest album Where Did You Come From? in Mississipi, Alabama and the Southern States in the USA, and whilst recently on holiday at his folks farm in Gympie, Queensland, he could hear his mother announce on the phone, that he had been recording in “South America.”
For “Hiccups” Hanlon is joined by longtime drummer Stephanie Hughes and new double bassist Lyndon Blue. Old favourite “Happiness is a Chemical” incites cheers and singing from the crowd. Hughes has helped Hanlon with fashion styling tonight, but Hanlon confesses he hasn’t worn an undone shirt with a T-shirt underneath since he was twelve. The camaraderie between Hughes and Hanlon allows for humorous banter back and forth and creates a comfortable atmosphere at the intimate confines of the Corner.
Hanlon recorded his album at the legendary FAME studios, in Muscle Shoals Alabama, and had Spooner Oldham (Aretha Franklin’s organist) play keyboards on one of his songs. Hanlon was intimidated at first, but Oldham broke the ice by saying “Did anyone ever tell you, you look a bit like the gladiator?”
“Punks Not Dead,” new release “Halley’s Comet, 1986” and “Elbows” about brushing elbows with a famous actress are lapped up by the throng. Hanlon is then joined by an audience member sporting a Darren Hanlon T-Shirt who looks a little like Tony Abbott, to assist with vocal duties on special request “Beta Losers.” As he leaves the stage, a group of punters chant “Tony, Tony, Tony.” While comedy fans are checking out comedians as part of the Melbourne International Comedy Festival at the Town Hall and its surrounds, music fans are enjoying comedy and music at the the same show at the Corner Hotel. A double whammy at half the price.
“The Chattanooga Shoot Shoot” tells of Hanlon’s terrifying bus journey from Alabama to Nashville, and the first encore is “All These Things”, followed by “Modern History” and later a solo rendition of Human League’s “Electric Dreams” which sees the audience sing a long in unison.
Hanlon is a master story teller and wordsmith. He took us on a musical journey to his inner world, the Southern States of America and the wonder of daily life and made all punters laugh in the process, happy that they’d left the comfort of their couches to see some live music at the Corner.