Q&A Scene: Emma Peel – Spiegel Rock

Tell us about Spiegel Rock?
Spiegel Rock is music, glamour, circus and sparkles – in that order. It’s an event we’re putting on at the Melba Spiegeltent (the one next door to the Tote) on Saturday 18 February. To set the scene, you need to close your eyes and imagine the Spiegeltent covered in glitter. Now add three rock’n’roll bands, a jazz singer, a trapeze artist, circus performances and a ringleader, and turn the volume up to 11. There you have it – that’s Spiegel Rock. We’ve got some great acts lined up for it, too.

Headlining is Dan Kelly’s Dream Band. They don’t perform very often, so it’s a real treat. They’re a six-piece, widescreen psychedelic party with ultra-narrative lyrics, dancing and gravity defying hair styles. They feature members of Augie March, Ground Components, CW Stoneking’s touring band and the Magic Mountain Band. Joining them are My Left Boot – a group that’ve been busting out full-bore, 70’s inspired fuzz-rock and psychedelia for more than 10 years. They’re sounding better than ever. Plus they’re probably going to be the loudest act that’s ever played in the Spiegeltent.

We’ve also got the Danny Walsh Banned – a six piece blues-swampin’, southern rockin’ machine with a live show that’s reminiscent of Joe Cocker’s Mad Dogs and Englishmen Tour. They’re crazy. Crazy good, I mean. Speaking of which – and this is what makes it really special – there’ll be circus acts happening while the bands are playing. Internationally acclaimed performer, Anna Lumb, will be flying across the tent on the trapeze and twirling hoops. She’s performed with Peaches in Melbourne and London, and has featured in world famous variety shows La Soiree, New York’s Absinthe, Finucane and Smith’s The Burlesque Hour to name a few.
Our jazz chanteuse, Clare St Clare, has a similarly stunning track record. She’s sung her way around the world as part of countless Finucane and Smith productions.
And finally, there’ll be yours truly – Emma Peel – trying to hold everything together as MC/Ringmaster. It should be bedazzling.

What, or who, inspires you?
I’m inspired by the craft aisle in Spotlight. Especially their range of fake diamantes and pipe-cleaners. I’m thinking of buying up big so I can be prepared for the 18th of February. I’m also inspired by tinsel, my co-curator (and my husband) Danny Walsh who has an incredibly sunny disposition, and glitter cannons. I love them. Actually, all of the items I’ve mentioned above go really well when put together.

Which song do you wish you wrote?
I’ve never written a song, so I’d be happy to put my name to just about anything. Ok – that’s not strictly true on both counts. Actually I co-wrote a song with Danny last year for the Reservoir Stomp – the Ode to Reservoir. It went viral after we performed it on Radio National. I guess that’s not bad as a first effort. But if I could have even just a glint of Dan Kelly’s songwriting wizardry, I’d be a very happy lady. Every track on his latest album, Leisure Panic, is heavenly. I’ve been listening to it flat stick since it was released and I’m not tired of it yet. I doubt I ever will be.

What do you love about curating events?
What’s not to love? Actually, I take that back – there’s some pretty annoying things about curating events, but for the most part it’s bloody fabulous. By curating an event you are responsible for creating the vibe and the feeling around it. You’re responsible for people having a good time – the bands involved as well as the audience. It’s high-stakes stuff, but I get a kick out of it. I figure that if I inject love and passion into something, it’s likely to rub off. This was certainly the case with the Reservoir Stomp, so I hope Spiegel Rock will be the same.
I also love curating events with Danny because, like I said before, he has an eternally optimistic demeanor. More than this, though, but he brings different strengths to the table – particularly when it comes to tech, audio and logistics. He’s good at that. I am too, don’t get me wrong, but I have a short attention span with it. I’m more the marketing and comms chick.

How would you describe Spiegel Rock in food form and why?
If I could describe Spiegel Rock in food form, I’d say it was the castle cake in the Australian Women’s Weekly Children’s Birthday Cake Book. If you don’t know what I’m talking about it, google it. If you were lucky enough to have it made for you by your mum on your birthday, well done. This cake perfectly sums up Spiegel Rock because first of all, it kind of looks like a Spiegeltent. Secondly, when you get down to the ingredients, you’ve got the classic butter cake – nice and solid, just like the riffs the bands are going to be churning out on February 18th. Then you’ve got the licorice allsorts, jubes and smarties – an exciting and fancy finishing touch, just like the circus and jazz performances we’ve got in store for you.

What’s your scene?
I don’t get tied down by scenes – I tend to flit about – but right now my scene is sitting out on the deck in solitude, enjoying the warm evening breeze and working on my latest macramé pot hanger. It’s electric blue. And it’s my best one yet.

About Spiegel Rock

Imagine the Melba Spiegeltent covered in glitter. Now add three rock ‘n’ roll bands, a jazz singer, a trapeze artist, circus acts and a ringmaster. Turn the volume up to 11 and you’ve got a pretty good idea what Spiegel Rock is about: Music. Glamour. Circus. Sparkles – In that order.

Brought to you by the team that presented 2016’s sell-out Reservoir Stomp, Spiegel Rock will set the scene for live collaboration between rock bands and circus performers on Sat 18th Feb under the roof of the historic Melba Spiegeltent in Johnston Street, Collingwood (right next to the Tote). It’ll be spontaneous, it’ll be bedazzling, and it’ll be wild. In fact, it might just be the wildest thing that’s ever happened inside its mirrored walls.

The Melba Spiegeltent has had a rich history – built in Belgium in 1910 (originally called The Bacaladera), it travelled across Europe and hosted numerous legends including France’s national chanteuse, Edith Piaf. In 2006 it migrated to Australia. On Saturday 18 February, the Spiegeltent will throw open its beveled doors and let the music rattle its stain-glass windows and shake its wooden joinery to the core.

Saturday 18 February
Spiegel Rock
The Melba Spiegeltent
35 Johnston St Collingwood

About Mandy Hall 838 Articles
Mandy is a music photographer & writer. She runs Mandy Hall Media, which includes Photography, Social Media marketing, PR & Graphic Design for the music industry. She is also a web developer - she created and supports this website.

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