Even if you somehow have not heard of the internationally acclaimed Australian trio The Basics, you would have definitely heard of one of their band members – Wally De Backer (aka Gotye). Playing a special set for Melbourne Festival to celebrate the launch of their first studio album in six years —The Age Of Entitlement — Wally is joined by fellow band mates (and excellent musicians) Tim Heath and Kris Schroeder. Not satisfied with the traditional stage, The Basics have setup in the middle of the Melbourne Festival popup theatre for a 360° ‘in-the-round’ performance. Having no front of the stage meant half the crowd sat on the ground relaxing while the other half formed a informal standing room only area.
My plus one and I arrived on the night to the excellent pop-up venue, complete with interactive Twitter feed waterfall (you have to see it to get it). We happily munched away on the tasty Mexican food at Mesa Verde’s food stall and grabbed a beer while we waited for the doors to open. Special guest Benny Walker warm up the night nicely, although as a one-piece act he was slightly dwarfed by the central stage. My plus one and I hadn’t heard of him before, though the crowd loved his relaxed style. His style was different enough from The Basics to really complement them rather than blend in.
Finally the band of the hour was on and strutted proudly through the crowd, in full suit and tie, onto their central podium. Their choice of songs seemed very improvised on the night, mixing styles and genres on the fly. At one stage they asked if anyone had brought sheet music to play and some piano notation of David Bowie’s classic tune ‘As the world falls down’ from The Labyrinth was thrust upon them. The cover was excellent and very unexpected – we will be looking out for a YouTube clip of it.
The Basics show felt quite unrehearsed and was more like a bunch of mates jamming in their rehearsal room than a polished performance, though this wasn’t a bad thing and made for lots of laughs. The Basics are most likely not going to be playing that many live shows in the future now that Gotye’s solo shows have taken off, so now is your time to see them or forever live in FOMO.
‘The Basics‘ runs 13-14 October at The Melbourne Festival Foxtel Club.
The venue is accessible.