APRIL 2015 - MELBOURNE INTERNATIONAL COMEDY FESTIVAL
(Plus one night only show at Queensland Poetry Festival August 29 2015)
It's called Hara-Karaoke, which implies that someone will be committing artistic suicide in a cheap-ass, Betty Boo kind of way. All of that is certainly true, but I do want to assure you that I will, as usual, be posing the big philosophical questions:
* Whatever happened to Malcolm Turnbull?
* What is Drabaret?
* What would I do if I owned a huge pharmaceutical company?
* Are we just a bunch of little Vladimir Putins?
* What if the Occupy movement all looked like Christopher Pyne?
* What if TISM really did appear at Eurovision 2015?
* Can we find true love through alcoholism?
* What if ads told the truth?
* What is the real meaning of turning right at Swanston Street?
* Am I dead?
* Where are those hookers I ordered?
These and other mysteries will be revealed unto you at Damian Cowell's Hara-Karaoke. Plus some singing. And shit dancing.
"Bring your brains to this one and jump into the boiling mire, you’re in the dexterous hands of a legend."
"Cowell is the master of killer punchlines, all the more forceful for being delivering in a singsong way over eminently hummable disco beats."
Performed and Composed by Damian Cowell
Produced by Nibbles Music
SEPTEMBER 2013 - MELBOURNE INTERENATIONAL COMEDY FESTIVAL
It’s comedy, dance party and art installation all rolled in to one. After rave reviews at the Melbourne International Comedy Festival, The DC3 – led by former TISM creator Damian Cowell - take you inside Modern Unconsciousness: the world’s most exclusive nightclub… or is it?
Over a soundtrack peppered with infectious pop and the ‘gloriously witty ranting’ of Damian Cowell, The DC3 will take you on a trip that’s both deliciously smart and downright silly. You’ll be fighting the urge to dance – or use a power drill.
‘A brilliant and snarky show’ - The Age
‘A sensory overload of epic proportions’ - Herald Sun
‘This is comedy at its most cerebral and socio-political. It’s also wildly entertaining and hilarious’ - squirrelcomedy.com
Performed and Composed by The DC3
Produced by Nibbles Music
: Herald Sun
: Stars: ****
3 April 2013
: Squirrel Comedy
: 28 March 2013
: Sydney Morning Herald
: 1 April 2013
MARCH 2013 - MELBOURNE INTERNATIONAL COMEDY FESTIVAL
Shitness. From Chiko Rolls to Ricky Nixon, it's a vital component of culture – according to the DC3 – aiding us in our appreciation of the better things. The DC in DC3 is Damian Cowell, former frontman of TISM, and as any fan would know, Australia's shitness was the vital, bottomless well they drew on for 20 years.
Their juxtaposition of pop and highbrow continues with an unmellowed Cowell delivering venomous, witty denunciations of all and sundry, both straight-up and accompanied by some pleasantly blistering riffs. He has a wry awareness of his own over-the-top absurdity, which stops it all from tipping over into a mere hatefest. While they speak and sing of shitness and things worthwhile, we see the contrast here in action. As Nixon, Worthington and Rhinegold Wine are sliced to bits before us, we're compelled to admire the shine of the blade and the trio's swordsmanship.
There's also streamers.
- Yawp Magazine SF Lyons
THE DC3 (RINGTONE CYCLE)
For the Melbourne International Comedy Festival, The DC3 presents ‘The Ringtone Cycle’ – their interpretation of Wagner’s Ring Cycle, the gargantuan 16 hour opera which will be performed this year in Melbourne to a select crowd who can afford the $1,000+ ticket prices. The Ringtone Cycle however, according to The DC3, is ‘for people in a hurry’. We’ve no idea what you can expect, other than The DC3 who are, according to Rave magazine ‘funny, crass, juvenile and smart’ and Damian Cowell, who remains an Australian music legend.
“There is no criticism you can level at Damian Cowell that he has not already owned with more scathing wit”
– The Age, Melbourne
Unlike most of the other ‘music’ category shows at the MICF, the DC3′s ‘Ringtone Cycle‘ is not a comedy group using music, but a rock concert with comedy interspersed between songs and woven in to the lyrics of the songs themselves. I’m not really sure what else I was expecting going in, or why, since front man Damian Cowell was one of the founding members of TISM.
I should point out that, if you’re not old enough to know TISM, then a lot of the ‘story’ element of this show will go straight over your head. You really need to remember the old Chiko Roll posters (among other things) to connect with it.
That’s not to say it’s inaccessible, and the trio certainly know how to write damn catchy songs, but the monologues on ‘shitness’ and its decline as a loss to our society will probably go over your head a bit. Damn kids. It’s fun, it’s funny, it’s catchy, and it’s performed incredibly well.
You can tell that the three of them are not only very good at what they do, but take pride in it. Just be ready for a walk, since fortyfivedownstairs is a fair way off the main drag of the festival.
PREPARE for a sensory overload of epic proportions when this trio hits the stage.
The DC3, with former TISM frontman Damian Cowell at the helm, will have you rocking out while trying to catch your breath as you're bombarded with a flurry of subjects.
Cowell has taken his satirical dissing to another level as he explores our obsession with pop culture - from Chiko Rolls to reality television, politics and everything in between.
There is so much fodder, it can be hard to keep up with his clever rapid-fire insights.
No target is considered too soft either, with songstress Delta Goodrem, former player agent turned comedian Ricky Nixon and notorious party boy Corey Worthington all copping a serve or two.
While the songs and acerbic monologues will keep you engaged, you will also find the running dialogue floating across the wall behind them entertaining as well.
With a million thoughts/witticisms/observations flying around the room, it's not always easy to follow it all, but it's definitely well worth the effort.
From the music to the crass banter, there is plenty of enjoy about this show.
Oh, and the whole Wagner's Ring Cycle theme? It's not a necessity to know much, if anything, about the German composer.
Just go along and be ready to be entertained.
Having just come from another more traditional stand up type of comedy festival show, the atmosphere and audience at Fortyfivedownstairs is distinctly different to a typical comedy crowd. There’s an arty rock n Roll feel. Is that someone I’ve seen perform on Rockwiz? Is that someone wearing sunglasses at night? Is that man on stage an ex lead singer from This Is Serious Mum? If you’re too young to remember TISM you might know their song Somebody Start a Fight or Something used as the Theme for Paul Provenza’s The Green Room. If you’re too young to remember TISM this might not be the show for you.
Damian Cowell is still angry about a lot of stuff and is still amused by so much that abhors him that he is able to turn it into comedy. The only difficulty for the audience is keeping up with his avalanche of satire. The opening is a bombardment of Wagner’s Ride of the Valkyrie, a welcome song about the gathering with traces of nuts and a lengthy spoken word monologue somewhere between poetry and stand up. Meanwhile you are trying to read all the words projected onto the white wall behind the band. The words can get quite dense with the back wall occasionally resembling a telephone book (remember them?) but become more effective when it features one word at a time. The best approach is to let it all wash over you, take in what you can and enjoy laughing at the funny bits. Things repeat enough to build up a kind of concept collage that comes together to make sense.
But What’s all this about Wagner’s Ring Cycle I hear you ask? Well I’d rather not give that away, I’ll leave that for you to discover and enjoy, and needless to say you don’t need to know anything about Wagner to enjoy this. However you might have to be over 30 to get a lot of the humorous pop references as he eviscerates our love of popular culture and how it’s changed since the 1970s. There’s a romance to Damien’s sarc that is connected with nostalgia and softens his vicious wit. His delivery and style is reminiscent of John Clarke but with a little more venom.
If you know TISM or DC3 you’ll know what to expect from the songs that act as sign posts in the well structured show. These include (and I’m guessing at some of the titles here) ‘A Gathering, Shitness, No Longer Popular Search Word Party (hilarious!), Root Shoot Marry, Henry Fucking Wagons and Stop. Some of these are available on their new album “May Contain Traces of Nut”. This wasn’t a concert as such but I still had to fight an urge to dance. The other two members of DC3 in elegant white suits, played guitar and bass, or politely sat in the audience during Damian’s rants and helped set the stage behind him.
I’m sure the irony of performing to an arty crowd sitting at little tables in an art gallery/theatre/bar in Melbourne while tearing strips off pretentious arty wankers is not lost on Damian. This is comedy at it’s most cerebral and socio-political. It’s also wildly entertaining and hilarious. Certainly not your bog standard stand up comedy.
PUTTING WAGNER THROUGH A WRINGER
by Michael Dwyer
It's a novel interpretation of culture and the arts.
Damian Cowell promises ''only the most accidental resemblance to Wagner'' in The Ringtone Cycle, his first Melbourne Comedy Festival show after 30 years as a rock'n'roll provocateur.
His band the DC3, named in chronological deference to previous outfits TISM and Root, will keep the electro-rock pumping but with longer gaps between tunes as their leader inverts the usual banter-to-boogie ratio. ''The idea came out of the fact that my between-song bits have got longer and longer,'' says the formerly balaclava-clad TISM identity known as Humphrey B. Flaubert.
''We played Big Sound, the music industry conference in Brisbane last year, and I launched into this monologue about Clare Bowditch getting banned from junior football matches because she threw a stubby at an umpire.
'Everyone just stared at me. The kind of uncomprehending semi-horror on people's faces gave me a real thrill.''
Similarly fabricated anecdotes about Keith Richards, Ike Turner and others had stockpiled when the Comedy Festival presented itself as an outlet. All Cowell needed was an idea that might loosely ''tie the bullshit together''.
''I have some sophisticated friends and they let me know what's important to know in the world of culture and arts,'' he says. ''I knew 'Wagnerian' was an adjective but I didn't realise this Ring Cycle was 16 f---ing hours long!''
The more he learnt about the epic operatic event to be staged in Melbourne in November - ''I mean, tickets start at $1000!'' - the more his finely tuned radar for cultural elitism and pretentiousness began twitching.
Belly laughs have always loomed large in Cowell's songs - from the pop culture commentaries of TISM to the more self-deprecating insights of his latest DC3 album May Contain Traces of Nut.
He has long felt that categorising his craft as ''comedy'' would have blunted his rock'n'roll cred.
''But clearly, the tables have turned,'' he says. ''Now, I'm fishing around in the gutter of rock for yabbies and I get splashed by Dave Hughes' limousine.''
The producer of the Ring Festival has already contacted the DC3 with a view to including The Ringtone Cycle as a sideshow to November's Wagnerian circus. But Cowell isn't counting his limos yet: ''It's not so much the desecration of Wagner. It might be the complete ignoring of Wagner that's more likely to insult him.''
The Ringtone Cycle is at fortyfive downstairs until April 7.
Photo: James Boddington