Along with a few hundred other lucky people across this wide brown land, I have experienced the thrill of being one of the ‘freaks’ from the audience at a Rockwiz show. For those who know and love this gorgeous, funky, well-oiled machine of a music quiz program on SBS television, you’ll know this makes me special. So very special.
It happened last year when Rockwiz unplugged the amps from the Espy in St Kilda and went on tour around Australia, and me and the hubby went along to the first Perth show.
Truth be told, I’d been slack in getting tickets. But, in a fantastic stroke of luck, I discovered on their Facebook page that because the first three shows were sold out, or nearly, they were about to open bookings for a fourth and final show. Even better, this show was going to be the day before the first show was scheduled, on account of them returning a day early from a mid-tour break, so they would be fresh as fresh musicians can be after a month off. On the day bookings opened, I jumped on the phone early and managed to get two tickets in the second row – centre!*
Before I go on, I should say that I didn’t go with the expectation that I would end up on stage at the Perth Concert Hall that evening, but I was prepared to give it a go if the opportunity presented itself. I also don’t want to bore you with a minute by minute account of the experience (I do really, because every one of them was brilliant), suffice it to say there were highlights:
- I won a ‘wild card’ entry fair and square from Brian Nankervis after answering the most answers correctly out of our huddle of mothers in the foyer (it was Mother’s Day, after all) as opposed to the wild card I also got for participating in their Facebook competition. Bit embarrassing to have had two shots at getting on stage when others had missed out. Tough luck.
- Being whittled down from the original 24 brought on stage, to the four who ended up competing – and being the only female. Yeah, rock chicks rock! Yeah! Rock on. And that.
- Hanging around backstage signing consent forms, full of adrenaline, being introduced to Julia and getting ‘the drill’ on what’s going to happen, and being soooo cool with it. Oh yes, sooo cool. Rock cool. Actually, I was a mix of wide-eyed starfucker and ‘been there’ musician**. Kind of. I think.
- Julia is gorgeous. Absolutely gorgeous. I would turn straight for her if I was a gay man.
- Brian is lovely, genuinely lovely and respectful of the contestants, and wore an incredibly crisp and attractively fitted pink shirt. It was that memorable.
- There’s a very good reason why Dugald is the housewives’ choice, and pheromones have something to do with it. I’m sure his singlets bring women into heat.
- The Rockwiz Orchestra is brilliant – watching them work together, up close, was an unforgettable Australian music experience.
- Having Deborah Conway as one of our musicians was such a treat – even if, in an agonising starfucker moment, I did make a dick of myself backstage by getting mixed up with the film clip for It’s only the beginning and her having to correct me (okay, so the Royal Botanic Gardens can easily be mixed up with some suburban golf course … can’t they).
- Discovering Henry Wagons who is clever and funny and a great performer with a great voice – and a contributor to what is the real highlight which cannot be over-emphasised: I am a bona fide Rockwiz legend. Don’t believe me? This, from Wagons himself on the Rockwiz blog (which I’ve just realised has me in the picture behind Henry and Abbe May!):
For those not familiar with RocKwiz, the show begins with the introduction of the two surprise “celebrity” guests via a “who am I?”- style question. It’s very much in the style of the Sale of the Century fame game. For example:
“I was born in 1953.”
“I have a husky voice.”
“I did a shit version of ‘Dock of the Bay.’”
“Is it Michael Bolton?”
“Correct! Here he is!”
Out trots Michael Bolton, and plays ‘Dock of the Bay’.
Minutes before the show, I was in the dressing room out the back, sure of the fact that no one was going to guess who I was, and I’d be humiliated in front of the whole concert hall, night after night, for the next four shows. The ample piles of snacks and booze did not make up for that kind of repeated psychological trauma. I sipped on a couple of whiskey and Cokes. Close to the moment of truth, I was standing next to Deborah Conway. With several hits to her name, she’s forever etched in everyone’s mind as part of Aussie music history. As for me, I could count on my fingers the number of times our video for ‘Goodtown’ was played on Rage. I was shitting my dacks when my “who am I?” question began.
Thank God for kooky MC Brian Nankervis and his pre-show, audience filtration quiz. Every night before the main event starts, he picks the cream of the intellectual crop from the crowd to be audience panelists. To my surprise, one of the chosen über-dorks [um, that would be me, after some suggestive education by Brian pre-show] guessed my name and I trotted into the lights and did my shit.
The opening night went ridiculously quickly. I performed my song ‘Drive All Night’ to open the show and answered a few questions, although I left most of the responses to the highly capable female poindexter on my team. Thanks largely to her, we edged through to victory over the Conway crew (yessss!).
Do you need any more proof? Some days the music reservoir tap is open, and some days it ain’t, and that night it just flooded out. And I don’t care what the Urban Dictionary (yes, I did have to look it up, just to make sure) says about being a poindexter, I like to think Henry used it in a nice way, confessing at the end that he is, after all, a “nerd and proud glasses wearer at that.”
The only other proof I should offer is a photo, so here I am for the final bow with my fellow contestants, Brian and Julia, Deborah and Henry, and Abbe May (who was also hot hot, by the way) and Dom Mariani (ex The Stems).
* my arrival on stage meant that Mr JB ended up on his lonesome for the evening … but at least it was the second row – centre!
And now it’s time for some music, I think. It seems only right.
See also Goodtown, which demonstrates why Henry’s bass player is called Steve “Harmony” Hassett. Bloody noice.
Where on earth did I get the Royal Botanic Gardens from? Must have been the video clip of my life at the time 🙂
I am a Rockwiz legend.
** in a former life I was a [classically trained] percussionist, and spent many nervous minutes backstage at the PCH as a teenager-and-young-music-person waiting to go and knock’em dead with some timpani or tambourine solo with the WA Youth Concert Band, or occasionally WAYO, in the 80s. Those bloody Shell Concerts.