There’s no sense in confusing matters with complicated band names or witty show titles. Australian audiences want fair dinkum. We like to know what to expect. Perfect Tripod: Australian Songs may be a simple and self-explanatory title, but this creative collaboration between Eddie Perfect and Tripod is musically exciting, extremely funny, and anything but bland.
Eddie Perfect and Tripod (Scott Edgar, Simon Hall and Steven Gates) have returned to the Adelaide Cabaret Festival with a show that aims to wade through the depths of Australian music history. Perfect Tripod seized the opportunity to shape their own interpretation of the ‘Great Australian Songbook’, starting with Waltzing Matilda in four-part harmony (beer in hand) before transitioning into Gotye’s Hearts a Mess. Silver Chair’s Straight Lines and Men at Work’s Overkill were both fun acapella additions, and the music of the Bee Gees, Kylie Minogue and John Farnham kept the audience on the edge of their seat.
The voice was the star of the show, with only few numbers performed with any accompaniment. Acapella singing is a challenging and extremely exposing form. Pitch perfection and supreme blend is required in order to best utilise ‘barber shop’ harmony. The combination of Eddie Perfect and Tripod was, for the most part, sublime, but occasional blend issues were compounded by an Eddie-heavy sound mix. For a purely acapella concert this might be concerning, but in Perfect Tripod: Australian Songs it’s the combination of music with comedy that the audience craves – and Perfect Tripod deliver in spades.
Tripod have plied their trade together in perfect harmony for 18 years, and the addition of Eddie into the mix (with his very unique vocal timbre) certainly adds balls to the equation. Eddie displayed incredible vocal gymnastics, bouncing from booming baselines to lead vocals in a technique best described as ‘vocal self harm-ony’.
It is clear that this collaboration is something special. Tripod’s familiar banter was enhanced by Eddie Perfect’s comedic brilliance (you know, I think he’s getting the hang of selling Merch!) and at times, I found myself wishing the songs away to get back to the banter hilarity.
The crowd favourites were the items where comedy seeped through the otherwise mundane lyrics – where comedy and music were one. You’re the Voice with the ‘Johnny Farnham’ accompaniment and the ‘shuddup’ – doowops of Reminiscing were outstanding. Tripod’s Blueprint was also hilarious, as was the Adelaide audiences’ attempt at three-part harmony.
The “sweet, sweet man harmonies” don’t quite change the world, but Perfect Tripod: Australian Songs is certainly the caliber of show that will keep audiences returning to the Adelaide Cabaret Festival year in and year out. I think everyone would agree that it’s would not be presumptuous to include more Tripod and Eddie Perfect songs in the next edition of the ‘Great Australian Songbook’… You’re great Australians!