They can do mellow and they can do mayhem. They can do dashing and they can do deadpan. They can do bitter and they can do sweet. And now Australia’s weird and wonderfully hirsute, black-clad choristers are plotting another biennial blast round Britain.
Be very afraid. The Men in Black are back.
Following triumphant UK tours in 2006, 2007, 2009, 2011, 2013, 2015 and 2017 they are busy packing multifarious hats in their native New South Wales, ready to whisk themselves away from the eucalyptus-infused Blue Mountains for a whistle-stop run of more than 20 performances in England, Scotland and Wales – a veritable bounty of big summer festivals and gigs – and a quick hop across to Germany too.
There will be a first time appearance at the Isle of Wight’s Rhythm Festival, welcome returns to Wickham , Trowbridge and Sidmouth and performances at iconic venues from Cardiff’s St David’s Hall to the acoustically renowned Georgian gem of St George’s, Bristol.
The icing on the cake will be the unveiling of their sixth studio album Welcome to the Second Half, will be hot off the press for their UK visit.
So what can audiences expect from the 15-strong line-up? Says Spookmiester (and sole Kiwi) Stephen Taberner (he of the deerstalker hat) The hats will be there, the sphinx-like vastness and the beard topiary but the Spooky Men are chalking up their 18th year by taking a good hard look at themselves in the mirror and it’s hard to tell whether they like what they see. That’s fitting for our new release – an album which explores all corners of the great spooky room including airport baggage carousels, the fine art of building pyramids and, more poignantly, what it is like to be closer to the end than the beginning. But the musical experience that results from all this uncertainty will be a great ride – a melding of classic songs from the Spooky back catalogue and tasty brand new morsels.”
This is a line-up that totally warrants the term ‘unique’ – not afraid to send up the stereotypical male to side-splitting effect. Says Taberner “We’re trying to master the impossible art of being both musically immaculate and blithering stupid.”
The Spookies were formed by Melbourne-based Taberner in Sydney in 2001 and could rightly be said to have almost singlehandedly redefined the world of men’s singing. With a sound variously described as “sexy, powerful, impossibly gentle and sad but unmistakably male” their repertoire ranges from Georgian drinking songs to whisper perfect ballads and a string of improbable original hits like Don’t Stand Between a Man and his Tool and Stop Scratching It . Spooky veterans know well their hilarious, elephantine retreatments of classics like Earth, Wind & Fire’s Boogie Wonderland and the funniest version of Abba’s Dancing Queen you are likely to witness. Spooky virgins should expect topics ranging from Bee Gees to body parts, gluttony to mastodons and a handy lesson in how to scare off hostile neighbouring tribes.
Kicking off in Scotland the tour will take them from Cardiff to Clitheroe, Dorchester to Durham with a finale at one of their favourite UK festivals -Sidmouth – in early August.
Compellingly comic they may be but make no mistake, this is a finely-honed class act. Not only can they sing like angels; they also maintain an unflinching, hilarious grandeur amidst the mayhem.
Hear them singing their theme song here:
UK TOUR 2019
28th Torphichen, West Lothian https://spookymen.com/gigs/
29th Glasgow –Mackintosh Queen’s Cross https://tickets-scotland.com/spook
30th Edinburgh–Soundhouse at The Traverse Theatre
1st Perth – Inchyra Arts Club, Glencarse – 01738 860066 / www.inchyraartsclub.co.uk
2nd Durham – Gala Theatre – 03000 266 600 / www.galadurham.co.uk
3rd Clitheroe – The Grand – 03000 266 600 / www.thegrandvenue.co.uk
4th Penistone – The Paramount – 01226 767532 / www.penistoneparamount.co.uk
9th – Norwich – Playhouse – 01603 598598 / www.norwichplayhouse.co.uk
10th – Bury St. Edmunds – The Apex – 01284 758000 / www.theapex.co.uk
11th – Peterborough – Vivacity Key Theatre – 01733 207239 / www.vivacity.org
12th – Hastings – Opus Theatre – www.opustheatre.co.uk
13th & 14th – Isle of Wight – Rhythm Tree Festival – www.rhythmtree.co.uk
19th – Nottingham – St. Mary’s Church https://www.gigantic.com/the-spooky-men-s-chorale-tickets
20th – Worcester – Huntingdon Hall – 01905 611427 / www.worcesterlive.co.uk
21st – Trowbridge Festival. Wiltshire – www.trowbridgefestival.co.uk
23rd – Liverpool – St. George’s Hall –https://bit.ly/2YLKrzB
24th – Bristol – St. George’s Bristol – 0845 4024 001 / www.stgeorgesbristol.co.uk
25th – Cardiff – St. David’s Hall – 029 2087 8444 / www.stdavidshallcardiff.co.uk
26th – Dorchester – Corn Exchange – 01305 266926 / www.dorchesterarts.org.uk
28th – Stroud – Subscription Rooms – 01453 760999 / www.subscriptionrooms.org.uk
30th – Oxford – New Theatre https://www.atgtickets.com/shows/the-spooky-mens-chorale/new-theatre-oxford/
31st – Milton Keynes – The Stables – 01908 280800 / www.stables.org
1st – London – Kings Place – 020 7520 1490 / www.kingsplace.co.uk
2nd – Wickham Festival, Hampshire – 01329 231942 / www.wickhamfestival.co.uk
3rd & 4th – Sidmouth Folk Festival – 01395 577952 / www.sidmouthfolkfestival.co.uk
For more information visit http://www.spookymen.com