Adelaide Fringe 2018
Songs of beauty, songs of heartbreak, old squabbles and spontaneous nonsense. Two of Australia’s finest middle men, song-writers and voices return to Adelaide Fringe for the very first time. Paul McDermott (Doug Anthony All Stars) and Steven Gates (Tripod) have been friends for 18 years and singing together in private for 5 years. Now with a swag of brand new songs, watch these two stand-out talents lock harmonies and minds in a one night only show you don’t want to miss!
Paul McDermott and Steven Gates first met 18 years ago, when McDermott was hosting Australia’s Good News Week, and Gates was performing with comedy trio Tripod. Friendships bloomed and 13 years later, McDermott and Gates started ‘jamming’ together, writing songs and experimenting with the melodies that would eventually spawn their two-person, self-titled show.
The tone of the evening was set, when McDermott entered from one side of the Garden of Unearthly Delight’s ‘Fortuna Spiegeltent’, looking nothing like the clean-shaven Doug Anthony All Stars performer of the 90’s. This new McDermott was wearing thick, black rimmed glasses, a bushy, grey beard, longer hair than remembered… and still had the voice of a songbird dipped in honey. Gates entered from the other side, and the two joined on stage – after some audience banter – to continue one of their dozen or so original songs.
The friendship of McDermott and Gates was evident, with their banter between musical numbers giving way to storytelling and heartfelt name calling. Weaving seamlessly between songs, they discussed band names, the inspiration for their songs, and mercilessly mocked both the audience and the ‘hot-tub’ in the middle of the tent simultaneously.
Utilizing the reasonably small space – and the ‘Barnaby Joyce’ of hot tubs, both McDermott and Gates worked the room as best they could. Between stories of McDermott’s ‘hell of a year’ and the duo’s formation, were songs that displayed both artists vocal abilities and Gate’s skill on the guitar. Arguably one of the best falsettos in Australia, McDermott’s talent was on full display with songs such as ‘I Love London’, ‘Moth’, ‘Kids Kissing in Cars’ and ‘Stone the Crows’. Both performers hit all the right notes, much to the delight of the audience; which McDermott and Gates had eating out of their hands, despite the occasional jibes about the oldies in the front row.
The ‘Fortuna Spiegeltent’ is located in the heart of the ‘Garden’, leaving the shows biggest hurdle to be the outside noise coming through the tent walls. Added to this, were the occasionally fade outs of the microphone, which left the back rows and side booths struggling to hear at times. What was also unfortunate, was the speed of the last 15 or so minutes, when McDermott was forced to ask audience members for the time, so he could gauge the number of songs they still had time to perform. Not wanting to miss the musical numbers, or the comedy banter, the audience was left feeling a little short changed by the rush.
This aside, the biggest downfall of this show was that it was a once off performance. The 500-strong crowd was entertained for every minute of the show, and despite McDermott’s changed appearance, he proved that things do indeed improve with age. Let’s hope this isn’t the last time Adelaide audiences get to see this newly formed duo perform.