2014 Gig Forty Four: Out Of Print Book Club and Gig Forty Five: Victoria Hotel

I had two gigs on Sunday. Before I get to the gigs though I saw this as I walked into the city around 3.30pm:

 

I had Queen's "Bicycle Race" playing in my head as I viewed this.

 

I had no idea what this stood for but it was an interesting sight to be greeted with as I walked through the city.  Good weather for it too.  Just warm enough to warrant some shedding of clothes and but not too warm that we were just watching a bunch of naked people sweat like they had something to hide.  Where were they going to hide it?  That is not my place to speculate.

First gig for the day was the "Out Of Print Book Club" starring Damian Callinan and Tim Overton. The premise of the show is that we wax lyrically about books that have never existed but go into extreme detail about what made these books so great.  It is a really fun show.  You know it is going to be fun from the outset as the show begins with the performers playing table tennis on the stage while the audience enters.  It is a nice subtle way of letting the audience know that they're going to see something that is absurd and fun.  It is always a treat for me to work with Callinan too.  He's a very funny man and one that I in turn enjoy trying to make laugh.  With a bunch of segments that help break up the format the "Out Of Print Book Club" was a great way to start my night.

 

The calm before the table tennis storm.

 

Then it was off to see Tegan Higginbotham's new show "Game Changer".  With a less heavy narrative this year Tegan has turned her eye to honing her stand up skills. This would have to be her funniest show yet and it was good to see her looking like really comfortable in a more stand up orientated show.  The full house thoroughly enjoyed her show and if you're looking to check out one of the rising stars of the stand up scene then her show will be right up your alley.

Between the end of Tegan's show and my show I was feeling mildly tired so I decided to knock back an espresso coffee.  This was a mild mistake for someone feeling mildly tired. Before my show began my natural adrenalin kicked in and I knew in that moment I wasn't feeling physically tired before but in fact more mentally tired.  This was a mistake because the coffee mixed with the adrenalin made me feel jittery.  I stood out the back of my venue jumping up and down on the spot and doing a lot of stretching to try and move the excess energy through my body before my show began.  The set list was:

 

Johnny Loves Mary Forever 1994

 

For people who have seen me perform before you know I like to throw my hands around quite a bit.  This is just something that has developed over time but also a part of performing that I enjoy.  Yet last night I felt like my arms were going to explode from their sockets.  I was barely holding back the buzz I had going.  It was mildly distracting and I felt at times my timing was off because I was attempting not to rush moments or trying not to trip over myself.  I had a bunch of dear friends in the room sitting up the back including Tegan, Wil Anderson, Adam Richard and Peta Sloley so I wanted them to enjoy the show too.  You always want to impress your peers or at the very least not eat it in front of them.  With a raring crowd I cursed myself many times for thinking a short black coffee would pep me up when realistically I didn't need anything at all.

Still the show played out well even if I was a little dark on myself.  It has been a successful opening to the season and apart from the Herald Sun hating the show (which my fans are wearing as a badge of honour according to their online remarks) the reviews have been uniformly positive.  Now I have The Shelf tonight and from Tuesday we settle into the slog of the Festival.  Three weeks to go in which I am certain there are many highs and a few lows just around the corner.  I can maybe avoid these few lows if I just remember to rely on my natural energy and not go looking for that extra coffee buzz just before my show begins.

 

Justin Hamilton

31st of March, 2014

Fitzroy North