After dazzling Adelaide Cabaret Festival audiences with his Ozrock star-studded stage show Vandemonian Lags, Mick Thomas returns in stripped-back mode for the Semaphore Music Festival.
After dazzling Adelaide Cabaret Festival audiences with his Ozrock star-studded stage show Vandemonian Lags, Mick Thomas returns in stripped-back mode for the Semaphore Music Festival. Thomas, the former leader of ‘80s and ‘90s folk-rockers Weddings, Parties, Anything, will entertain the Semaphore crowd as an acoustic duo with his long-time music cohort (and former Weddings… bandmate) Squeeze Box Wally accompanying on accordion. They will perform material from Thomas’ entire career, as well as new work, which includes his latest album Christmas Day at Spencer Street. Thomas says that after Weddings… broke up he didn’t play with Wally for a number of years. “I just wanted to go off and not have a melody instrument and not have the whole Weddings thing there all the time as a weight,” the Melbourne singer/songwriter explains. “After a while you just go, ‘Look, it is my history and my background and I’m really happy to have it’. I guess there were four or five albums that he didn’t play on very much but he’s able to contribute to that stuff in a live context and the rest of it he’s been there for. He’s a pretty good sounding board and pretty level-headed.” His acclaimed stage show Vandemonian Lags isn’t finished, however. After debuting at Tasmania’s Dark Mofo for three nights last year before the Adelaide Cabaret Festival picked it up this July, the convict stage show he wrote with his brother Stephen still has legs. As Thomas says the Cabaret Festival’s decision to stage it has “opened a few doors”. “It looks like we’ve got a season in Melbourne early next year – as it still hasn’t played Melbourne,” Thomas explains about the musical, which starred Australian rock luminaries Tim Rogers, Darren Hanlon, Liz Stringer, Jeff Lang and more. “In the build up to it I said that I didn’t want it to be just a thing that only had appeal to people in Tasmania or people who have convict heritage because what it’s really trying to say is broad and really quite sweeping. I’m not going on record to say it’s my kind of magnum opus or anything like that, but it’s something I worked really hard at with my brother and a lot of friends. I feel really strongly about it and I want it to go further but at the same time I’m aware that it’s a really tough thing. I said to someone it’s like if someone offered you to meet the woman of your dreams for one day, you wouldn’t knock it back if it was only for one day – you’d want more but you’d still take it. That’s the way I kind of see it – as the show of my dreams in some ways.” Thomas will be back in Adelaide after the Semaphore Music Festival to launch his latest album Christmas at Spencer Street in November. Even though the album was released last year, Thomas says gone are the days when he’d release an album and tour relentlessly straight after. “When we started bringing out records in the early ‘80s, you’d tour it for a whole year at least and by touring it you’d probably do a couple of hundred shows off the back of that record. But these days, when you’re not touring all the time and you bring out a record, taking it to retail is pretty much… well, not non-existent but it’s very contracted, so the main place you sell records is at gigs. You bring out a record and you do a tour that might be 15 or 16 shows and you go, ‘Is that it? Is that my chance to sell this thing?’ I just really think it’s good to be going around again on the back of that record because I guess at our age we’re not going to be doing 200 shows a year. Most of the time if people say to me that they are doing 200 shows a year, I ask to check their diary. I know that with Weddings… we pushed up towards 200 a couple of times and it’s pretty debilitating in terms of your life, whereas I seem to be comfortable with between 50 and 100 these days. There are plenty of years now where I don’t crack 50 and that’s fine. There was a time when that would have made me very antsy at home but I’ve got other fish to fry now.” Semaphore Music Festival Friday, October 3 to Monday, October 6 semaphoremusicfestival.com
Christmas Time Already Tour Dates – NEW
Saturday, November 22 – Trinity Sessions, Adelaide SA with special guest Charles Jenkins https://www.dramatix.com.au/events/1337 Sunday, November 23 – Promethean, Adelaide SA with special guest Charles Jenkins http://www.trybooking.com/GEPQ