In early 2015 it was announced that for the first time, for some inexplicable reason, Australia was going to compete in the Eurovision Song Contest. There were lots of ideas for who should represent our great and distant southern land but one name rose out of the throng. “Send TISM” the people cried and despite the fact that TISM hadn’t performed together since 2006, a petition was created and signed, by thousands. Unfortunately it looks like TISM has not been chosen, but in Hara-Karaoke ex TISM (This is Serious Mum) singer Damian Cowell imagines; what would happen if they were?
The answer to that is a low fi dystopian sci fi musical set in the distant future of 2525. Damian is giving us the hour long concert version of “Eurovision Ruined My Life – The musical” and the first song ‘Where are They Now – 2015’, sets the scene. The world and Damian’s life is going into a bit of a tragic decline. Further songs describing his fall into debauchery and disgrace include an insightful attack on the gambling industry and a surprisingly romantic tune about his relationship with Danni who works at Dan Murphy’s bottle shop. He also manages to pop in some top tunes from his current album ‘Jesus Barista Superstar’ and ‘Folk Music Turned me Into a Fascist’.
Last time I saw Damian Cowell it was a few months ago at the Corner Hotel as he debuted his current disco-themed album Damien Cowells Disco Machine with all the trimmings, a fab band that included two sets of drums (like Adam & the Ants), two gorgeous backup girl singers who played various instruments and a slew of guest performers like Shaun Micallef and Tony Martin, who appear on his album. There were disco balls, lights, costumes and screens showing lyrics and pictures. At the centre of it all was the charismatic, gracefully aging rock star Damian Cowell, occasionally fiddling with his laptop. At last year’s Melbourne International Comedy Festival Damian performed as DC3 with two band members and a sound and visual show that bombarded the audience overloading us with information. Hara-Karaoke is a completely stripped back affair. Just Damian and his laptop from which he controls projections of lyrics and some pictures in a small room. Everything is focused and clear which is perfect to bring his brilliant comedy to the fore.
Along with the vicious satire and the killer songs Damian often surprises with some rather adorable silliness and traditional jokes. I enjoyed his ‘honest adverts’, not a new idea but well executed and is at the heart of Damian’s comedy mindset. A direct, angry, politically left look at the society around him. The darkest he gets is in his musings on mortality in ‘Fuck, I’m dead’ and his naff impression of Guy Sebastian singing one of TISM’s filthiest songs is definitely worth the price of admission. TISM fans will be sated by the finale created especially for them.
Damian Cowell is doing searing political musical comedy. He’s might be new to the comedy world but he’s been doing it for years and knows how to entertain an audience. Bring your brains to this one and jump into the boiling mire, you’re in the dexterous hands of a legend.
Damian Cowell – Hara-Karaoke is on at The Forum until April 19