The Axis of Awesome is a magical concert experience

Ah, I feel so privileged to have seen and met Australian comedy band The Axis of Awesome last weekend, part of the Sydney Comedy Festival, at The Concourse in Chatswood.

The Axis of Awesome Nicki Escudero

The trio writes hysterical riffs on cover songs and original tunes that get audiences singing along and laughing all at the same time. Perhaps you’ve heard the band’s amazing “4 Chords,” which samples dozens of popular songs and shows listeners most of them use the same four chords that allow the covers to seamlessly blend into each other.

The concert started with a bang of an intro, announcing singer Jordan Raskopoulos’ public transition from male to female this year. The opening bit focused on the “elephant in the room” — the fact guitarist/singer Lee Naimo is now bald — and was a perfect way to show fans the band is happier than ever. Jordan is charming, beautiful and brave, and I’m ecstatic another prominent person in the entertainment industry has chosen to live their truth proudly.

One of my favorite songs the band played was “Birdplane,” a parody of Five for Fighting’s “Superman.” The Axis of Evil version turns a dull song into an epic track, which is why the band is so amazing.

I loved the show closer, a song that summed up the EDM genre, by repeating the same dozen or so words over and over again laid on top of a thumping beat with some fist-pumping dance moves. They also played “Ode to KFC,” a song about the American fast food chain KFC.

While they didn’t play the oh-so-hysterical “Rage of Thrones,” you can always listen to it here.

The band has a new album out, Viva La Vida Loca Las Vegas, on iTunes here. Learn more about the band here, and definitely check them out next time they’re in your area.

‘The Reef (Revisited)’ melds surf, film and orchestra music

Last night, I took in The Reef (Revisited) at City Recital Hall, a presentation blending classical and contemporary orchestra music by Australian Chamber Orchestra, film footage of surfing and wildlife, and the singing of everything from music by Alice in Chains to island-inspired tunes. The production that debuted in 2012 had some new additions in its 2016 edition, which was performed for one night only in Sydney and that is heading on a North American tour.

The Reef Revisited Sydney City Recital Hall 2

The show started with the short film Surfing Underground, about 30 minutes, by filmmaker Tim Bonython. The movie captured surfing escapades in some of the world’s most gorgeous waters, including Tasmania. The waves the surfers were navigating were majestic and breathtaking, and it was so neat to see footage of them so up close underneath mammoth bodies of water. The tricks and skill of the surfers were impressive, but watching the wipeouts was just as awe-inspiring.

The Reef Revisited Sydney City Recital Hall

I love the idea of enhancing orchestra music with additional visual stimulation such as video. It’s something I’ve seen executed successfully time after time by Arizona Pro Arte, and it was so cool to see it on such a grand scale here in Sydney in a beautiful theater holding 1,200 people.

Sydney City Recital Hall

If you have a chance to see it, The Reef (Revisited)‘s film’s mysterious storyline is definitely unlike anything you’ve ever seen, and it’s a neat opportunity to witness some of the world’s best surfers battling the world’s biggest waves.

For more information on The Reef (Revisited), head here.

Walk the Moon and The Griswolds rock Sydney Metro Theatre (VIDEO)

I was so excited to see my first concert featuring an American band I love in Sydney last night, when Walk the Moon brought the party to the Metro Theatre, and Sydney-hometown-ers The Griswolds got the crowd excited as the opening act. I have always loved The Griswolds’ song “Beware the Dog,” so I was so stoked to see them live and had a blast dancing to every single song they played, including their popular American single:

I first saw Walk the Moon in 2012 at the much-more intimate Crescent Ballroom in Phoenix, which was one of the best concerts I’ve ever been to. The only major label album they had out then was their self-titled album, but they had a veteran performance quality to them because the crowd was constantly dancing and singing along loudly to every song. Since releasing their massive hit “Shut Up and Dance,” off 2014 album Talking Is Hard, they’ve achieved global success and packed the 1,100-person-capacity Metro Theatre, opening the show with my favorite song by the band, “Jenny”:

Their last song of the set before the encore was unsurprisingly “Shut Up and Dance,” which they performed after playing about an hour and 15 minutes worth of tracks from both their albums, plus a cover of David Bowie’s “Let’s Dance”:

I loved how, as always, positive the band was, including a moment when singer Nick Petricca had the audience symbolically ball up all their negative energy and expel it to the sky during the song “I Can Lift a Car.” The audience members appropriately went crazy for both bands, and the good vibes permeating the theater made for a blast of a show.

I enjoyed the Metro for its friendly bar service (they also serve hot meat pies, if you’re hungry) and variety of seating, from the pit below, to seats in the back.

Walk the Moon The Griswolds Metro Theatre in Sydney

Learn more about Walk the Moon here, The Griswolds here and the Metro Theatre here.