Buvette Masthead

Our most musical Street: An eclectic feast for the ears

Beatrice Smith

Live music is a veritable chocolate box for the senses – an indulgent treat that makes spirits soar, mends hearts and inspires us.

As the winter months roll on and the indoors beckons, an evening of live music in The Street Theatre’s cosy interior becomes the perfect way to settle in for the night – being serenaded by some of Australia – and the world’s – most talented artists.

If you’re in the mood for something that will excite and inspire – or, let’s be honest, blow your mind – get along to Tubular Bells for Two in early May.

While the name sounds a little cryptic, once you see the performance you’ll realise how simplistic it really is. The show is quite literally an exploration of how much tune two men can coax from of their instruments…all 20 of them.

“There are over 20 instruments on stage, and it’s almost an impossible task for us, but that makes it a riveting performance,” says Daniel Holsworth, one half of Tubular Bells.

The pair’s inspiration came from Mike Oldfield’s eponymous 1970s album, but Daniel assures me that you don’t need to be familiar with it to enjoy the edge-of-your-seat experience.

Image: Jamie Williams

Tubular Bells For Two. Image: Jamie Williams

“It’s such a fascinating album from that time,” he says. “It’s got so many different styles and moods. Even if you’ve never heard the album before, it’s just a thrilling experience.”

Tubular Bells has toured the world but say that their home country of Australia really “gets” the performance.

“It’s not just about the music, it’s also a crazy physical performance that really keeps you on the edge of the seat. There’s a tension that drives the performance, because things can go really wrong and bring the whole show crashing to a halt. The music then serves as a beautiful sound track to compliment our mammoth task.”

Another upcoming guest of The Street, Darren Coggan, knows a thing or two about performing a mammoth task. His show, Peace Train, is a tribute to Cat Stevens, one of the greatest rock and roll musicians of the 20th Century. So no pressure, really.

“I have been a fan of Cat Stevens music since I was a young boy. I clearly remember learning Moonshadow when I began taking guitar lessons at the age of 10,” explains Darren. But it’s his voice’s striking comparison to his idol that set the show in motion.

“The genesis for this show, Peace Train, was from people telling me that I sounded like Cat Stevens. For whatever reason there is a similar timbre in our voices, nothing I every consciously tried to channel, but an uncanny resemblance for sure.”

So what catapults someone from including a couple of Cat Stevens songs in his live repertoire to creating a full-blown tribute show?

Darren Coggan

Darren Coggan

“I actually didn’t really know that much about him and out of curiosity, I started researching his story. The deeper I dug, the more fascinated I became with his journey of self-discovery, and I take our audience on that same journey that Cat went on from an early age when he had hits such as Mathew and Son and I Love My Dog, through some near death experiences that sparked an intense spiritual search in him,” explains Darren.

“I try to answer the question as to what ever happened to Cat Stevens, why did he leave the music industry at the height of his career?”

It’s these unique journeys, keenly chartered by fans, that make the fabric of Australian music so rich. One such journey that you can observe in real time is that of Felix Riebl, the charismatic front man of Aussie sensation The Cat Empire, as he embarks on his Australia–wide solo tour.

The multi-instrumentalist has toured internationally for years, but like Daniel he says that there’s something special about Australian audiences.

“The exciting thing about touring overseas is that you’re exposed in quick bursts to so many places and atmospheres,” Felix explains. “It’s easy to enjoy forgetting yourself being away. Whereas coming back to Australia, here in the country where most of the songs were written, it’s a more challenging and familiar space but also very generous because of that.”

For Cat Empire fans, this will be a unique opportunity to see the lungs of their outfit up close and personal. Felix says that the show is completely different each night, but says that he always had a few special favourites that he loves to play live.

“With The Cat Empire it’s usually Steal The Light, and solo show it’s often Snowflakes,” he explains.With that one I try to get as much energy with more space. Having said that, the thing about playing live is that on any given night different songs can be the moment.”

In a similar vein, legendary vocalist of Aussie rock band You Am I Tim Rogers will also be playing a solo show at The Street in early May to perform his latest solo album An Actor Repairs. Also gracing The Street’s well-trodden floorboards in early May are the local vocals of Hayley Jensen whose sultry tones you may remember from Australia Idol 2004 and The Voice 2014. Canberra has been lucky to be the base for much of Hayley’s previous performances, which never fail to delight.

Want to convince someone to come along with you in ten seconds? The artists themselves give you a cheat sheet to why people should attend their shows.

Daniel describes Tubular Bells as “something completely different” while Darren says Peace Train is “inspiring, uplifting, entertaining” and Felix cryptically describes his show as “What it is”, which sounds like you’ll just have to get along and experience it for yourself.

the essentials

FELIX RIEBL: Monday 24 April. Find more details here.

TIM ROGERS: Thursday 4 May. Find more details here.

TUBULAR BELLS FOR TWO: 5-7 May. Find more details here.

PEACE TRAIN: Saturday 20 May. Find more details here.

HAYLEY JENSEN: Friday 26 May. Find more details here.

This is a sponsored editorial. For more information on sponsored editorials, click here.


Beatrice Smith

Bea loves that her job as HerCanberra’s Online Editor involves eating, drinking and interviewing people - sometimes simultaneously. The master of HerCanberra’s publishing schedule, she’s usually found hunched over a huge calendar muttering to herself about content balance. Otherwise, you’ll find her at the movies or ordering a cheese board. More about the Author