decoded_ Something for your mind… Something for your mind…

December 17, 2010

Lots Of Laughs : Robin Williams : Arj Barker

Filed under: Live Comedy — decoded_ @ 4:51 pm

Robin Williams
Robin Williams

A month ago, Tuesday 16th November, Joanne and I went and saw actor and comedy legend Robin Williams, perform his ‘Weapons Of Self Destruction’ stand-up show, at the massive Sydney Entertainment Centre, where he sold out 4 nights in row, we went to his last night, our first time seeing him live.

Tickets were close to $200, not cheap, and those were the lower priced tickets! But, after it was all over we felt we got value for money. He was excellent, an extremely funny and entertaining performance. He had us laughing non stop for his whole two hour show, laughing till we had tears in our eyes and pains in our side.

Keeping the energy level high his entire show, working his way through a wide range of topics, at a blistering pace, with some nods to his past film and TV work thrown in too. Never a dull second.

I’m really glad we decided to go see him. I struggle to find the right words every time I open my mouth, he didn’t slip up once the entire show. I guess he’s had many years and 100s of performances to perfect it.

He has certainly come a long way since the ‘Mork & Mindy’ TV show. I loved that show as a kid in the late 70’s, early 80s. I really like him in his more serious film roles, like ‘One Hour Photo’, and ‘Insomnia’, I’ve watched both of these again recently, great films.

Aussie lads The Umbilical Brothers doing warm up got some good laughs too, usually not a fan, but they had me laughing.

And now for something completely different… Slowing the pace right down…

Arj Barker
Arj Barker

Arj Barker at the State Theatre, performing his ‘Let Me Do The Talking’ show, Tuesday 7th December.

I’ve seen him perform a few times now, he always brings the laughs, with his very laid back, slow-burn style comedy, with humorous observations on our use of technology, and on our on-line, social network connected lives. I love the way he pulls back the microphone and hits us with that radio announcer voice, for stats and facts.

He had some great digs at JB HiFi (how many there are, everywhere, and how you usually can’t walk out of one without buying anything), and he loves to pay out our Australian accent, I think he does it so well now, because he spends so much time. It’s interesting how he performs in the regional areas first before doing the cities each time he’s out here, gathering material I think.

Unfortunately this performance will be remembered mostly because of some idiot in the audience who heckled via a loud/long whistle a few times during the performance, Arj eventually stopped the show, demanding the guy was ejected before he would continue, which darkened things a bit, but brought a big cheer when the guy was actually ejected, and then the comedy continued. Not one of my fave, or the best Arj performances, but I had some great laughs. Think I laughed more at the older material he fell back on a few times, than the newer stuff.

A feature, and review of the same performance here:

More data:


More laughs coming up next year, seeing a couple of other legends of comedy: Weird Al Yankovic and Billy Connolly

July 25, 2010

Bill Bailey @ State Theatre – Sydney : 23.07.10

Filed under: Live Comedy — decoded_ @ 2:18 pm

Bill Bailey

We went and saw U.K. stand-up-comedian, musician, actor Bill Bailey perform live on Friday night at the State Theatre here in Sydney, and he was bloody funny! Joanne got us great seats too, about 8 rows from front stage, just left of centre.

He’s sold out a bunch of shows here in Sydney, and after seeing him, my first time, I can see why, very funny! Exactly my style of humour too.

I really enjoyed his performance, laughed a whole lot, and was entertained from start to finish. It was a great mix of dry, observational, stand-up material, and funny songs played with guitars and synths/keyboards, even a Tenori-On got put to use. I loved his Gary Numan and Kraftwerk covers, one of which somehow flowed into Last Christmas by Wham, but sung in German. He also paid out on a lot of commercial music via parody, not that familiar with a lot of the popular music/artists he paid out on.

The thing that most impressed me was how he casually dropped all these random, funny comments during his show, things like: “I’ll probably end up being one of those old nutters that yells at traffic while carrying shopping bags home” and then during his 3rd encore, he played classical piano to a short film, with contained footage of him doing everything said in all those random comments all throughout his performance, it had me in stitches, laughing till I hurt.

May 9, 2010


Filed under: Live Comedy — decoded_ @ 3:11 pm

David O'Doherty

Some more laughter medicine. A few weeks back on Saturday 1st May, we went and saw Irish stand-up comedian David O’Doherty performing live, with his little Yamaha electronic keyboard at a packed Metro Theatre. I’m really glad we decided to go, it was a last minute decision, grabbing a couple of the last remaining tickets.

He was fantastic, very entertaining, and almost got us to the laughing till we hurt point. He had some bloody funny stories, inbetween his narky little songs, so much dry sarcasm. He has such a casual manner on stage, at times it feels like he’s making it all up as he goes along, maybe he was. The main message of his show was ‘lower your expectations’, well he exceeded ours. It was great to end off our Sydney Comedy Festival 2010 experience on a high note.

A bit of a review here.

This reminds me, I must seek out a copy of his book: 100 Facts About Pandas. He read a number of very amusing entries from it during his performance.

Janeane Garofalo

But wait, that’s not all. Rescheduled from March, this w/end we’re off to see American stand-up comedian, actress, political activist, writer and more: Janeane Garofalo, with Greg Behrendt at the Sydney Opera House – Playhouse.


Just a quick follow up on what I thought of Janeane Garofalo and Greg Behrendt.

I’d not heard of Greg Behrendt before, but he totally blew Janeane Garofalo away, with his energetic stand-up performance, pretty much had us laughing non stop, loved all the stuff he did about ‘being old and still going out to music events’ could totally relate to a lot of the topics he covered, would love to see him again.

I think perhaps the style of stand-up comedy Janeane Garofalo does, works best for females, as the women in the audience were laughing a hell of a lot more than the men, an entertaining performance though.

April 30, 2010

Lots More Laughs…

Filed under: Live Comedy — decoded_ @ 5:36 pm

Last Saturday night (24.04.2010) we saw Canadian stand-up comedian Jeremy Hotz at The Metro. Performing on stage in the main room, with rows of seating on what is normally the dance-floor. We’ve seen Jeremy a few times now, always enjoy his style/show. He seemed to be in a good mood (probably because it was his last show here in Australia), even breaking out of his miserable, whiny style a few times and just chatting with the audience. Not a whole lot of new material in his show, but I had a lot of great laughs.

Sunday night (25.04.2010), at the Factory Theatre in Marrickville, we saw U.S (living in U.K) African-American comedian Reginald D. Hunter. This is the second time we’ve seen him, same venue last year. We decided to go see him again after enjoying his Spicks & Specks (TV show) appearance earlier in the week. We were already heading to the same venue for Russell Kane on afterwards, so it worked out well. Reginald D. Hunter was a lot more laid back and mellow than the previous time we saw him. His show focussed a lot on racism, but not in a way that felt uncomfortable to laugh about. He certainly thinks about thinks very differently, makes for some interesting and entertaining comedy. He has such a cool sounding voice too.

Russell Kane

U.K comedian Russell Kane followed, bouncing off the walls, pacing the stage, with loads of energy, lots of British style humour, comparisons between Australia and England. Lots of paying out on Gen Y, lots of self-deprecation, lots of quick witty bites. He was really fresh, probably my fave performance of this years comedy festival, the most laughs for me.

Wednesday (29.04.2010) back at The Factory Theatre to see the ‘Bulmers Best of the Edinburgh’ show, featuring U.K stand-up comedians: Carey Marx, Jason Cook and Elis James. We saw Jason Cook the other week at the Cracker Night, and thought he was great. He basically MC’d this show, as well as doing his own spot at the start. He has a very positive energy, enjoy his style of having a bunch of very funny stories on the go at the same time. Elis James followed, and is one one of the most laid back and softly spoken comedians I’ve ever seen, but certainly had some very funny moments, kinda odd though. Carey Marx was on last, with a lot of one liners and jokes, quite a few that took a few seconds to sink in (love those), a very cynical and twisted style, oh yeah and he umm, fingered a teddy bear, which was lot more funny than it sounds… you had to be there.

Have really enjoyed seeing all these comedians over the last couple of weeks, it’s been great to have a lot of laughs, excellent stress relief.

With seeing some of these guys multiple times now, you really notice that they re-use a lot of the same material. Think we might need a bit of time-out with some of them to allow for new material. It’s funny how just about all of them pay out on Adelaide (my old home town) during their sets, they all tend to play there before getting to Sydney.

Our last night of Sydney Comedy Festival events is tonight at The Metro, seeing fantastic Irish comedian David O’Doherty with his little Yamaha keyboard and his narky little songs.

April 23, 2010

Cracker Night 2010 / Eddie Ifft

Filed under: Live Comedy — decoded_ @ 12:18 am

Cracker Night Sydney 2010

The comedy has begun… We saw Tom Green last Friday at the Enmore Theatre. This week, on Tuesday night (20.04.2010) we went to the Sydney Comedy Festival Opening Night Gala – Cracker Night, featuring a variety of performers from the festival. You don’t actually know who is performing until you’re there on the night.

Here’s who we saw… (In order of appearance)

MC: Tom Gleeson

The Kransky Sisters
Dom Irrera (US)
Michael Workman
Dave Bloustein
Jackie Loeb
Peter Berner
Eddie Ifft (US)
Princess Cabaret
Fiona O’Loughlin
Daniel Townes
Daniel Moore
Jason Cook (UK)
Alonzo Bodden (US)

Had some great laughs for sure, from every act, a nice variety of styles, very quick/short sets, an excellent way to discover some new comedians. I tend to prefer the UK/US comedians, but certainly got some great laughs from the Aussies too. Perth ‘goth’ comedian Micheal Workman had a great style. I love the way Daniel Townes pays out on Aussie, bogan, bra-boy culture. We really liked UK comedian Jason Cook, with his frantic style. I think we might go see him as part of the ‘Bulmer’s Best of the Edinburgh Festival’ show, with two other UK comedians, if there are still tickets.

Cracker Night was held across four venues on the same night; Enmore Theatre, The Metro, Factory Theatre and Parade Theatre. We wanted to go to the Enmore Theatre one, but tickets sold out way in advance, so we ended up at the Parade Theatre one, at N.I.D.A in Kensington, first time there, it’s a nice big space, very modern.

Here’s the full details of who played which Cracker Night, a few doing more than one venue on the night.


Eddie Ifft

Eddie Ifft

Last night, Wednesday night, we were back at the Enmore Theatre in the tiny little ad-hoc Yalumba Wine Bar venue, to see US comedian Eddie Ifft with his ‘Things I Shouldn’t Have Said…’ show.

Having seen him the night before at Cracker Night, we heard quite a bit of the same material again, but the rest of his show was great, many laughs, I dig his style. We’ve seen him a bunch of times now.

A bit of an odd venue, very bright, small and hot, small crowd took a while to get into his style.

Have had some great laughs, but nothing has got me to the point of laughing till I hurt yet, lots more comedian’s shows coming up.

More data:

April 21, 2010

Tom Green @ Enmore Theatre : 16.04.2010

Filed under: Live Comedy — decoded_ @ 5:45 pm

Tom Green @ Enmore Theatre : 16.04.2010

“It puts the lotion on its skin, awwww, awwww, awwww, awwww, awwww, awwww, awwww…” (and repeat 100 more times)

iPhone photo by my partner Joanne, we had front row seats, 2 seats away from centre. Scary close, luckily he didn’t do any of that pick on the audience member stuff.

Tom was very funny, and strange, very strange, but certainly entertaining. Awesome to see him doing material from his movie, Freddy Got Fingered, and from his old cable TV show The Tom Green Show, live on stage. I’m impressed so much of the audience knew all that old stuff, lots of fans. Unfortunately there was also a fair amount of loud, obnoxious, drunken, bogans in the audience who couldn’t shut up for more than a minute, which was annoying at times.

He did a lot of yelling, pulling crazy faces with bug eyes, some observational humour. Spoke about some things he’s angry about, spoke about his tour and his love of Australia, talked about his life and some of his experiences, told us about his one testicle (he’s had testicular cancer). It wasn’t a typical stand-up comedy set, but that’s never been his thing. I love the way he gets into a loop.

He did some rapping and freestyling with beats at the end of the show which was cool. Oh and he smashed an acoustic guitar (encouraged by the audience) after playing/singing some songs earlier, getting the audience to join in, he had us singing “Hey mate, let’s eat some Vegemite, tonight”. I got a piece of the smashed guitar off the edge of the stage!

It was a fun, silly show, far from deep and thought-provoking, I laughed a whole lot.

This show was also filmed for later release on DVD.

He had a great time in Australia, check out his blog, and videos…

More data:

March 24, 2010

April / Comedy / Music

Filed under: Clubbing & Gigs,Live Comedy,Music,Travel — decoded_ @ 10:28 am

Sydney Comedy Festival 2010

So the Sydney Comedy Festival for 2010 is coming up, it’s on 19th April – 9th May, with a heap of international, national and local comedic performers, at various venues around Sydney. Go here for more info:

Joanne and I are going to see these guy’s stand-up shows:

Jeremy Hotz
Eddie Ifft
Russell Kane
Tom Green

We’ve seen Jeremy and Eddie a couple of times, and always enjoy their show, very different styles, both very funny. I’m scared and exited about seeing Tom Green for the first time live, we’ve got front row seats. Russell we saw recently on a Melbourne Comedy Festival Gala TV show and thought he was very funny, keen to check him out live. Hoping Arj Barker announces some shows soon. Might see if we can get to one of the Cracker Night events too.

Not many of our friends seem to share our enthusiasm for live stand-up comedians, but we love it, laughing till we hurt, great stress relief.


April is going to be a crazy busy month for us, on top of those comedic outings, music wise we’re also going out to see Seth Troxler, Agoria, and Redshape [Live]. If Chymera wasn’t on the same night as Agoria we would probably go to see him too.

Derrick May is also coming to Australia in April, but, is only playing one gig Alchemy in Melbourne, annoyed about that, keen to see him play again.

*UPDATE* Just announced! Derrick May (5 Hour Set) @ Picnic Presents… – 202 : Sunday 18th April (4pm-Midnight)

Speaking of Detroit techno, last night Claude Young announced he’s also playing in Australia in April at Every Picture Tells A Story, but looks like he’s not playing anywhere else, and it’s a super short visit downunder, damn!

There are heaps of other tech-house internationals on in April too, but I’m going to be a lot more selective as to who I see this year.

We’re also having an 80’s flash back in April, going to see Tears For Fears and Spandau Ballet together live in concert.

May starts off busy with the Creamfields festival at the Entertainment Quarter on the 1st with some tasty old-school techno names: Dave Clarke, Steve Rachmad, Green Velvet plus Joris Voorn and a whole heap more. Hoping for a dedicated techno area to keep ‘that’ crowd well away.

I think after all this, we’ll be content to stay home for months and save $ for our next Europe trip later this year, looking forward to getting crazy with our Sydney friends living in Berlin and London.

October 9, 2009

World’s Funniest Island – Cockatoo Island Sydney 17-18 October

Filed under: Live Comedy — decoded_ @ 12:40 pm

So this comedy event is coming in a couple of weeks. We’ve got tickets to the Saturday show. I’m looking forward to Alexei Sayle! It should be a blast!

World's Funniest Island Comedy Festival 2009


The Goodies
Alexei Sayle
Arj Barker

…Plus a whole boat load of Australian comedic talents…
Nick Sun, Austen Tayshus, Heath Franklin’s Chopper, Akmal, Jimeoin, Tommy Dean, The Chaser’s Andrew Hansen & Julian Morrow, Anthony Ackroyd and a heap more!

More info:

September 8, 2009

U.S.A last week of the holiday…

Filed under: Clubbing & Gigs,General,Live Comedy,Music,Travel — decoded_ @ 2:20 pm

So, jumping in back in time a couple of weeks here. Before I forget, here’s a list of what we got up to in the last week of our U.S.A holiday, in San Francisco and Los Angeles.

San Francisco – 4 days

– Door to door SuperShuttle mini-bus van to/from the airport.
– Stayed at the Orchard Hotel on Bush Street.
San Francisco Movie Tour – filming locations tour on a mini-bus
– Visited the Yoda statue/fountain at the Letterman Digital Arts Centre which also has the HQ of Industrial Light and Magic, LucasArts & LucasFilms, visited the foyer of LucasFilms, full of Star Wars stuff.
– Saw San Francisco City Hall used in films like A View To A Kill, and Raiders Of The Lost Ark.
– Saw the Golden Gate Bridge.
– Saw the Painted Ladies (houses) in Alamo Square, and Lower Haight.
– Checked out Pier 39, saw the stinky and funny sea lions at early evening one day, and afternoon another.
– Walked up and down hills.
– Rode on the MUNI cable cars, trolley cars, trams, electric buses (trolleybus)
– Ate chinese food for lunch in Chinatown.
– Visited Tweekin’ records, where Sydney’s club Tweekin’ got it’s name.
– Walked up and down Lombard Street, very pretty.
– Shopped in the Westfield and around Union Square area.
Transamerica Pyramid (where Miles works in Electic Dreams (movie)).
– Saw Miles & Madeline’s apartment 1117 Mason St. from Electric Dreams (movie).
– Had a drink in Francis Ford Coppola’s Cafe Zoetrope.
– Saw TV show Trauma being filmed in North Beach.
– Got annoyed at restaurants all closing their kitchens at 9.30pm when we were ready for dinner.
– Bought Levis jeans, so cheap!
– Walked around The Castro area, saw The Castro theatre, showing Bruno!
– walked up Haight Street, saw the Haight & Ashbury intersection.
– Ate and drank at the Magnolia Pub.
– Saw the Grateful Dead house.
– Saw Janis Joplin’s house.
– Visited the free San Francisco Cable Car Museum.
– Went to M5 Industries (Mythbusters) and took photos outside.
– Rode in taxis.
– Saw John Tejada & Steve Bug DJ at Mezzanine club.
– Saw Washington Square Park (Dirty Harry movie opening scene).
– Saw Saint Peter & Saint Paul Church Washington Square, North Beach.
– Bought Depeche Mode CDs and 12″ at Rasputin Movies & Music.
– Bought more plain T-shirts at Gap.
– Night tour of Alcatraz Island.
– My girlfriend Joanne broke her ankle on Alcatraz Island, an hour into the tour.
– Rode in a San Francisco Fire Dept ambulance.
– Spent hours at St. Francis Memorial Hospital ER department.
– Ate take away pizza at 2am at the hotel.
– Joanne spent a lot of time talking with, e-mailing and faxing the travel insurance people.

Los Angeles – 3 days

– Upgrade to premium economy class because of Joanne’s foot/splint from San Francisco to Los Angeles.
– Because of Joanne’s foot, she got assigned an airport security person to push her around in a wheelchair and we went to the front of every line/security checkpoint.
– Door to door shuttle mini-bus van to/from the airport.
– Stayed in the Hilton Checkers in Downtown, very nice! Great staff too.
– Saw Inglourious Basterds at Laemmle’s Grande 4-Plex theatre.
– Pushed Joanne around in the hotel’s own wheelchair, which we borrowed a few times.
– Caught up with an L.A based Internet techno friend Greg Riot Nrrd for Japanese lunch, in Little Tokyo.
– Saw the Disney Concert Hall.
– Ate a lot of room service, and at the hotel Checkers Downtown restuarant.
– Went to the Laugh Factory (West Hollywood), laughed for 4 hours, went to see secret guest stand-up comedian Jeremy Hotz (thanks to his Facebook update), and got the awesome surprise bonus of Dane Cook turning up. Other comedians performing on the night: Neal Brennan, Bobby Lee, Sebastian Maniscalco and a bunch more I can’t remember.
– It cost us almost $100 in a taxi to get from Downtown to West Hollywood and back, not cheap!
– Joanne spent a lot of time talking with, e-mailing and faxing the travel insurance people.
– Bought space invader key chains from the MOCA shop, didn’t get to visit the MOCA gallery/museum.
– Had a look around the downtown area we were staying in, walking by some filming locations of the movie Collateral.
– Pushed Joanne to/from Macey’s Downtown in a wheelchair, for some last minute shopping.
– Ate spanish food for late lunch, early dinner before heading to LAX.
– Travel insurance arranged for Joanne to fly home in Business Elite class, I stayed in economy.
– Bought a bunch of Godiva chocolate, perfume/edt, and alchohol duty free at LAX, so cheap!
– Watched on-demand movies on the flight home: Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, Matrix Revolutions, The Soloist, Pride & Glory.

More as I remember it.

September 4, 2009

Back home in Sydney via Los Angeles…

Filed under: Clubbing & Gigs,Films,General,Live Comedy,Music,Travel — decoded_ @ 9:45 am

Hello, just a quick update, sorry for the lack of info. We arrived back home in Sydney mid last week. It’s sad the holiday is over, and it’s no fun to be back at work. I miss being outside, walking around, doing and seeing new stuff.

So, as you may have heard, we had some drama during the last week of our holiday, my girlfriend broke her ankle on a tour of Alcatraz Island in San Francisco. She’s doing ok, much better now that she has a proper cast on (done here in Sydney this week) that she can walk on, to replace the temporary splint. She had to wait for all the swelling to go down from the injury and from the flight home before a cast could be put on. She got a little bit of DVT too, it’s all being looked after. Travel insurance should cover all the U.S.A medical, hospital, and ambulance $ costs. She got an upgrade to business elite class for the long haul, Los Angeles to Sydney flight home, allowing her to keep her foot/leg elevated, but not the best way to experience an upgrade is it. I have to say, everyone we came into contact with when it happened, and for our last days of travels and accomodation in the USA, was really helpful, friendly and genuinely concerned.

Being on crutches didn’t stop Joanne going to see Steve Bug & John Tejada DJing at Mezzanine in San Francisco, on our last night there, and then having 4 hours sleep before flying to Los Angeles. John Tejada was great, similar set/sounds to what/how he played in Chicago, starting with more deep-house/tech-house sounds, then getting into tougher, percussive and jackin’ techno beats in the middle, and then ending with some of his trademark melodic styles/sounds. We’re loving his remix of Bomb The Bass, due out soon, and his rework of Opus 3/Orbital’s Fine Day/Halcyon that he’s been ending his sets with recently. Steve Bug was great for the first 40 minutes, but then I kinda lost interest. Cool club though, great crowd, they know how to tune/run their Funktion One systems over there, that’s for sure. Smart Bar in Chicago had the same.

So, after San Francisco, we were in Los Angeles for 3 days, staying in downtown. We didn’t get up to a whole lot there, we ate a lot of room service. Made it out to the Laugh Factory in West Hollywood one night, and saw 4 hours of stand up comedians, with special secret guests Jeremy Hotz and Dane Cook! Laughed till we hurt, enjoyed that a lot. We decided to do that instead of seeing Steve Bug @ Avalon, and from what I heard after about that party/crowd, we made the right choice, too many people not there for the music I heard. We also got out to the movies on the other night, to see Inglourious Basterds, it was good, but not one of my fave Tarantino movies I have to say. Not sure if I mentioned, whilst we were in Chicago we saw a couple of movies there too: District 9 and Public Enemies, I loved District 9, was disappointed in Public Enemies, expected more from Michael Mann, Johnny Depp was great though. On the flight home to Sydney, I really enjoyed the new Robert Downey Jr and Jamie Foxx movie The Soloist, fantastic, go see it.

Anyway, will update this with more travel memories soon.

Will start blogging about Sydney’s techno/minimal scene again soon too. Some sh*t has gone down, looks like no more Lost Baggage, and those who were involved, have split and are doing separate things now. There are a heap of house/techno/minimal internationals coming to play down under over the next few months… Audion[Live], Oxia, Dave Aju, Omar S, Ame, Robert Hood, Michel Cleis, Slam, Steve Bug, Johnny D, Butch, Umek, Format B, Erol Alkan, Aeroplane, Henrik Schwarz, Glimpse [Live], Move D, Junior Boys, Alter Ego, DJ Pierre, Kolombo/Mugwump, Miss Kittin & The Hacker, John Dahlback, Laurent Garnier, Jamie Jones, Marco Carola, Nick Curly and more. No doubt many will be on the same night, which is always annoying. I hope to get out to a lot of them.

More soon, hope you’re all well.

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