It’s an older crowd than one might expect to see the enfant terrible of Australian comedy. As people take their seats the intro music is a long and explicit song about fellating multiple cowboys (Ram Ranch by Grant MacDonald, if you are feeling like a jolt to your day – 300% NSFW). Much loved member of the Doug Anthony All Stars, former host of Good News Week, The Sideshow and Think Tank, painter, thinker and antagonist Paul McDermott takes to the stage in a glorious Victorian dress coat and sets about berating Adelaide’s casual reaction to the threats of the on-going pandemic. Where are our masks? And social distancing? He reminds us that COVID could still kill us all.
All the songs tonight are brand new, written in lockdown, and dealing with various themes of isolation, cleanliness, politics and mortality. Sounds grim, but nothing could be further from the truth. From the Beach Boys-style (Who Touched The) Touchscreen, the hilarious Scomo No Homo, the songs are melodically strong powerful and lyrically biting. McDermott tells us that his childhood, in some ways, prepared him for the pandemic in a song called Every City In The World Feels Like Canberra In The Seventies (On A Sunday).
Accompanied by talented guitarist and backing vocalist Glenn Moorhouse, McDermott sings the heck out of these songs; his voice is powerful and beautiful, sometimes delaying the reaction to what he is actually singing. The stories are excellent and the music magnificent. There is a prolific amount of swearing, but we are all grown-ups and nobody left.
After a couple of delays when getting side-tracked or completely forgetting lyrics he had only recently written, McDermott realised they were going to run out of time for all the songs in the set. ‘‘We’ll have to cut that and that...’’ he says to Moorhouse before they launch into a song of psychedelic hope called Pete’s Magic Machine. While singing about celebrity chef Pete Evans’ $25,000 machine to cure COVID19, McDermott frugs and go-go dances, spins and flips his impressive grey main, through several false endings. The longer it goes on the funnier it got, with the audience struggling to keep time clapping while laughing hysterically. ‘‘If you want to see the rest you’ll have to come back,’’ he says as they took their bows.
I will tell you this, do not to be in too much of a hurry to leave the vicinity…
Paul McDermott’s shows are selling fast, so do not delay!