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Why RockWiz Live! Is Bigger, Bolder & Rowdier Than Its TV Counterpart

29 September 2015 | 3:36 pm | Steve Bell

"We've got a little bit more license to muck around."

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TV music quiz institution RocKwiz is hitting the road once again, this time hosting a themed RocKwiz Live! Salutes The ARIA Hall Of Fame bash, and the show's co-creator and 'music brain' Brian Nankervis explains that it's a natural extension of this year's RocKwiz Salutes The Decades concept which worked so well on the small screen.

"We're really happy with this latest season of RocKwiz — it's really seemed to touch a nerve with people — and having a similar structure that we can work towards [with the live show] will be great," he tells. "We produced an ARIA Hall Of Fame night about four or five years ago at the Hordern Pavilion [with a heap of great bands doing tributes] — it went really well. [The Church frontman] Steve Kilbey gave an amazing speech when they were inducted into the Hall Of Fame — it was remarkable.

"It's important for the industry to keep bringing up new talent, you can't sit in the past and just always have old artists."

"So we ended up pretty good pals with the ARIA people, and we'd see them from time to time and say, 'You know, we should do one of these again — what if we do a whole show based on ARIA Hall of Fame artists?', and then someone came up with the great idea, 'What about a whole tour?' So it's sort of a chance to honour some incredible artists, to delve back into the history of Australian rock, but also it's not all too far in the past — there's plenty of artists who are still playing, and in true RocKwiz tradition we'll have younger artists interpreting classic Australian hits which were performed by these Hall Of Fame artists."

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Nankervis agrees that this live performance aspect has long been a major part of RocKwiz's allure.

"Right from the very first show we did in November, 2004 we had Paul Kelly on the show and we had this idea of artists doing a duet at the end of the show and he suggested this young girl from Little Birdy, Katy Steele, and they were just starting at that point but the pairing worked really well. Audiences loved the fact that it was someone that they knew and loved like Paul Kelly, but they also like the idea of seeing new talent — I think it's important for the industry to keep bringing up new talent, you can't sit in the past and just always have old artists. It's just a matter of striking a balance which I think we do really well."

Furthermore the live arena gives all and sundry the opportunity to let their hair down a bit.

"The live shows are great — they're bigger and they're bolder and they're a bit rowdier in a way," Nankervis chuckles. "Because there's no cameras — the live shows are not being filmed — that means that we've got a little bit more license to muck around, and I think for experienced performers when you do muck around you find new ways of doing things, you discover things. I think audiences love the fact that they're in on something special that no one else will see."