Electric Circus

23 May 2012 | 9:32 am | Stephanie Liew

Well, it’s a great lifestyle. The least fun part, I guess, is just all the time on the phone and the internet, dealing with emails and arguing with people about money and all that kind of rubbish.

The Woohoo Revue have been driving around the country for a couple of months now, spreading the joy and merriment of their second album, Moreland's Ball, since its launch at the Port Fairy Folk Festival in March. Three-point-five years after the release of debut album, Dear Animals, the band took a break from their constant touring to lock themselves away in a secluded farm in the middle of nowhere and write “music for celebration; party tunes influenced by the music of many different cultures,” says guitarist Dannie McKenzie.

The final show of the tour will be held at the Hi-Fi this Friday, and it sounds like the imagery evoked by The Woohoo Revue's gypsy/Balkan/circus/folk tunes will be enacted in real life. There will be an electro swing-dancing competition (“so people can get nice and carried away”) followed by support acts The Tiger & Me and then Mikelangelo & The Tin Star along with go-go dancing troupe Go Girl Gadget Go Go. “Yeah, we're gonna incorporate some circus acts and all kinds of bells and whistles,” adds McKenzie. So, you know, it'll just be your average Friday night gig. (Not!)

It sounds like McKenzie gets much more excited about the live performance side of being in a band than to the recording side. “Well, it's a great lifestyle. The least fun part, I guess, is just all the time on the phone and the internet, dealing with emails and arguing with people about money and all that kind of rubbish. So yeah, just getting out on the road and going from place to place and playing to different crowds every night, that's, of course, why you do it. The recording side of things is really satisfying too, though; like, you really crave the creativity. As fun as going out performing every night is, you've got to keep coming up with new material to stay inspired, and seeing how the crowd reacts to new things is really the most exciting thing.”

McKenzie recalls the first time The Woohoo Revue played to a festival crowd. It was the launch of Dear Animals at the Folk, Rhythm & Life festival in 2008. The band were fairly new at the time, and they didn't think much of their time slot. It turned out much better than any of them expected. “It was just absolute hysteria. Everybody just went completely stupid; there were people catching the speaker stacks as they were falling down, people were just spilling onto the stage... somebody actually smashed their head open on a fold-back wedge and turned around and sprayed the crowd with blood. That was pretty brutal.” Perhaps equally as brutal was when violinist Sarah Busuttil, who “tends to get out into the crowd”, went to jump back on stage, missed, and busted the neck of her $15,000 violin by landing on it face-first. “I don't know why most of the memorable things are rather tragic,” laughs McKenzie.

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He brings the mood back up with an uplifting story about their show at the National Folk Festival in Canberra this year. After Port Fairy's sedate crowds (“everyone's got their chair”), which was not the usual response The Woohoo Revue bring, the band were feeling dejected. “We'd been driving all day and things had been really hard, and we were about to be on the road for about six weeks and everyone was just jackin' it, like, 'I don't even know if we wanna do this any more.' We had gotten [to the National] and, at our first show late at night, just played the first note of this tune and everyone's face just exploded. Everyone just lit up. Those little moments... it's all worth it. Those magical experiences are the things you hang onto; they're the pay-offs.”