Whoah-oh Red Betty… Bambalam…

That’s right folks!

The Offtopics are kicking off June with a cozy show at Brunswick’s newest, most magical music venue – Red Betty.  We’ll be playing on the world famous stage* down Houdini Lane.  For those of you not in the know, Moreland Magician, Dane Certificate (what were his parents thinking?!) built this performance space behind 859 Sydney Rd Brunswick a while back in order to perplex prepubescent people with pulchritudinous prestidigitation!

P-p-p-p-pppp-peh…

It’s now a bar.

And it’s friggin’ cool!

We’re playing a free entry gig supported by the hilariously talented Jo Cotsonis. She’s also pulchritudinous… look it up.

Red Betty Poster 2 June

Like the poster says – the doors open from 7 and it’s free!  Jo will be on around 8 and we’ll be on after.  Come along for a good time. Or even – dare we say it – a great time!

Here’s the Facebook event if you’d like to let us know that you’re coming… or if you’re “interested”: https://www.facebook.com/events/165137544163726/

In other June news we’re also playing a gig at The Union Hotel in Brunswick on June 16.   We also have some news about our third single launch “A Man Needs Cooling” but that’s in July – so you’ll have to wait for news about that.

 

 

 

 

*not actually “world famous”… yet.

 

Take me to the April Sunrise in Richmond…

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Today’s feature image depicts The Offtopics’ tenor sax wrangler, Omid Shayan, stylishly combining white water rafting with manspreading in the green room at 3PBS FM.  And without any further ado – time to manspread the news.  We assume that’s the correct way to use that term…

The band had a great time last Wednesday performing in PBS’s Studio 5 Live.  We played five songs during “Soul Time” and then Mark, Polash and Omid popped into the studio to chat to Melbourne Soul legend, DJ and all round good bloke Vince Peach.

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Polash, Vince and Mark – Omid took the photo.

Vince was in fine form despite wearing a limp after an unfortunate scooter dismounting incident in Tasmania.  Mark looks smooth as always and Polash looks… rough.  If he looks like a sweaty Bengali Babu that’s basically because he is one.  It’s also because, in spite of the fact that this was a radio performance and no one could see him, he insisted on dancing around the studio like a loon.  Actually – that’s not altogether true.  You CAN see the performance on this video here. The set kicks off at about 8 minutes in.  For better sound listen to the Soul Time show archive.  Vince introduces the band about an hour into the show.

The gig went pretty well and kind of caps off all the work we’ve been putting into our latest 7 inch vinyl release “Funky Grandma“.  Now that’s out of the way let’s talk live shows that everyone can come to!

APRIL GIG ROUND UP

Thursday 12 April – Windsor

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The Offtopics will play their signature blend of sexy soul and funny funk at Back Bar in Windsor.  Full disclosure: this event has been organized by and for the polyamourous community of Melbourne.  While no one in the band *ahem* “swings” that way we all believe in love.  Who doesn’t right?  Surely there’s no such thing as too much of a good thing, amirite???  The event organizer told us that this cocktail night is “safe for the general public as long as they are somewhat interested in socializing with people interested in open relationships.”  If that sounds like your jam then we’ll be playing funky danceable songs from 10pm onwards.  You can find out more and buy tickets here.

Saturday 28 April – Hurstbridge

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“Live at the Waterfall” is what this one’s called.  It’s a special dinner and a show type performance being put on by The Offtopics’ old mate Bill Lowe at The Post Office Cafe in Hurstbridge.  We’ll play two sets of original funk, soul and ska by the waterfall at the back of the restaurant.  It turns out that Vince Peach knows this place well and took pains to tell us that there’s an eel at the bottom of the waterfall.  It also turns out that Polash gets a bit deaf sometimes. The wheels almost fell off the interview because he was convinced the illustrious DJ was talking about having a “meal in his bottom”.  Oh dear…  There’ll be a bespoke menu and drink specials on the night.  Apparently capacity is limited for this one so you might want to purchase your tickets early.  See this link for more info about the event and how to buy a ticket.

That’s it for the April gig round up.  Stay tuned for further news.  2018 is gunna be big!

 

 

The Offtopics December wrap…

Hey ho all you Offtopicalistas,

What a year 2017 has been!  Before we get too drawn into looking back – here’s a quick look forward to this Saturday night at Cross St.

Cross St 16 Dec 17 Poster

Find the gig on facey here: https://www.facebook.com/events/2054401591457397/

Come on down.  We’ll open the doors at 8pm (as advertised) and start our first set around 8:30pm.  Plenty of time to settle in, maybe order some takeaway, grab a couple of cheap Cross St drinks and chow down during the first set?  Then dance dance dance away the calories for the second set!  …or lie back, clutching your bloated tum bemoaning your ill-advised Uber Eats choices.  You can do what you like at The Offtopics Cross St Christmas Party.

Now – consider 2017.  What a year!  It started with blood, loss and blood loss.  While the funk dynamo recovered from an overdue surgery of an “ahem” intimate nature we farewell’d founding fret monster Dan “The Man” Kerr.  Despite our sadness at his leaving (or maybe spurred on by it – who can say?) The Offtopics knuckled down and completed all the unfinished recordings started in 2016.

We welcomed two new plucky pickers into the band in Dave “Irish” Sheehan and Tony “Champagne” Shannon to fill the steel-capped Caterpillars of Dan Kerr and then it was all systems Off Topic from there on in.

Once you include this Saturday the band will have played seven gigs this year.  That might not seem like a lot by the standards of yesteryear but when you consider that The Offtopics is a collaboration of highly talented, highly sought after and busy individuals it’s pretty good!  The gigs we played went from strength to strength and we’re confident about saying that this is the best sounding version of the band ever.  Two of those gigs represented personal bests for us in terms of payers.  Our Single Launch at Melbourne’s iconic Cherry Bar smashed our previous best number of payers by a hundred percent!  No – that doesn’t mean two people paid to enter because the previous PB was one payer.  We got 120 actual payers at Cherry which is huge for us old folks late on a Thursday night in the CBD.  Owner James “Hound Dog” Young was on site and witnesses say he looked “pleased”.

You can see a little bit of the fun from that gig here.

The Legendary Vince Peach thought we sounded so good that night he invited us to do a live to air performance at 3PBS! (More about that later)  Soon after the launch he gave our single a spin and called it a “GREAT record” and said we “put on SUCH a GOOD show”.  Picture us chuffed… (No – seriously. Draw a picture of what the Offtopics look like chuffed and post it on our Facebook page.)

2017 also saw us form a productive relationship with Hot Off The Press Publicity who’ve been helping with the band’s record launch projects.  Parts 2, 3 and 4 of the “Back on The Zine” series will be coming out in 2018 – stay tuned! Part 1 is available now on iTunes, Apple Music, Spotify and most importantly you can buy a physical copy to own for your very own from the link to our bandcamp page on the music page of this website.  Or here if you’re feeling lazy.

The band pulled together at very short notice on a hot November night after some heavy rain to shoot a video clip for one of our songs.  Can you guess which one?  Many thanks to Nick and Ellie of “Daddy Bar” in Brunswick for being so kind to us that night.  We’ll launch that in 2018.

Outside of band business we’ve all been super busy in 2017.  Omid and his partner just enlarged their family by 50% this year (not a fat joke – they had a baby).  Amazingly his own band, Shayan, got even busier in the afterbirth.  Linc’s band The Deans launched an EP.  Howard made multiple baseball related trips overseas while keeping things copacetic with the Moreland City Band.  Mark Bretherton, in between dealing with clean energy and the politics of climate chicanery in his job, managed to have a holiday in the UK and Dubai.  Polash squeezed in a trip to Malaysia where he was MC’ing a friend’s wedding, returned to coaching the Old Carey hockey club (the team got to the elimination final but lost) and was generally super busy teaching at Melbourne Uni. Tim’s band, Johnny Longshot got more active as well, playing at the Jamaica Jump Up, flying the flag for Rocksteady in Melbourne and getting to share the stage with one of the legends of Jamaican music – Stranger Cole!

With all of that going on in the background:  seven shows, a film shoot, a single launch, completed recordings and exciting things lined up for 2018 we have to say it’s been a pretty good year!

With that in mind we’re going to quieten down for a couple of months before we resurface.  Plans are underway to launch our second single in mid March (see above when I said “more about that later”.  This is the “more”.

Ok – that’s enough. For now we’ll leave you with the immortal words of Viv Savage…

If we don’t see you on Saturday – you suck!  But also we love you and hope you have a great Christmas and New Year.

See you in 2018!

 

The Offtopics Christmas in… er… December at Cross St.

After getting drenched at the Erasmus School Fete The Offtopics are ready for some laid back fun at our little hobbit hole on Cross St East Brunswick.

Come and join us for two sets of amusing tunes.  There’ll be some new songs and some old favourites.  No support either so you don’t have to share us with anyone!

This is an early one – we’re planning on taking the stage from about 8:30pm so you can order your uber eats for the first set and dance off all the grease during the second set.

Doors: 8pm.   Entry $10

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In case you didn’t make it to our single launch gig here’s us playing “Sunrise in Richmond”.

The Offtopics at Cross St Saturday 17 June with Special Guest: Jo Cotsonis

Cross St 17 Jun 17 Poster

The Offtopics are throwing a house party (of sorts) and you’re all invited to the comfy surrounds of Moreland City Band’s Cross Street Hall. We’ll be cooking up an exceptional brew of original soul, funk and rocksteady tunes about love gone so wrong you have to dance it away.

On that theme we’ll be ably supported by the beautiful, talented and hilarious Jo Cotsonis. This former opera singer turned romance demographer takes the shattered bits of her rocky love life and turns them into songs that will make you want to sing along and then give her a hug afterwards. Actually… buy her a drink and THEN give her a hug.

All bar sales go towards supporting the Moreland City Band so we encourage you to carpool if you’re planning on taking advantage of the generous onsite parking.

Doors open from 7pm
Cover charge: $10
Jo Cotsonis: 8pm
The Offtopics (two sets): 9pm

Here is the Facebook event for more details if you like that sort of thing: https://www.facebook.com/events/161794644355232/

 

THE OFFTOPICS DANCE BAR OUSSOU THURSDAY 18 MAY

What do all those words mean together?

The Offtopics are back at Bar Oussou after a hiatus of TOOOO LONG!

Two fabulous sets of funky originals, crazy dancing and questionable physical comedy.

Will the lead singer get out the funky undies? Will the cat ladies come and dance? So many questions…

Only YOU have the answer!

Offtopics at Oussou 18 May

 

Find the event on Facebook here: https://www.facebook.com/events/750693651758440/

Getting Back On Topic

Well we promised news a long time ago and here it is 100% guaranteed not to be “fake”.

With an intro like that where to start? Where to start…?

Let’s go back further than we need to – let’s talk about this guy. Welcome aboard Omid Shayan!

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Photo by Emma Phillips

Yes – we know he’s been in the band since early 2016 but what a year it has been! A new American president, a new Australian Prime Minister and a sizeable percentage of every important 20th century icon of arts, culture and music – DEAD! That’s why we’re leading off with a good news story. Omid joined up to fill the shoes of the departing Jason Chalmers and brought with him not one but two saxy tones including both tenor and baritone.

Omid like many Offtopics players is a band leader in his own right. His own band “Shayan” play just the kind of structured jazz that made you think you wanted a picture of John Coltrane on your bedroom wall next to that Jimi Hendrix poster. Being Iranian, Omid likes to thread Persian melodic influences into his jazz. In the Offtopics though it’s all about dripping funk.

And he brought hair – SOOO much curly black hair! We think The Offtopics benefit from his low, baritone rumbles and, in our own small way, we like to think we’ve contributed a little something to Omid. Sometime in 2016 Omid and his partner found out they were pregnant.  Does associating with The Offtopics increase your sexiness and fertility? Well – you might think so. You might very well think that indeed but WE couldn’t possibly comment…

Moving the clock forward to the end of 2016 we lost Dan our guitar player. Don’t panic – he’s not dead – he just decided it was time to move on from the group. This was a bit sad as he’d been a massive part of the formation of the band. All of our early rehearsals were at his house – in fact, we recorded the early demos in his lounge room. If Dan hadn’t been so generous, sympathetic and kind to Polash after he left The Deans in 2012 there would be no funk dynamo.

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Photo by Emma Phillips

We’ll miss his exciting lead breaks and if you find that you are missing him as much as we are you can see him playing country in The Pheasant Pluckers and rocksteady with Tim in Johnny Longshot.

How ever will The Offtopics manage without a guitarslinger, you cry? Fear not! We’re incredibly lucky to welcome aboard two of the tastiest players in Melbourne. First up is Anthony Mark Shannon.

AKA “Tone”

AKA “Skull”

AKA “The Beulah Bullet”.

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Photo by The Funk Dynamo

Why so many nicknames? Well he usually goes by his middle name but we already have a Mark on keys and maracas. Having two would be confusing so for the moment we’re just going to use all of Mr Shannon’s handles until something sticks. Some trivia about this guy:  Did someone say “TRIVIA”???  As a former Sale of the Century Champ he’s officially the king of trivia in The Offtopics! Some of the other guys might find that hard to swallow but there may well be a new leader for obscure music history facts. The Buelah Bullet comes with a good music pedigree. His brother Dean was in Ballarat alt-rock outfit Epicure and his son is the creative force behind Melbourne dreamy rock band The Bickies.

When it comes to guitar this guy knows how to keep it “Stanky”.

And now onto the other part of The Offtopics double axe attack:

Introducing – or rather reintroducing Dave Sheehan!

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Dave had been taking a bit of a break from music and wasn’t sure if he could commit to a band – after all there were cricket finals to think of, work, family etc. The argument was clinched by his young son who took a break from riding the ferris wheel at Inverloch to weigh in on the quality of the band’s demos. It was decided. The “band was impressive” and “the grooves were dug”. “Dad, you should definitely join!” were the words of the young scion – and that was that.

Polash caught up with international Glenroy Pop Sensation Kylie Auldist at the launch of the Brunswick Music Festival. When he mentioned that her former Curtis Late bandmate Dave was joining The Offtopics she went very quiet and still for a second.

“How did you get him?” She breathed… “You are a lucky, lucky man…”

And The Offtopics are a lucky, lucky band!

That’s all for the personnel roundup. Stay tuned for the next installment where we tell you all about our studio project with Kalacoma’s Nick Hererra. There’s definitely a gig coming up in May and hopefully another one before that. All will be revealed but for now – get stanky and stay funky.

 

Vote 1 Offtopics for Open Studio: Saturday 2 July

Kudelka

Either way you look at it we’re all in desperate need of something realistic to look forward to on the 2nd of July.

Well here are some election promises The Offtopics will definitely deliver on:

  1. Booty Shaking music

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The Offtopics stand by their track record of funkifying the night.

2. Songs that will focus on what’s important to all of us.

Somebody Funked My Grandma

The Offtopics know what the hot button issues of the day are.

3. Melding the refined aesthetic sensibility of Sir Mixalot with Andy Griffiths “The Day My Bum Went Psycho”

There’s no black hole in The Offtopics’ booty.

4. Reliable looking candidates like this guy:

Tim

Awww… why wouldn’t you trust him?  Timmy just beams competence in this picture!

So don’t be disillusioned by the Open Studio Party this election.  Vote 1 Offtopics.  Dance, laugh and clap your hands at Open Studio Saturday 2nd of July from 8:30pm.

Open Studio: 204 High Street Northcote. http://openstudio.net.au/event/the-offtopics-bourbon-street-in-new-orleans-to-memphis-and-jamaica/

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