The Offtopics GIG UPDATES July and Onwards

Gig Updates, but wait… there’s more!

Soul, Funk and Ska at the Macedon Lounge – Saturday 24 July

Well, here we are on the other side of a snap lockdown in Victoria and live music is more important in the community than ever. With that in mind we’re taking a double-headliner show with our friends The Deans of Soul to the Macedon Lounge on Saturday 24 July for the good folk up there.

This will be an all ages, free-entry gig so if you’re in the area, bring the kids and pile on the winter calories while we put the “go-go-go!” in “dinner and show”.

You can find a Facebook event here if that sort of thing is useful for you: https://fb.me/e/1degMoKOL

Back in Richmond the following week…

Our monthly residency kicks off at P.O.M.E on Saturday 31 July. There really is no place like P.O.M.E…

Based on our first two performances there we’ll be experimenting with our show which means new songs, new schtick and… NEW STEPS! (apologies for the Strictly Ballroom Reference… though Tim will do the pasodoble to make up for it). There are even plans to make use of P.O.M.E’s unique projection set-up to make things interesting.

It’s tough being a band that plays dance music when a global pandemic forces the government to go all Footloose just to keep us alive. But we’re committed to taking creative risks while keeping the biological risks under control to keep the show fresh and fun.

POME’s great, the staff are amazing and the cocktails will blow your minds! What’s even better is that our first residency show coincides with POME’s Oysterlux experience so come down to one or all of these shows there. The combination of Oysters, Cocktails and The Offtopics are proven to be great for your mental health!

The Offtopics at POME.

Speaking of Mental Health…

Today marks the final day of the Push-Up Challenge to raise awareness and funds for mental health causes. Polash has been a passionate pusher-upperer for three years now. By the end of today he will have completed 3318 push-ups across 25 days to raise money for Lifeline.

If thought of his little, balding head bobbing up and down make you feel charitable then you can donate here: https://www.thepushupchallenge.com.au/pushuperer/37161

All donations above $2 are tax-deductible of course (and they might even help someone back from the brink)

Well, that’s if for this newsletter. We’d love to see you at a show soon!

Lots of love,

From THE OFFTOPICS

The Offtopics NEWS June/July

Hey there Offtopicos!

We’ve got big gig news for you with a slate of gigs starting in July. Yes, we know we’re not even into June yet but if you’re anything like us then HEAPS of notice is needed before even your pinkie toe ventures out the front door. That stakeholder management takes time!

So with that in mind, here’s a slew of gig dates for you to put in your diaries. Hopefully we’ll see you at a couple at least…

The Macedon gig is something Linc and Polash have been working on almost since the day Linc moved his family up the mountain. Both of them have a lot of community in the Macedon area – particularly amongst the cats and dogs.

Linc took up the reigns this year as the juniors coach of the Macedon Cats Football Club while Polash has a dog-sharing arrangement with a local family.

Both The Offtopics and Linc’s band The Deans of Soul will play for the good folk of the Macedon Ranges on the 24th of July.
Mash the “wonder dog” stars in this video clip Polash made during the second lockdown in Melbourne.

Following on from that is the start of our monthly residency at P.O.M.E. What can we say about this venue? They’ve been so good to us, offering us our first post-Covid live show back in March and then another one in May. Things have gone pretty well since then to the extent that they’ve locked us in for five more shows throughout the year.

The lucky folk who came to those both of those early shows would have picked up on the evolution between the two gigs including this impromptu duet between Linc and Polash.

Photo by Lorinda

We’ll continue to keep things fresh and different so you can expect new songs, special guests, obscure covers, danceable tunes and of course the deliciously awkward pre-show interview conducted by Bernie the proprietor. For some, watching Polash squirm before the show is the highlight of the night!

Photo by Lorinda

Bookings for our shows at this amazing venue in Richmond are live now on their website.

That’s all the news for now! Don’t be afraid to drop us a line if you want to get in touch or you’d like The Offtopics to play at your event. We’d love to hear from you!

The Offtopics NEWS April/May

Hey there Offtopicos!

Here’s the big news first. Our gig at P.O.M.E in Richmond was such a success that they actually asked us back. So here’s an official invitation to attend our return show on Saturday 8 May or as we refer to it – the alternative Australia Day.

We’ll kick off around 7:30 with two sets of music. Last time we nervously plucked our way through 17 original songs but we’ve got the bit between our teeth now and we’re aiming to go over and above with even more slapstick soul, unsteady rocksteady and punchdrunk funk than before.

Ticketing details can be found here: https://www.bernzerk-pome.com.au/event/the-offtopics-7-10pm

Part of the deal at the Palace of Magnificent Experiences is that they film and livestream the gig. You can see a little bit of it at this link: https://fb.watch/4LmRcXUCf7/

Don’t worry shy people – the cameras stay focused on the stage for these things.

Put it in your diaries, folks.

Photo courtesy of Ian Row

There’s so much going on but we’re going to try to squeeze it all into this newsletter regardless.

Friday 23 April sees the return to the lands beyond the Quinoa Curtain that special event known as the Merlo Shindig. Polash’s good mates The Short Order Schefs are putting on a show dedicated to their love of Jamaican Music. Offtopics bass man Tim Webb will be there with his own band Johnny Longshot boldy holding down the support slot while playing their special blend of Rocksteady and early Jamaican Pop.

Word on the street is that your very own Funk Dynamo will be taking care of MC duties on the night to ensure that it’s a Funky Reggae Party. Here he is in action with The Schefs back during the Melbourne Lockdown with a tribute to the late, great Toots Hibbert.

Behind The Music with Ellie D

A few weeks ago Polash sat down for an extended chat with Toowoomba Music Entrepreneur Ellie D, who also happens to be the driving force behind the brand new digital radio station OzNow.

The pair of them recorded a leisurely chat about all things music business and creativity and that episode is now available wherever you find your favourite podcasts. Check it out!

Well that’s a wrap on the news for now. Don’t forget to put the P.O.M.E gig in your diaries and we’ll see you there!

The Offtopics LIVE at P.O.M.E this Saturday Night!

To say that a lot has happened in the last year is something of an understatement… but what didn’t eventuate, for obvious reasons, is a whole heap of Offtopics gigs.

Those of you who witnessed our experimental Zoom gig back in December will recall that we certainly gave the whole iso-performance thing a red-hot go. Thanks to some excellent sound and lighting the show was something of a qualified success but there ain’t nothing like the real thing baby! (with apologies to Tammi Terrell)

So with that in mind we’d like to invite you to P.O.M.E this Saturday night to witness the rise and rebirth of The Offtopics.

The venue is a cosy sort of place so it might be the perfect location to showcase our new songs and new sound for some old favourites. A leaner Offtopics outfit with our ersatz funk dynamo back on guitar duties will see us pushing towards a 70s R&B sound in the vein of Gil Scott-Heron and Bill Withers.

Check it out – Tickets here: https://www.trybooking.com/events/landing?eid=713171&

Bookings essential in this Covid aware era!

And here’s a FB event if that’s your thang: https://www.facebook.com/events/264484728574342

Come on down for some fun times, great music and delicious cocktails.

See you there!

With love from Huw, Stu, Linc, Tim, Polash and the whole extended Offtopics crew!

P.O.M.E is at 267 Swan St Richmond and The Offtopics will be playing two sets from 7:30pm.

Offtopics Dates, Gigs and More for 2020

Hi everyone!

Here’s the first newsletter for 2020.  Anyone tuned into our Instagram will have seen that we’ve resurfaced and we’re working on new tunes for the new year.  There’s plenty more to report vis a vis forthcoming gigs, recording plans and our funk dynamo’s India trip but before we get underway we have a bit of sad news to relate.  Keyboardist, ofttimes guitarist and founding member Mark “Bretho” Bretherton has announced that 2020 will be his last season playing midfield with The Offtopics.

Mark

He has some burning personal creative projects (including finishing that novel he’s been working on) to get through this year. Obviously we’re very sad to see him go but we support his endeavours. On the positive, he’s committed to playing the following two gigs so make sure you get along to those to wish him well.  We’re also looking for someone to fill his jumbo size converses so forward any recommendations if you know someone seeking to become a new hot topic…

BIG BOOTY AT THE BOWLO
The band is kicking off the year with a fun, family friendly show at the Thornbury Bowls club on Sunday 16th Feb.  We’re very excited to be entering into, what will hopefully be, an ongoing relationship with the promoters, Rinkydink as they seek to activate Bowls Clubs across Victoria.

The Offtopics at the Thornbury Bowlo

This is a ticketed show that includes barefoot bowls and bar prices that haven’t changed since the 1970s.  The band will play two funny, funky sets from 2:30pm. You can BYO a picnic and there’ll be prizes and giveaways on the day including a copy of our Back on the Zine Collection (valued at $100).

For more info as it pops up there’s a Fecebook event here: https://www.facebook.com/events/535132840575293/

SHEPP GOT SOUL 2020
Friday 27th of March we’re travelling further afield to The Vault in Shepparton for The Shepparton Festival where we’re collaborating with our good friends the Deans of Soul to put on a night of original, funky disco and dance music. Punters who came along to our show at Bar Open last year will have an idea of what’s in store as The Offtopics put out a vibe that’s kooky and rambunctious followed by the Deans being smooth and unctuous. Great fun WILL be had.

Shepp2020

Tickets go on sale at the end of January from: http://www.sheppartonfestival.org.au/

IN OTHER NEWS…
Our resident funk-dynamo is playing a solo acoustic show at the Foreigner Brewing Company on Thursday 6th Feb. He may, or may not, be getting paid in Pilsner…

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In any case come along around 6:30pm to hear him play a selection of Offtopics tunes and other old favourites.

You can find out more at the Facebook event.

NOOOOO CHOONS…

Plans are afoot to record and digitally release some new songs this year.  As you know there are stalwart tracks that get a good showing live like “The Love Wombat”, “One More Time (Now With Feeling), “Mr Tonight” or “Tomorrow is a Month Away” haven’t immortalized in code.  We’re going to try to get these onto the world wide web this year.  Make sure you stay in the loop for news about digital launches and download giveaways!

PARSI THE DUTCHIE ‘PON THE LEFT HAND SIDE

In the “Not entirely confirmed but geeze I hope we pull it off category” some of you might be aware that Polash went to Mumbai before Christmas to pursue a bizarre opportunity to play on a pair of floating restaurants moored outside the Taj Mahal Hotel and the Gateway to India for a luxury yachting event.  He’s always had smooth music leanings but this is probably ridiculous… Anyway – if the stars align we’ll be flying to Mumbai for the last weekend in November to play some gigs in India. Stay tuned…

Key dates

First Friday Funktacular at The Moldy Fig

The Offtopics Moldy Fig Residency

Special guests, long-form performance, theatricality and hijinx… These are all the things you get to flirt with when you have an ongoing relationship with a venue.  We’re very excited to announce the commencement of our residency at The Moldy Fig!  Dorelle, the owner and chef, enjoyed our first outing there featuring Tony Pain and Richard Giles from our buddies The Short Order Schefs so much that she invited us to be regulars once a month.

We’re looking forward to playing some laid-back New Orleans themed tunes during dinner and then serving up some crazy funk for dessert.  And, of course, playing at The Moldy Fig sees the return of our signature cocktail “The Stormy Steamboat”.

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More details on the Facebook event.  We hope to see you there sometime in the coming months!

The Offtopics with Mary Webb at Cross St

Cross St Poster 12 July.jpg

Coming up this Friday at Cross st is a funtacular winter warmer.  Your loveable purveyors of punch-drunk funk and unsteady rocksteady are doing an earlyish show at Cross St.  Supporting The Offtopics will be the delightful ex-Adelaide import Mary Webb.

Polash met Mary a couple of weeks ago at the I Manage My Music workshop and hit it off almost immediately (meaning she displayed a high tolerance for his Dad jokes). Mary’s voice has hints of Angie Hart and Suzanne Vega.  We’re hoping she adds a bit of class to our otherwise shambolic act.

Here she is a few years ago back in Radelaide:

Friday’s gig will be an EARLY one with Mary taking the stage around 7pm.  All the details are here on Facebook (if that’s your jam).

In other news, Tim our bass monster, has developed an obsession with this song:

What do you reckon? Should we cover it? Was Ian Dury taller than Polash?  Let us know!

Polash Goes Back in Time…

Polash Goes Back in Time The Brunswick Green Sunday 7 July 7pm

We have a few little announcements to make and the picture above is related to one of them.  More than just a gig, our resident Funk Dynamo, songwriter and showrunner has been working up a solo show of stories, songs and images.  It’s an intimate and personal journey through his life, his musical influences and how they relate to the songs he’s written over the years. It’s also an hilarious account of his parents’ marriage, their subsequent divorce and that time he took his father’s ashes to be scattered in the Ganges.

This showing at The Brunswick Green on Sunday 7 July is the second rendition of the show since the first one in May at Red Betty (see below).

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He’s taking a slow and steady approach to this by presenting it in small venues every couple of months but eventually the plan is to take it around the country performing it in people’s living rooms.  It’s all about that search for a feeling of being at home…

Here he is feeling at home at Red Betty:

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Find out more about the showing at The Brunswick Green here.

This focus on solo work doesn’t mean that The Offtopics are on hiatus – far from it!  Your favourite vendors of punchdrunk funk and unsteady rocksteady have shows coming up on Friday 12 July at the Cross St Hall.  Friday 2 August sees The Offtopics start a monthly residency at The Moldy Fig.

Watch our socials for more as it unfolds…

The Offtopics Eat A Moldy Fig

Why is the featured image a picture of Kraken rum?  Well it all has to do with the gig we have coming up at East Brunswick’s The Moldy Fig.

We’re playing for the first time at this delightful New Orleans themed bar, and to commemorate the occasion, their clever mixologists have come up with a signature cocktail called “The Stormy Steamboat” involving Kraken Spice Rum, passionfruit & lime charged with ginger beer and a spritz of grapefruit bitters.  Egad!  Surely a couple of those will make you as unsteady as our Rocksteady?!

This gig is happening on Saturday 1st June at 120 Lygon St East Brunswick.  The first set is at 9 and hopefully you can join us for what may turn into a beautiful relationship over time.  More details about the gig here on Facebook.  Let us know there if you’re coming (if that’s your jam) or just drop us a line via email. We’d love to hear from you.

Besides the inaugural signature cocktail we’re being joined onstage by a couple of guest players from The Short Order Schefs – Richard Giles on Sax and Tony Pain on guitar. Fans of the Schefs know just how good their musicianship is so you’re definitely in for a treat.  Music historians might recognize Tony from this 90’s era music video at about the 2 minute mark.

His hair’s a bit shorter now and he’s rocking a more blues funk approved axe but the question remains… “What is Australian culture?”

Maybe The Love Wombat will know?  Or Funky Grandma?  Debuting in the first set will be a new song introducing another quirky character to The Offtopics repertoire called “Mr Tonight”. Don’t miss it!

This should be a really fun one.  With all the doom, gloom and disappointment of the last couple of weeks we’re really looking forward to tearing it up at The Moldy Fig on Saturday 1st of June.

“Back on The Zine” EP Launch 4pm Sunday 18 November 2018

Event cover

Those of you familiar with the chap in the hat will, of course, recognize him as Frank DiNamo from the first three releases in the “Back on the Zine” series.  The final release will be a beautiful 12″ vinyl EP in a gatefold press.  Why a gatefold? Because it will take a full two pages to conclude the comic strip story that started all the way back in October 2017.

Single Launch 1

The Offtopics launching “Sunrise in Richmond” at Cherry Bar in 2017 (Photo: Con Cotsonis)

Part two, “Funky Grandma” got a live on-air launch during Vince Peach’s “Soul Time on 3PBS in March 2018.

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Pictured Right to Left – Mark Bretherton (looking smooth), Vince Peach (looking cool) and Polash Larsen (looking like a sweaty goonda) (Photo: Probably Omid with Mark’s phone)

Part three, “A Man Needs Cooling” saw The Offtopics return to the scene of the crime… er… (the band’s first ever gig was at the Brunswick Mechanic’s Institute for a Metanoia Theatre Season launch).  The band packed out the theatre and put on a fabbo show!

1st choice

So much pointing! Don’t they know god kills a fairy when you point?? (Photo: Eddy Acheson)

The show also included this video shot by Patrick Stapleton and starring Donna Dimovski-Kantarovski.  We shot the video at Brunswick’s Daddy Bar and had heaps of fun in the process.

 

And now, Sydney Road’s iconic Spotted Mallard will host the band for the final installment – the big, fat 12 inch to finish it all off.  This beautiful record comes with the aforementioned gatefold cover and an A1 sized poster designed by the inimitable Melanie Myles of Hybrid Expression.  The poster is designed to let all you collectors hang and display the full Back on the Zine story.  Here’s a sneak peak!

Offtopics A1 Poster-Proof-Mockup.jpg

This is how it’s supposed to be. Don’t miss out!

The EP will include all the hitherto released material as well as two additional songs.  One of them is our rollicking cover of the old Jo Jo Zep classic “Shape I’m In“. We Offtopics merely stand on the shoulders of giants like Joe Camilleri, Tony Faehse and Jeff Burstin. (We also love Wog Rock!) Joe Camilleri once said to Polash that “It’s better to have one really good thing than a whole pile of shit”.  Our Funk Dynamo is clearly hoping for one of those over the other.  Guitarist Dave Sheehan (who plays cricket with Jeff Burstin at Clifton Hill CC) is hoping he doesn’t cop too much crap over our version of this great Aussie anthem.

So what the hell is a “zine” and what does “Back on the Zine mean, anyway?  The term, short for magazine or fanzine, comes from the counter-cultural publishing movement of the 60’s and 70’s.  A lot of comics and music writing got printed in this format.  Pronounced “zeen” there’s also a wry association with us old musos being back on the scene – though did we go away?  Perhaps we did…

We’d love to see YOU back on the scene with us though, on Sunday 4pm 18 November at The Spotted Mallard.  The Offtopics being family men (for the most part) have chosen a family-friendly time to get their funk on.  This venue is pretty kid-friendly (for a place without play equipment – Polash DID try to find a place with both a PA and a slide…) so bring the whole family if you like.  Kids enter free.  There’ll be plenty of food and drink.  We’ve been working on this whole series since April 2016 – literally two and a half years by the time we launch.  Don’t miss out! Come celebrate with us in November.  We’d love to see you at what will most likely be our last gig for 2018!

Tickets are available via Moshtix

The Facebook event is here.

And you’ll be able to buy advance copies (along with previous releases) here.