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.

Polash Larsen Announces First Single From His Upcoming Solo EP

Isolation (Tonight) will be available on all streaming platforms from Thursday 19th November 2020


‘Polash From The Garden’ is the forthcoming solo EP from The Offtopics songwriter & frontman and former Grenadines guitarist Polash Larsen. The EP is an introspective, reflective and occasionally whimsical offering from an artist more known for his on-stage antics and high energy performance persona.
Recording during the lockdown created unexpected opportunities to explore songs that couldn’t find their place in a band context. “It would have been easy to become negative, focusing on what we couldn’t do but we (Polash and sound designer and Tim Minchin engineer Darius Kedros) chose to lean into the limitations. If I couldn’t play it on guitar myself then we couldn’t bring someone else into the room to do it. There was no hiring fancy equipment. One of the tracks features a drum that Darius found in hard rubbish! I still try to focus on story when I write a song and the stripped back production puts the events and characters front and centre.”
A case in point is the single ‘Isolation (Tonight)’ which, in a subtle nod to the EP tittle, starts with a circular chord cycle similar to Van Morrison’s ‘In The Garden’ but then deviates into unexpected territory by contrasting languid vocal delivery with the underlying impatience of the rhythm guitar. “I wrote this song very early on in the pandemic thinking about people physically separated from their loved ones. It’s an anticipatory sort of song from the perspective of someone who’s trying to make the best out a date night over Zoom. It’s a song of frustrated romance.”
The EP makes a virtue of “making do” and is inspired by the acoustic bootlegs of Bobby Womack and Rick Rubin’s American Recordings with Johnny Cash. The EP title is a play on words referring to both the recording taking place at Kedros’ Garden Studio and the Bengali-Australian Polash being named for the flower from the Flame of The Forest tree. Illustrator Rebecca Stewart’s cover art was inspired by a New Delhi mobile Covid testing station depicting the artist as “the sort of Hindu god who keeps an arm free to pat dogs”.
http://www.theofftopics.com | management@theofftpics.com

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…

Screen Shot 2020-01-22 at 4.14.27 pm

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

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!

theofftopics_omid_021

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.

screen-shot-2017-02-02-at-12-19-55-pm

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”.

the-beulah-bullet

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!

dave

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

giphy

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/

This Advertisement Authorised by The Offtopics, Melbourne.

The Offtopics at Oussou

The Offtopics are back to rock Oussou.  Two delicious sets of fonky originals so we advise you to take your chance to dance.

This is our second gig at Bar Oussou this year as they trial a new curatorial approach to music.  Naturally we want to see them do well so we’ll be trying extra hard to put some junk in our funk so you better take the chance to dance!

You don’t have to take our word for it. Just ask your friendly neighborhood Spidey-butt.

Screen Shot 2016-05-17 at 3.39.45 pm

Anyone can dance to The Offtopics so don’t be afraid to show us your moves.

 

Even these moves…

Or these ones…

Or even…

http://giphy.com/gifs/3o6EhMDUHhSgpa4fTi/html5

giphy

Of course if you can’t make it to Oussou this Friday then here’s a dance party you can have at home courtesy of the good students of the “Humor and Code” Class at the Parsons School of Design and Technology.  Enjoy! http://gifdanceparty.giphy.com/

Entry is free this Friday.  Can’t do any better than that!

Offtopicsatoussou

 

The Offtopics are back to fonk The Catfish

In the worlds before this Friday… Primal chaos reigned. Heaven sought order.
But the Phoenix can fly only when its feathers are grown.
The four worlds formed again and yet again,
As endless aeons wheeled and passed… Hang on… enough Monkey business.

*Ahem*

All is well fonksters because The Offtopics are playing again this Friday at your favourite craft beer and sandwich haunt on Gertrude Street.

the offtopics ay The Catfish 22 Apr

That’s right – we’ll brook no timewasting!  There’s so much to do.  There are two whole sets of funky songs to get through before the night is over.  It’ll also be our last gig before we start doing some extended studio time prepping for our first ever album.  We’re really excited about this as *cue drum roll* we’ll be working with Nick Herrera who has previously recorded bands such as Hiatus Kaiyote and some other bands who you’ve probably never heard of.

Anyway – it’ll definitely be worth joining the conga line at the gig this Friday as we’ll be kicking out all sorts of jams.

There’s also a facebook event if that sort of thing floats your floating thing.

 

 

The Offtopics to play the LuWow’s Christmas revue with The Rebelles, Frosty the Snow Bastard and much much more on Saturday 19th December

XmasRebelles

If this is the Silly Season then you need Melbourne’s silliest band of bravos to usher it in.

Saturday 19th December sees The Offtopics team up with those mighty maidens of shimmy – The Rebelles – to wail on the whole Christmas thang.  There’ll be cocktails, dancing and Frosty the Snow Bastard’s Hissy Chrissy Karaoke all at Fitzroy’s finest Tiki Bar/cave of the Lava Goddess The LuWow.

Tickets $10 on the door.

Facebook event: https://www.facebook.com/events/949970995128333/

Don’t know much about The Rebelles and their shimmy shammy whammy?  Check them out here: http://rebelles.com.au/