📅 Damian Cowell’s Disco Machine – Xmas Show

Damian Cowell's Disco Machine @ Corner Hotel December 3rd 2021
RSVPed Attending Damian Cowell’s Disco Machine – Xmas Show

They’ve been locked away for two years like a shrivelled up inflatable Santa in a cupboard – but now they’re BACK! Damian Cowell – the master of insatiably catchy wrongness – and his party animal Disco Machine are ready to bring you Disco Christmas – a non stop bell-wiggling, floor-shaking festive dance party, featuring the snake-hipped boogaloo moves of the great Tony Martin – you’ve never seen him like this on Have You Been Paying Attention! With highlights from his mind-blowing animated graphic novel web series Only The Shit You Love, plus some Christmas classics as only he can reinvent them, Damian Cowell his Disco Machine and Tony Martin will help you forget the world, forget yourself, and have the best night out in, well, two years! Come in Disco Christmas fancy dress and win a prize! If you’ve been to a Disco Christmas, you’ll know how good this is – limited tickets so this will sell out. Don’t miss it!

A part of me wonders how much of my joy from seeing Damien Cowell’s Disco Machine live was going to my first post-COVID gig (actually my first gig since seeing Smashing Pumpkins in 2012), but whatever it was, the night left an undeniable mark.

I love the surprise of hearing an unknown artist. I had no idea what to expect from Twinkle Digitz, Will Hindmarsh’s one man show, the support act for the night. When I purchased my ticket, there was no mention of a support act so there was no pre-gig Googling. Twinkle Digitz mixture of samples, voice and live instrumentation felt reminiscent of many busking gigs I have seen, such as Reuben Stone. Just can’t imagine hearing Shit Eatin’ Grin in the middle of Bourke Street Mall. One of the things that I like about the set was how even though he used program beats and samples, there was something loose about it all that made me feel that every performance was most definitely unique.

In regards to the Disco Machine, this was my first time seeing them live. Although I had heard all the albums, watched the documentary Disco ex Machina and captured a few clips online, I was still unsure what to expect. Although the set started with a crack at Christmas, for me it started with (Here Comes the) Disco Machine. When the song dropped I was hooked. I remember having a similar experience seeing Radiohead circa 2003 and having the same apprehension until they started belting out the drums for There There. It also hit home why virtual performances can not replace the physical experience of being there.

The band played a mixture of new and old tracks, including Get Yer Dag On and My Horn Plays La Cucaracha. One of the things that I was intrigued by was Tony Martin’s role. Although he took a few songs to come out, once on stage he was a central part of proceedings. I really enjoyed what Martin brought to some of the songs, such as the back and forwards between he and Cowell in All DC Wants For Christmas.

My only disappointment with the concert was how soon it felt it was over. However, I don’t think I realised how exhausting such an intense performance actually is.

One of the strange things about the gig was how It felt like close nit community, a ‘reunion party of close friends’ maybe. It kind of felt like everyone knew everyone, but then again maybe that is because I knew no one. It also still seems strange to be contemplating live music once again.

6 responses on “📅 Damian Cowell’s Disco Machine – Xmas Show”

  1. Twinkle Digitz
    I told my daughter I was going to see Twinkle Digitz. She asked me who the heck that was. After seeing Twinkle Digitz now for a third time (first, second), I kind of ask myself the same question every time. I played her Boogyin’ with my Baby-o and she said that I like it because of the synthesisers. That is clearly a part of it. However, I think that it is more than that. Even though the music and performance is carefree, slightly daggy and sometimes very silly, I think there are anchovies to be had. Also, there is something chaotic about the music that draws me in. Even though so much is based on triggers, it still feels like it could break at any minute, especially amidst an impromptu jig mid song.
    I have lost count of how many times I have watched / listened to his An Apocolyptic Evening stream. Yes I was there to see Damian Cowell, I did not even know that Twinkle Digitz was the support until a few days before hand, but when I found out I was not going to miss it for the world. He played all the usual tracks, such as Pandora’s Box, Shit Eatin’ Grin, Boogyin’ with my Baby-o, Dancing ln My Dreams, God Machine and Blackmail Boogie. However, he also played a couple of newer tracks.
    The first addition was In the City. This is a song of contrasts, with its blissful guitar driven verse which then explodes into the chorus. In some ways it reminds me of Radiohead’s Palo Alto. This he played when I saw him at Thornbury Local, but I could not hear it at the back. The other addition was the ‘almost finished’ It’s Autonomous Thomas, a song he supposedly co-wrote with ChatGPT. This had a different feel, although it was built on a rich bed of arpeggios, it was a bit more of a slow build.
    I am hoping that the mention of ‘almost finished’ might mean that one day there might be a Twinkle Digitz album or EP. There is definitely something missed when it comes to high-fidelity depending on the streamed video recordings. But then again, maybe there is something about not necessarily knowing what you are going to get each time Twinkle Digitz performs that is a part of the appeal.

    Damian Cowell
    I saw Damian Cowell’s Disco Machine a few years ago after the release of Only the Shit You Love. I wondered if I was biased by it being the first concert I went to post-lockdown. However, I was not disappointed second time around.
    Some artists are just different live. Sometimes it is the energy of the performance, sometimes it is the sound, sometimes it is the reimagination of the songs. For Cowell I feel it is all three.
    I love the wall of sound produced live and the energy that comes with this. In addition to the singers up front, with one less musician on stage this time and a reduced percussion section, there was more space for Andy Hazel and Gordon Blake to bounce around at the back of the stage. (I especially loved Hazel’s shuffle associated with Sanctuary.) While the contrast between Cowell and his back-up singers brings out something different to the music. Although many of these parts are often present in the recorded music, in a song like Fuck I’m Dead, they provide something different to Cowell’s original recording.
    After both gigs, I was intrigued with how Cowell never seems to rest on his laurels. I imagine he could just turn up and roll out the hits, but instead he always seems to be trying new things, playing different, even if it is his old music. For example, he played Garbage from Machiavelli and the Four Seasons. The choice felt like it was as much about Cowell’s modern sound as it was about some token rolling out the past. The only disappointment was that Cubase / visuals crashed halfway through the show, although nothing as bad as the video from The Zoo. Even with all the efforts mid-song to get the computer up and running again, some things are just not meant to be.
    I Shit Me
    Fuck I’m Dead
    (Sort of) Emo
    The Arseless Chaps
    The Boy In The Box
    Cool For Catamites
    Market Forces
    Damian Cowell’s Disco Machine
    Get Yer Dag On!
    This Is Bullshit
    S Club
    Where the Fuck’s the Vengabus?

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