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Colin Hay Kicks Off St. Patrick’s Day Weekend at The Variety Playhouse



Originally, I was considering titling this article, “Colin Hay vs. St. Patrick’s Drunkards,” but modesty and respect for the artist and venue veered me away from that title, but not enough to leave it out of this review. On Friday, March 16, Colin Hay played the Variety Playhouse in Little Five Points to a sold out (or nearly sold out) seated audience. Hay is currently on a solo tour for his 2011 album, Gathering Mercury. If you are not familiar with his name or sound, think front man for the popular 1980’s group Men at Work that had hits including, “Down Under,” “Who Can It Be Now?,” and “Overkill.” Still not familiar? Ok, or maybe you would recognize him from his guest appearance on the hit tv show Scrubs (in an episode titled “My Overkill”), where he chased an emotional J.D. (Zach Braff) around while playing his guitar and singing, “Overkill.” He has also been on the soundtrack for Scrubs and the movie Garden State, as well as making special guest appearances on the Larry Sanders Show and a birthday serenade for Ellen on the Ellen DeGeneres Show.

Musically, Hay continues to have the strong, distinctly booming voice that he is famous for and makes a wide variety of guitars sing with him. He’s not much of a showman on stage, preferring to stand, sing, and play guitar instead of opting to walk the stage, sit, or make wild rock gestures, but his singer/songwriter style and ample anecdotes (stories and jokes) do not require him to be a stage showboat. He spoke poignantly about his childhood, his meeting with Sir Paul McCartney (of The Beatles fame), and the hilarity of “goats appearing and fading away” for one music lover. The beauty of his craft is in his ability to weave his life’s tale into funny stories and song while keeping the audience in stitches and awe throughout the set. His set list included classic tunes from Men at Work mixed with his solo work.

The timing of his appearance at the Variety Playhouse proved to be hard on the audience because several had already started their St. Patrick’s Day weekend of drunken revelry (which was way more boisterous and obnoxious than the audience was for his show last year). Hay received a bit of loud retorts and commentary from the peanut gallery during his set, which was annoyingly distracting and not necessary for his style of music. A few drunken audience members opted to talk during several songs, which persuaded and pissed off other concert goers, setting up for heated arguments and discussions that were eventually subdued by others. Luckily, Hay seemingly shrugged it off and kept his enthusiasm during his set and even stayed afterwards for a meet and greet, photo op, and memorabilia signing.

photos by Gary Phillips

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Colin Hay Set List included these songs:
Wayfaring Sons
Who Can It Be Now?
Into the Cornfields
Beautiful World
Gathering Mercury
Family Man
Going Somewhere
Dear Father
Prison Time
Send Somebody
I Just Don’t Think I’ll Ever Get Over You
Waiting For My Real Life To Begin
Down Under

Artists to Watch

Cry With Us! Puddles Pity Party in Orlando



Ange Alex

I owe him a poem:

Here’s a story of a sad clown who one night in February was traveling through O-town. 

He brought a suitcase and a lot of gum, he brought music and videos and tons of fun.

He sang high but mostly he sang low, and he put of one hell of a good show.

He gave a bearded guy a cupcake and danced with a lady, a wolf he would make

There is no doubt he is a boss sir, he even got love from Kevin Costner.

Fans filled the plaza for a night of delight as the 7 foot clown gave us some real insight.

He sang Bowie and Queen and even some Who, also Cash, Lorde and “Let it go” too

Videos played of pets and babies crying, also beautiful artwork and people smiling.

Last night Orlando was anything but mad as we showed much love for a clown that is sad.

Ok, I’d cry too after that poem. Here’s some more info:

If you haven’t been to see a Puddles Pity Party show, you are missing out. 

The show had me smiling and laughing so hard my stomach hurt, but I was also moved so many times by the range of Puddles voice. True entertainment never gets old and I have a feeling he is going to last forever.

I loved the interaction he had with the crowd. He pulled numerous people up to help him on stage and all of them were good sports, one man even singing the entire song, “All by myself” karaoke style! The show was so well thought out and planned but with room for some hilarious improv. Especially at the end when he pulled the 3 fans from the audience dressed like clowns. At the end of them performing together, Puddles suddenly remembers that he is scared of clowns! Genius! 

Hands down one of the best performances I’ve seen in years.


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Holiday Fun

Kingsized Holiday Fun! Big Mike is Back at the Variety Playhouse!



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Big Mike Geier and his Kingsized Rock ‘n Roll Orchestra, along with the Dames Aflame Dancers, Lil’ Santa and other special guests, bring tidings of comfort and joy with their signature glitz and glamour in what has become a tinsel-time tradition at the Variety Playhouse. The all-ages 90-minute show features your Holiday favorites by the likes of Bing Crosby, Nat King Cole, Andy Williams, Heat Miser, The Grinch and more!

Photo: Emily Butler

We caught up with Big Mike to ask a few questions.

TBB: Big Mike! It’s been a couple years since we had the pleasure of seeing you perform live. We are so excited to be back in Atlanta and we are ready for this show. What can you tell us about this years event?

Big Mike: Welcome back to Atlanta, Ange! We’re also excited to be in town for another wild and wonderful Holiday Jubilee. We like to honor the tradition that the Jubilee has become and don’t mess too much with the format. You can expect the always magnificent sounds of the 12-piece Kingsized Rock ‘n Roll orchestra performing your favorite holiday classics and the dazzling Dames Aflame dancers providing the glamour. The show is all about holiday nostalgia, whatever that means to you: Bing Crosby, Andy Williams, Donnie Hathaway, The Grinch, Rankin Bass, Peanuts, the Dreidel Song? It’s all in there.

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Music Gallery

Turkuaz at Aisle 5



Brooklyn based funk band Turkuaz played at Aisle Five in Atlanta last week and here are some shots from the show!

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