Home > Reviews > Live Reviews > 18/11/2011 | Axis of Awesome – Academy 2, Manchester

18/11/2011 | Axis of Awesome – Academy 2, Manchester

Catherine May


As I searched for a seat in Academy 2, I quickly established there would be awkwardness wherever I chose to sit. Let’s face it: Going to a seated gig on your own isn’t the most ‘done’ thing. Fortunately, I found myself a nice aisle sit next to another lone listener who was quick to admit Axis of Awesome were her guilty pleasure.

Three unassuming Australian men promptly took to the stage, with frontman Jordan relaying how their entrance normally would be were they performing in an arena. Riding an invisible yak in front of invisible fireworks, he paraded around the stage as Benny (the musically talented one) began to play the piano.

Fusing together music and comedy, the result is more in your face than fellow Aussie Tim Minchin. The punchlines are quick to come around, but they always deliver the expected crowd response. Actually, that’s something I wasn’t fully expecting at the show. The whole set is scripted and it was only when the crowd did the unexpected (like when a lady behind me shouted out her love for Benny) that we got to see a glimpse of the quick wit behind the songs.

Highlights of the set included a great visual performance of How To Write A Love Song and an energetic rendition of Birdplane. Benny-mocking was the theme of the night with Yes, I know (The Jack Black Song) comparing the pianist’s petite build to that of Chicken Little.

As the set drew to a close anticipation for the band’s biggest hit was obvious. The scripted introduction began. We clapped. We whooped. We threw them off script. And then they began playing those four chords and made a remark about how they knew this was the only reason we were all here.

Performed live, The 4 Chord Song is even better than the Youtube viral that got Axis of Awesome noticed. It’s been updated to include more recent hits but still featured the likes of Don’t Stop Believing and Save Tonight before ending in the usual fashion with the slightly altered lyrics from Missy Higgins’ Scar.

After an encore of guitarist Lee’s much promised Ode to KFC, the crowd piled out of the venue with a good 80% of them waiting downstairs after the show to meet the band. I quietly slipped out the front door but left with the realisation that Axis of Awesome were my new guilty pleasure too.


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