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It's a choir but not as you'll know it; An Aussie choral group is heading this way, as Entertainment Editor GORDON BARR reports.


EXCITEMENT is mounting and timbers are shivering. Shops are running out of black coats and milliners are reporting brisk business.

Australia' s weird and wonderful Spooky Men's Chorale are back for their biennial blast round Britain, ready to exclusively reveal the role of the Spooky Man in the annals of history.

Their fifth UK tour, which takes in more than 30 UK venues and festivals, will see them heading to Hexham on Monday, August 19, to perform at Queen Elizabeth High School.

Before the concert there will the chance to take part in an open-toall Sing Like a Bloke workshop from 5pm to 6pm. You can wave goodbye to choirs as you know them. This one is a macho juggernaut - bold, bible-black, behatted, big as a behemoth and show-stoppingly good.

Sounding as sacred as a high church choir one minute, as stupid as a raft of drunks the next, it's massaging its awesome Antipodean vocal chords right now for a fifth fine-tuned foray to the UK.

We'll largely the old aside Following triumphant UK tours in 2006, 2007, 2009 and 2011, the Aussie larrikins are packing their bags in their native New South Wales, ready to whisk themselves away from the eucalyptus-for we've new spooky infused Blue Mountains for a whistle-stop run of some 40 gigs.

Fresh from a boot camp at a secret lakeside location and winning the Infinite Bees Gees competition at Australia's National Folk Festival, the mighty line-up will be unveiling a shiny new show and a spanking new album, The Spooky Man in History, which amusingly redefines the very genre they invented.

With a sound variously described as "sexy, powerful, impossibly gentle and sad but unmistakably male", their repertoire to date has ranged from Georgian drinking songs to whisper perfect ballads and a string of improbable original hits like Don't Stand Between a Man and his Tool and Stop Scratching It.

anthems Spooky veterans will still be reeling from their hilarious, elephantine retreatments of classics like Earth, Wind & Fire's Boogie Wonderland and the funniest version of Abba's Dancing Queen you are likely to witness.

The Spooks return to the UK with heaps of new songs mixed with some classics for good measure.

Playing their joker of "dropdeadpan stupidity, cavernous manchords and hairy, giltedged beauty" the 15-strong line-up will regale audiences with rib-tickling and sometimes heart-rending original compositions and eloquent arrangements by the inspired deerstalker-topped Kiwi choral impresario, Stephen Taberner.

The Spookies were formed by Melbournebased Taberner in Sydney in 2001, inspired by the great Georgian choirs. Speaking of the new album, Taberner says: "It's a kind of musical investigation of the possible history of grand masculine folly, which may include songs you sing at 4.30am to scare invaders away, a surfing anthem, an ode to one's own foot and a motivational pyramid-building theme for slaves.

"We'll largely put the old classics aside for this tour - we've got a whole new grab bag of spooky anthems."

Support guest for the tour will be acclaimed young Australian singer songwriter Lucy Wise, who draws inspiration from Appalachian and Celtic folk music.

Tickets for the 7.30pm show, priceed PS17 (benefit concessions and students PS13) are available from Queen's Hall Arts Centre on (01434) 652477 or online at Combined concert and workshop tickets are PS25.

put largely We'll old classics - tour the for this a whole aside got of bag we've grab new anthems spooky 40 Earth, Wonderland


The Spooky Men's Chorale
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Aug 5, 2013
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