Russell Crowe’s Indoor Garden Party
The Gentlemen Barbers
and Special Guests
He was named Rome’s Ambassador to the world last year, awarded as “Global Icon” by GQ magazine, but he was also barred entry from a suburban Japanese restaurant in Melbourne for not wearing the correct attire, on a Friday, at lunchtime, in 37° heat. A non story that became global news.
Whether he’s telling the story, or people are telling a story about him, life’s always interesting if you’re Russell Crowe.
In May and June, he’s playing music and bringing his Indoor Garden Party to towns and cities on the east coast.
An “Indoor Garden Party” is , he says “an event, a band, a happening. It’s fluid. The personnel changes, but it’s always big. It’s like a festival where I gather people I admire, musicians and storytellers, and we put on a show.”
Until January this year, with 2 concerts in his home town of Coffs Harbour, Crowe had not performed music in Australia since 2014. Yet, within that same time, he had done announced and unannounced concerts in New York, London, Leeds, Dublin, Stockholm, Reykjavik, LA and released the Indoor Garden Party Album, The Musical.
The concept started in 2009 in a pub outside London owned by the chat show legend, Michael Parkinson, and it has kept going in a haphazard, ad lib way ever since.
With this configuration, Crowe brings to the foreground The Gentlemen Barbers, who he has been quietly tinkering with for the last four years.
“There’s an attitude about this band. It’s got a groove. We do a lot of story songs, but we also know we are here to blow out the cobwebs and give the audience a good night”. Grabbing time between the shoots of films like Unhinged, Thor:Love & Thunder, The Greatest Beer Run and his next movie release, The Pope’s Exorcist, the band have been gathering, sometimes for weeks at a time just playing, recording, talking, gelling. The result went on stage in Coffs Harbour in January to packed houses, and it was decided, as they say, to “take the show on the road”.
The relationships within the band go back 30 years. Dave Kelly (drums) and Stewart Kirwan (trumpet) were members of Thirty Odd Foot of Grunts, as well as playing with Crowe in The Ordinary Fear of God, which included Stu Hunter (piano), and in its touring form also included Chris Kamzelas (guitar). James Hazelwood (bass) has fit right in and shares friendships within the band that go back decades.
Joining this tour are a pair of amazing singers from Ireland.
From County Tyrone in Northern Ireland is Janet Devlin. She first made a splash as a contestant in the 2011 UK version of X factor where she won the audience’s heart.
She has a uniquely beautiful voice and has continued to release albums and singles to acclaim since.
From the town of Cavan, comes Lorraine O’Reilly. Thrown together with Crowe for a duet on the Bible Code Sundays album “Walk like Kings”, they became friends and have performed together since 2017.
Famous for her gorgeous, rasping, powerhouse vocals, Lorraine has done Indoor Garden Party shows in London, Stockholm, Leeds, and at home in Ireland joining them on stage at the Olympia in Dublin.
Also on this tour, in acoustic mode, is a young Maroubra based Sydney band called Myth of Her. You’d think that opening a show with so many acts might intimidate a young band, but these boys got called back for encores at the two Indoor Garden Party shows that they performed at in Coffs Harbour in January this year. They are mature beyond their years and deeply talented.
This east coast tour includes pubs, clubs, and theatres. “I like playing in pubs. It’s what I did growing up. It’s my version of theatre. Even though my day job has a huge claim on my time, I’ve never not played music. My journey to film starts with playing in bands, touring around, releasing records. The band work led to musical theatre (Grease, Rocky Horror Show, Blood Brothers) and miraculously, a film director saw me performing in Blood Brothers and asked me to audition.”
The rest, as they say, is history. Some 40+ international awards later, including BAFTA, SAG, Academy Award, Golden Globes, Crowe still keeps his love for the immediacy of live performance.
Asked if the shows will change between pubs and theatres, Crowe replied “Probably. I imagine when everyone has a comfy seat, I’ll tell more stories. After all, that’s what it’s about, songs or films. It’s always about the story. In the pubs and clubs, we will be putting the foot down. The Gentlemen Barbers sway between R&B, Gospel, dirty country songs about murder, dark waltzes, and powerful inspiring singalongs. Should be a good night.”