I dare you to step out of your entertainment comfort zone

ACO principal violinist Satu Vänskä. Picture: Supplied
ACO principal violinist Satu Vänskä. Picture: Supplied


What’s the last gig you went to?

The Illawarra is becoming a rich mecca of musical delights from the hottest stars who rock a sitar from Mumbai to intense classical crescendos to break a violin bow at.

Earlier this month my partner and I decided to see the Australian Chamber Orchestra (ACO) at Wollongong Town Hall and actually loved it.

It raised eyebrows amongst some of my colleagues. They knew I like to have a dance to a live band or dj, but didn’t realise I also get a kick out of classical music (and jazz).

It’s been a while since I’ve seen an orchestra live but the music was a mix of melodies from hundreds of years ago to fresh works making their debut.

The intensity of the music and the physicality of producing such a sound was astounding and seemed to have the same feeling as watching a suspense thriller at the cinema.

Actually, the contemporary pieces could very well have been the soundtrack to a Jodie Foster movie.

The ferocity of principal violinist Satu Vänskä during one of the works was so intense it actually snapped some of the hairs on her bow, with myself (and maybe the rest of the audience) fearing the possibility of her instrument exploding.

Once complete the audience gave a standing ovation because skill like that would be equal to Slash or Metallica’s Kirk Hammett in one of their intense guitar solos.

Who could have thought classical music could be so entertaining.

The other thing I noticed was rather than rock gods looking angry or pop queens posing with seductive pouts, the facial expressions of these musicans would range from intense concentration to smiles - these guys really enjoyed what they were doing.

Meantime the Wollongong Town Hall was packed for this show.

Also this month classically trained singer Katie Noonan brought the sounds of Brazil to the IPAC. 

Earlier in the year three of India’s finest musicians performed at Wollongong Con in a jazz fusion with Matt Keegan, while a Sydney folk/pop musican brought a West African harp to town and the South African Zulu was sounding through Thirroul.

What was the last gig you saw and how would you rate it?


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