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Picking Up Crumbs: Colin Hay

24 May

Colin Hay just might be the best stand-up comedian I have seen in a long time, not to mention a damn fine solo performer. For the first of two sold-out nights at the Cedar Cultural Center on Friday, for the hour we were at the venue, the former Men At Work frontman played only four songs, but told so many downright hilarious stories that no-one was complaining about being cheated on their ticket price. After being introduced by a thoroughly incongruous announcer (think “Sunday Sunday Sunday!” over “Wipe Out”) Hay was down to earth and full of good humor, joking about his sales (“It was years of multi-platinum and then fucking nothing!”) and only having a couple hits to string together in a show (“I’ll use the hits as a condiment, they’re like pepper. You know when you go to a restaurant and they offer you pepper and it’s never quite enough? Can I have some more? I’m sorry we’ve run out of hits, I can interest you in some album tracks?”)

Colin Hay “Who Can It Be Now?” from CakeIn15 on Vimeo.

The best and most circuitous stories had to do with his younger drug-taking days and his recent tours with Ringo Starr. Recalling the Men At Work Grammy performance in 1983 where they won for Best New Artist he copped to being very stoned at the event, and as Jerry Lee Lewis left the stage from his performance, he kept asking his manager, “How was I?” “You was beautiful,” over and over until Lewis passed the Men At Work dressing room and smelled the marijuana and turned to them, saying, “You guys are evil.” “Well that’s the pot calling the kettle black,” Hay deadpanned. He mentioned that his right eye has only about 7% of it’s sight, saying “It’s called a wandering eye. It never reports back to me. I did a tour with Ringo Starr in 2008, Edgar Winter was on that tour too and between us we had one good eye.” When he actually played, songs like “Wayfaring Sons” and yes, “Down Under”, his voice was strong and direct and his acoustic arrangements of the tunes filled up the appreciative room. Hay seemed to like the room right back, smiling out, saying, “It’s nice to play somewhere cultural. I mean that, because I have played some fucking shit-holes.”

Local songstress Brianna Lane opened up the night, charming and excitable as always, her song “California” about California being a sort of state that you could have a summer fling with was a special highlight of her short opening set. Staciaann shot the whole event for, so you can see those pictures here.

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