You never know your luck in a medium-sized city! Tripod meets Tenacious D meets pub rock in the 5-piece Dustbin Hoffmans, and their show Brisbanality is part rock, part cabaret, all brilliant Brisbane.
Performed in the heritage-listed, renovated substation at Woolloongabba, Brisbanality combined storytelling, music, and pieces of Brisbane history. The band played against a projected montage of then-and-now images of Brisbane’s streets mixed with old videos and newspaper headlines. Most of all the show is filled with humorous, toe-tapping tributes to such icons as the Brisbane river, the Bradfield highway, and unlikely homegrown hero Steven Bradbury, the latter performed to footage of Bradbury’s 2002 Winter Olympics victory, which had the crowd cheering and clapping along.
Their songs also spanned to more serious and less Brisbane-centric themes, including drink driving and the end of the world, but these all fit neatly into the narrative. The entire performance was cleverly crafted and flowed smoothly between songs, storytelling, banter, and prop use, from the progressive revealing of old newspaper headlines to the live music.
The band had great onstage chemistry – they were clearly having fun together, and this easy-going enjoyment transferred to the audience. I learned a lot of fun and interesting facts about Brisbane’s history (which, as the Dustbin Hoffmans joked, only began in 1988 with World Expo) and was particularly impressed by ‘Brisbane Kind of Love’ which made some excellent Brisbane suburb name puns. I would consider myself a Brisbane newbie, having only been here for five years, but this show was brilliantly devised and representative of everything I have found endearing about the place that remains, still, Australia’s newest world city.
Review of May 12 performance.