Violent Femmes headline a MONA free Block Party in 2018 to remember
Over One Thousand Onesies
Gripping Laser Lights
Bold Performance Art
Experimental Sonic Forms
Interpretative Dance And Movement
Edgy Engaging Live Music
Artisan Food and Beverages
It’s the MONA Block Party!
Images by Jim Jacob
Words by Rob Dickens
Since its establishment in Tasmania, Australia in 2011, the Museum of Old and New Art (MONA) has quickly established itself as a style and artistic magnet.
The museum is located on a picturesque wine estate and is the largest privately funded such facility in Australia. Its visionary owner David Walsh has filled the architecturally awe-inspiring Museum with his personal. extensive collection (over 400 items). But the influence is anything but geographically or culturally-specific. Many events in its home town of Hobart and northern cousin Launceston spill out into many areas with brilliant celebrations of art, theatre and performance.
MONA hosts the outdoor MOFO festival (MONA FOMA), and the wintertime Dark Mofo, with an exciting range of live performances and art exhibitions. Brian Ritchie, bassist for the Violent Femmes, is musical curator for these events.
The MOFO program for 2018 runs over eleven action-packed and eclectic days from 12-22 January. Featured overall are Gotye, Canada’s Godspeed You! Black Emperor, The Launceston Block Party (headlined by the Femmes), The Femmes Again, this time with the Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra, USA’s Jamie’s Woods and Moor Mother, Brian Jackson and the Southern Gospel Choir and Mayhem (Norway) – plenty of diversity.
Block Party 2018
The Courtyard of the Queen Victoria Museum and Art Gallery used to be the Launceston Rail Yards. The area has been either beautifully developed or thankfully left as is and we are surrounded by reminders of days past – blacksmith shops, fitter and turner sheds (where, incidentally my late father used to toil decades ago) and unused heritage tracks and sheds. Throw into this a brash modern event and somehow it works beautifully.
Admission was free.
Music On The Day
The day’s music line-up was eclectic and interesting.
Evan Carydakis Quartet provided a saxophone, drums, guitar and bass tribute to John Coltrane’s seminal album A Love Supreme, which Coltrane created after experiencing a spiritual epiphany.
Bassekou Kouyate and Ngoni Ba Proto wowed us with psychedelic rock and blues from Mali. Bassekou is a maestro of the ngoni, an ancient West African lute, and singer Amy Sacko gave us some hauntingly sublime vocals.
Medhanit Barratt is a talented local, Launceston indie-pop singer-songwriter.
And favourites of mine, Slag Queens who, according to the officialprogram are “Queer gals from regional Tassie playing post-punk, garage and pop slop. They like feminism, glitter and pizza, and pride themselves on not being able to play their instruments very well”. They were bitingly effective.
Milwaukee’s legendary acoustic punk rockers Violent Femmes ripped it up. Last time I had sighted them on stage was so long away I can’t remember where or when. The joyful songs came soon flooding back, bringing smiles to the band members (singer, guitarist and songwriter Gordon Gano, bassist Brian Ritchie and drummer John Sparrow, plus the latest recruit saxophonist (and actor) Blaze Garza who provides some horn muscle). The crowd was in a rapture, singing along with glorious gusto.
The Femmes put the P in Party today.
Some of the glorious tunes were “Blister In The Sun”,”Prove My Love”, “Love Love Love Love”, “Country Death Song”, “Gone Daddy Gone”, “Gimme The Car”, “I Held Her In My Arms” and the languid closer “American Music”.
Other Performers On The Day
Damien Barbeler and Anna McMichael
Jason Whatley Quintet
Jon Rose and Julia Reidy
Violent Femmes headline a Block Party to remember