THE SEARCH FOR
SOME KIND OF GENIUS.
THE STORY SO FAR
We've played Darwin, Newcastle, and Sydney so far, and bee joined on stage by some of the best performers in the country, as well as some of the smartest rock-brains in each city.
We asked some of our contestants if they would mind sharing their experience, so here are some of their stories.
FROM KEN BRODIE IN DARWIN
How many times have I whiled away a Saturday night in Darwin watching footy on television then flicking over to SBS to watch RocKwiz and then sadly departing back to the footy at show's end dreaming of being a panelist at the Espy. I even flew to Melbourne to see Crosby Stills and Nash at the Palais in St Kilda whereby I spent two hours prior to that show sitting in the Espy slowly drinking tap beer and just hoping like hell Julia or Brian would walk in, recognise me and then invite me to a recording of the show.
Well dreams became a reality for me when RocKwiz came to Darwin in August 2012 for the start of their Some Kind of Genius Tour. OK - this was it for me. I bought tickets for my wife and friends and ensured I was at the Darwin Convention Centre on the Friday night prior to the show trying my arse off to get a panelist ticket by holding my hands on my head and shouting out answers to Brian teasing us with questions on the promenade of the Darwin Convention Centre. Bugger it, I never quite made it.
Inside we went, eager in anticipation of a great show, me thinking there but for the grace of someone went I. Brian hits the stage and announces there are a whole bunch of panel tickets hidden amongst the audience. I look - nothing, my friends look - nothing. The punters in front of me find one and
announce "no way we can't do this." My friend dobs me in and I end up with a little yellow ticket in my hand and head to the stage with 24 other possible contestants, with a bemused, mile wide smile.
We're divvied up, I get in a group and what do you know there are actually a few questions I get to answer. Brian fires them out and takes the piss. I get to sing a couple of lines from a Neil Young song and then all of a sudden my RocKwiz stage debut is over. What a ball I thought, at least I wasn't totally dumb. The other panelists run the gauntlet and a final 4 are chosen to participate in the actual show. Bloody hell - my name is read out. Holy shit!! We wave the other panelists from the stage in a state of euphoric shock. Immediately we're dragged backstage and asked to sign some paperwork selling our bodies and souls to rock and roll. Brian introduces us to Julia as well as to each other. I have to admit that this old man was a pig in pork heaven. Brian is easy going, and Julia is just so super friendly. We discuss the format of the show, get divvied into teams and told that for
tonight there will be a karaoke section. Fellow contestant Liv and I were encouraged to be part of this. In for a penny....... Next thing we're whisked into the wings and get to meet James and Pete from
the band who run us through a brief version of "our song". Now these guys are musical geniuses and it suddenly hits Liv and I that we are going to be singing with the amazing RocKwiz Orchestra. How totally exciting. We wander out dazed to let our friends and partners know that there will be
one empty seat beside them for the show. Smiles all around and then all of a sudden we're backstage,
Brian is pumping up the crowd, Julia is introduced to a massive roar from the crowd and then we hit the stage. Our guest artists are introduced, do their number and then with a quick intro we're in to it.
Time just stood still as all of the panel started hitting the buzzers. Julia just hypnotised us with her stage presence but made us feel like we were such a part of this amazing show. You just can't help get caught up in the dizziness of it all. The RocKwiz Orchestra played, the million dollar riffs got us reaching for the buzzers, Julia and Bryan took us through a frenzy of questions, songs, laughter and just plain awesomeness. No better hosts have haunted a stage as these two.
All of a sudden it was Liv and I up and into it. The band cued us perfectly, we just got stuck in and took the bow. We looked at each other, yep it really happened. Proving that young and old, infirm or in form, RocKwiz was
simply one of the greatest moments of fun filled excellence that I had ever experienced.
No matter where you are, you simply must get to see this show live. There were great guests, great musicians and this amazing RocKwiz family who just embrace you and treat you like one of them. I dips me lid and restate that RocKwiz made this old guy one happy happy chappy. Still haven't stopped talking about it, probably never will until Bryan tells me to shut the fuck up (again).
FROM OLIVIA VAN WOERDEN IN DARWIN
I've been a huge fan of the show since it started and love spending Saturday nights annoying my husband and other assorted family and friends by "playing along at home" with a glass of red in one hand and a row of dark chocolate in the other. When he saw the show was coming to Darwin, my long-suffering husband got us tickets. I jokingly told him that I would love a crack at being a contestant he nodded and smiled politely as he often does when I name things I would like to do, but am unlikely to ever do (eg "I think I might try and run a half-marathon next year").
We were having a beer in the foyer before the show started when I spied Brian being mobbed by fellow music nuts and waving a couple of yellow cards around. I wandered over to see what the fuss was about and discovered the yellow cards were "wild cards" for the chance to play for a contestant spot on the show. Excellent. Brian held an impromptu quiz and I somehow managed to be the first to answer four questions correctly and was handed a wild card. To say I was stoked, would be an understatement.
When the show started Brian called for anyone holding a wildcard to come up onto the stage (there were 24 of us in total, a combination of winners of other impromptu foyer quizzes and some lucky punters who had a wild card hidden under their seat). We then competed in 4 rounds which were basically a five minute version of the show, complete with million dollar riffs. I got off to a very slow start (including a couple of very wrong and pretty embarrassing answers), but after a while I got onto a roll and ended up winning my round and Brian announced that myself and 3 other round winners were going to be the contestants (woohoo!)
What's it like being up there?:
I want to say surreal. But as it is one of the most over and very rarely correctly used words in the English language, I will say that it was both fantastic and very strange. Being up onstage, sitting next to Dave Faulkner (I love the Hoodoo Guru's) and answering my first correct question really was a "pinch me" kind of moment. Other highlights included proximity to the Rockwiz orchestra and to Vika and Linda Bull (two of the best voices I have ever heard), and marveling at the extensive knowledge of the guests and fellow contestants.
Even though I thought it would be horrific, a final highlight was singing "contestant karaoke" with fellow contestant Ken. Whilst I love to sing in the shower and in my car, I am five kinds of tone deaf and usually quite the introvert (as in don't like having to give power point presentations to groups of 6 at work). When I was told that I would be participating in the aforementioned karaoke I felt physically ill, but when it came time to do get up and sing I discovered that Ken had a fantastic voice and more than compensated for my off-key screeching.. We both had lots of fun and got lots of very positive feedback after the show (and at the supermarket, airport and the pub last week). Plus we got to sing with the RocKwiz orchestra, which is something I plan on bragging about at Christmas lunch this year.
I would recommend having a go at being a contestant to any one of your Facebook followers who are attending future shows. Actually, just having Brian ask us questions in the foyer was an absolute blast. Being on stage was very nerve wracking, but also very fun. The set, the cast, the orchestra, the buzzers and everything else you can think of was the same as what you see on telly so the whole thing felt very comfortable and familiar in a really bizarre kind of way.
Julia, Brian and everyone involved were exactly as they seem on Saturday nights, talented, funny and very genuine and they made the whole experience really enjoyable.
I'd like to thank you and your team for bringing RocKwiz to Darwin, we are often left off the schedule for major tours, but the town is full of music tragics and we all had a great evening.
FROM MARCUS MANCER IN DARWIN
Like many, I've a love for rock music, avidly read magazines and collect 100's of CD's. I have literally spent over $40K on my rock habit along the way gaining plenty of seemingly useless information. However, in one single night, the RocKwiz experience justified the lot!
In terms of how I landed on stage, it started with a wildcard offered by Brian outside the Darwin Convention Centre. I was having a few beers with my wife and colleagues, in total 11 of us music nuts got tickets near the front row. Once inside, uncannily 2 of my mates got wildcards from under their seats or passed up by neighbouring audience members.
So, 3 of us went into the onstage eliminations. After a nervous buzzer-fest of questions, 24 contestants were whittled down to 4, of which I wasn't one. I had done enough in my round to win but was pipped by a bloke in sort-of strange circumstances. Long story short, intermission fell and I was out buying more beers when I got a phone call from Tom to say get backstage pronto. The other fella graciously gave up his spot in an awesome act of honesty and the rest is history.
Tom and I got to sit together as team-mates and I had knowingly sucked myself into singing a duet with a bird on the opposing team, of all songs, a bloody Elton John cracker "Don't go breaking my heart". Shitting myself I hope I rose to the occasion and ended up kinda enjoying the spotlight….good thing the band drowned me out.
I think I got really lucky having Dave Faulkner and Kav Temperley as musical guests and brains trusts. I'm a big fan of their work and it was a real treat talking tunes. Incidentally, Kav was a past flatmate of Heath, the third contestant from our group of friends. Weird.
Thank you for producing such a dynamic show with downright vivacious and energetic hosts, deadset legendary guests, orchestral geniuses, tough MF roadies and entourage!
An absolutely amazing and unforgettable night. Looking fwd to your return to the top end.
Marcus is second from right in photos.
DEB LORD FROM DARWIN:
I'm still reeling from unexpectedly being a part of the 2nd Darwin show. If possible, please pass on my thanks to the woman who squealed and ran away from Brian after being led by him to the bottom of the stage steps at the start. Without her I would never have had the chance of being the random "opening act" with Brian on the night and taking part in the qualifying heats to go through and become a contestant.
The backstage crew were wonderful and very welcoming, Julia and Brian were gorgeous and the other 3 contestants were absolutely lovely fellas.
Personally, I think my favorite part of the whole experience was just getting lost in the pace of the night. I didn't get the chance to think, I just reacted and got involved in the moment. Which I must say, helped me to forget that I was on stage in front of people!!
I don't know who came up with the recipe for RocKwiz, but kudos to them. It is such a well structured piece of Australian entertainment.
And what an absolute blast after the show to chat with Jess Cornelius, Vika and Linda Bull and Shane Howard back stage while Dave Faulkner dug his way through the ice in the esky to get a beer for me!! ROCK ON!!!!!!
Please let Julia and Brian know that I have some fishermans pants on stand-by for them, when they
next come to Darwin!
Thank you everyone for making me feel a part of the RocKwiz family, it was 3 great hours of full tilt fun!!
The video is Deb backstage afterwards. Thanks to Shane Howard for shooting it.
ALASTAIR SCOTT FROM DARWIN:
We in Darwin are somewhat starved for live entertainment and so when RocKwiz announced a show we bought tickets straight away. Thank God you guys love us, not many do! I love the show, watch it regularly, ache for a beer at the Espy (am an old St Kilda resident) and like most, have a serious crush on Julia. I fancy myself as a bit of a rock brain (4 x older hippy sisters and a healthy 80’s living in Melbourne following the live scene).
When Brian approached me in the foyer seeking interested punters I had a crack at the questions and earned a wildcard. He spotted me care of my wife’s silk screened t-shirt featuring Elvis’ noggin. I felt a little nervous but knew I was being delivered into the capable hands of the RocKwiz team. The process from there on went into heats where 6 of the 24 picked went head to head in 4 rounds. After that process (don’t try to be funnier than Brian, you won’t get picked) four people are selected. Luckily I was one of them. We were taken backstage and welcomed into the fold. We met the production staff and then Julia. It was all very comforting and not at all freaky. Some of the best advice given was that even though it is a competition there’s no prizes and the main aim is to deliver a good fun show so if you know all the answers then back off on the buzzer and let the love be shared. No one likes a smart arse.
Once the show starts proper and you are sitting next to a bona fide rock star, Dave Faulkner in my case, it is time to sit back and drink it in while quietly muttering to yourself, ‘How good is this’. Watching Lucky drum up close, (I am an amateur stick man) nothing better; and I reckon the last time I saw Mark Ferrie play bass was with the Slaughtermen. Hero worship aside any game that offers you the chance to meet and kiss Julia is ok with me. She is such a gem and you can tell she really loves what she does. There is no going through the motions with her. So if anyone out there gets the chance go along get on the stage and have a cracker time. I know I did!