Men, singing songs. some of them are funny.

The Spooky Men’s Chorale is a vast, rumbling, steam powered and black clad behemoth, seemingly accidentally capable of rendering audiences moist eyed with mute appreciation or haplessly gurgling with merriment. Based on the twin pillars of grand foolishness and the quest for the perfect subwoofer-rattling boofchord, the Spooky Men seek to commentate on the absurdity and grandeur of the modern male armed only with their voices, a sly collection of hats and facial hair, and a twinkle in the eye.

Formed in the Blue Mountains of NSW in 2001 by Christchurch born spookmeister Stephen Taberner, the Spooky Men soon attracted attention with a judicious combination of Georgian table songs, pindrop beautiful ballads, highly inappropriate covers, and immaculate man anthems like “Don’t stand between a a man and his tool”, all of which amounted to a manifesto for the new breed of man: happily suspended between thug and wimp.

The Spooky Men first attracted wider attention at the National Folk Festival in Canberra, 2004, which led to appearances at Woodford Festival and the first of six tours to the UK in 2006. Standout appearances amongst their 500+ gigs since have included (in Australia) WOMAD, The Great Escape Festival, Woodford, Cobargo, Port Fairy, Blue Mountains and Bellingen festivals. ABC TV appearances include The Mix, Spicks and Specks, and the New Inventors Grand Final.

In the UK/Europe they have appeared at major festivals including Tonder (Denmark), Cambridge, Broadstairs, Wickham, Camp Bestival, Towersey, Shrewsbury, and Edinburgh Fringe. Theatrical venues have included Union Chapel (London), St David’s Hall (Cardiff), The Philharmonic (Liverpool), Colston Hall (Bristol), the Sheldonian (Oxford) and Sage Gateshead.

The Spooky Men have recorded six CDs: Tooled Up (2004), Stop Scratching It (2007), Deep (2009), Big (2011), The Spooky Man in History (2013), and Warm (2015).

In live performance, the Spooky Men draw on a combination of musical and theatrical values which are elusive and multifarious. Notable themes and antecedents include Georgian male polyphony, a running joke on man as a vast, oblivious useless object, whispers of clown, bouffon and Monty Python, and forays into massively pleasurable grunting tribalism. The audience are invited to first joyously endure a wall of mansound, then laugh stupidly, then venture into areas of great tenderness. It is ideally not so much comedic as hilarious, not so much shimmeringly perfect as human in a very deeply resonant way.

PERFORMANCE HIGHLIGHTS

Over 560 gigs since 2001 to a total audience of in excess of 250,000

UNITED KINGDOM

Liverpool Philharmonic Hall 2013 2015
St David’s Hall Cardiff 2015
Colston Hall Bristol 2015
Camp Bestival 2015
Broadstairs Folk Week 2006 2011 2015
Shrewsbury Festival 2006 2009 2015
Sidmouth Folk Week x 5 2007-15
Towersey Village Festival x 5 2006-15
Village Pump Folk Festival 2007 2013 2015
Wickham Festival 2007 2009 2011 2015
Sheldonian Theatre Oxford 2015
Edinburgh AMC St Brides x 5 2007-15
Union Chapel London 2009 2011 2013
Cambridge Festival 2011
Warwick Festival 2007 2009 2011
Holywell Music Rooms Oxford 2009 2011
Brampton Live 2007 2009
The Sage Gateshead 2009
Edinburgh Festival Fringe: Spiegeltent 2006

OTHER INTERNATIONAL

Malmö Music Festival, Sweden 2014
Tønder Festival, Denmark 2013 2014
Farmleigh Affair, Dublin, Ireland 2007
Otago Festival, New Zealand 2012

AUSTRALIA

WOMADelaide 2016
National Folk Festival x 9 2004-17
Sydney Festival 2017
Blue Mountains Music Festival x 8 2005-17
Festival of Voices, Tasmania x 3 2010-16
Blue Mountains Theatre 2016
Camelot Lounge x 7 2012-16
Cygnet Folk Festival x 4 2006-15
Joan Sutherland Performing Arts Centre x 5 2007-14
Woodford Folk Festival x 4 2004-13
Thornbury Theatre, Melbourne 2012 2013
Collingwood Town Hall, Melbourne 2008
Port Fairy Folk Festival 2007
Bellingen Global Carnival 2005

Guest appearances
ABC TV Spicks and Specks, The New Inventors, The Collectors, The Mix
ABC Radio The Music Show, Weekends with Simon Marnie

Discography

SPOOKY REVIEWS

“It takes a rare skill to be very silly, thoughtful, and sing in perfect harmony, but the Spooky Men’s Chorale manage to achieve just that.”
Robin Denselow, Guardian live review, 2015

“A skilful mix of faultless vocal expertise and maverick abandon … Compelling, ‘bespook’ serious fun, and totally irresistible to boot …”
Froots magazine reviews The Spooky Man in History, 2013

“High camp, epic folly – probably the best programming choice of the entire summer festival circuit”
The Irish Times, 2007

“Highly theatrical, they veer from weird to touching and back again. Grown-up entertainment in the best, most infantile way. Don’t miss an opportunity to see them”
Daily Telegraph, 2013

“It IS spooky. You’re listening to what sounds like archangels singing ethereal harmonies. But it’s a bunch of boofy men from The Blue Mountains, with a wise guy out front wearing a furry deerstalker hat”
Brisbane Courier Mail, 2008

“Do see them live – it all makes perfect sense then …or does it?! Certainly once seen they are never forgotten! Beautiful singing; very sharp and witty lyrics.”
– Mark Radcliffe, BBC Radio 2, 2013

“A tsunami of Georgian male voice polyphony”
The Scotsman, 2011

Stand back and admire the beautifully sung anarchy “
Glasgow Herald 2013

“Their tuning, timing and dynamics are impeccable”
The Independent 2013

“These fabulous men in black wowed Sidmouth festival goers- every number received rapturous applause”
Sidmouth Herald, 2011

“Sheer musical excellence – like the ghosts of choristers long gone”
John Shand, Sydney Morning Herald 2009

“The Spooky men produce an inspiring sound, and the material is very funny- probably the first time I’ve seen a sound engineer shaking with laughter during a live set- and for all the right reasons”
Mike Crofts, Sound on Sound article on mixing for the Spooky Men, 2016