What the Media have to Say...
"Mic Conway is a very, very talented man. He should be elected as one of Australia?s living national treasures."
(Bill Riner, 612 ABC Brisbane)
"There is nothing else like a Mic Conway show... an exhilarating, vaudevillian mix of songs, magic, comedy and fire-eating. He is a truly unique artist and a showman... You really do have to be there. If you have a chance, don't miss it."
(Bill Brown, ABC Radio)
"Mic Conway looks like he was born on a cabaret stage. His ease with a variety of cabaret styles from music hall and vaudeville to new wave testifies to this involvement and his expertise is apparent."
"Perfectly pitched! In one tune he was able to pack in a lifetime of Cabaret."
(Roy & H.G)
Adelaide Cabaret Festival
"The mind boggles. Try to envisage The Beatles, The Sex Pistols, Bing Crosby, the Bonzo Dog Doo-Dah band and David Copperfield all on stage together with four ukuleles, two kitchen sinks, a washboard, a garbage can and a couple of saws (yes, saws) doing political satire meets junk band blues and calling the Charles Darwin Evolutionary Sweepstakes in-between (homosapiens won by a nose hair).
Where does one start a review of something like this, and more importantly, can it be reviewed? The answer is probably no. But I'll try.
Mic Conway is the ultimate “can do can't man”. Co-founder of two animal-free circus troupes, magician, tap dancer, fire-eater, saw strummer, hula hula guy, stand-up comedian and Captain Matchbox's Whoopee Band co-founder with brother Jim. Throw Jeremy Cook (thimbles, kitchen sinks, percussion), Phil Donnison (steel guitar, kazoo, vocals, cloth cap) and Marcus Holden (vocals, strohviol) into this eccentric but combustible ensemble and we still aren't there. We need to add the double bass, the juggling, the horns, hooters, tin cans, jugs ... really it can't be done justice in words alone.
Go see it ... somewhere. Junk is the word."
(Teri Louise Kelly, The Independent Weekly, June 2010)
“The long-time fans were out in force, along with a new generation of enthusiastic followers revelling in the band's amazing collection of absurd instruments, from Marcus Holden's strohviol and an orchestra of ukuleles ("the missing link between music and noise") to Jeremy Cook's literal kitchen of percussion including no fewer than two kitchen sinks and, of course, Conway himself, singing and dancing, juggling rubber chickens, and having a whale of a time.
The tunes are great, mostly original, and with the occasional ring-in, Monty Python's Galaxy Song and Nagasaki among them. Inspired silliness, not to be missed!”
(Peter Burdon, Adelaide Now, June 2010)
Mic Conway’s National Junk Band
"The king of vaudeville in Australia today."
(Lucky Oceans, ABC Radio)
Here’s an opportunity to leave the ups and downs of present economic conditions and for an hour or so enter the mad capped world of Mic Conway’s National Junk Band. Phil Donnison, Jeremy Cook, Marcus Holden, Cazzbo Jones ably assist their eccentric bandmaster Mic Conway as they energetically perform a generous selection of mainly original songs.
The band members show their ample skills on a range of instruments that would make the average garbage truck sag under the weight. If you are partial to bells and whistles, along with other strange, musical gizmos and gadgets, then Mic and his team are here to deliver.
If you like your love songs delivered in a weird and wacky way, then songs like “Who Gave You a Licence to Drive Me Crazy?” and the country inspired “Goodbye My Friend” will not disappoint. Clever puns, tired jokes and embarrassing innuendo are extravagantly scattered throughout these ditties with “Worn Saw Concerto” and “Race Call of Life to Death” their pinnacles. “Thief of Old Bad Gags” is slipped in as a humorous, totally tongue-in-cheek apology for the band’s shenanigans.
The band’s willingness to attack social issues head on is evidenced in their song “Corporate World’ and the jaunty, opening offering “Consume”, warning of the pitfalls of consumerism. Their cover of “Just Like That” considers the compatibility of humans to get along together. While talking of covers, they give their engaging, Junk Band treatment to Leon Russell’s “Tightrope”, John Lennon’s “Crippled Inside” and Randy Newman’s “Political Science”.
Some of the songs like “Allergic to My Girl” and “Rubbish Rap” are obviously better suited to live performance; however listeners will not be disappointed with just the audio versions.
Bowing to the traditions of music hall and vaudeville, Mic Conway’s National Junk Band energise and push these genres in their pursuit of entertainment and some social commentary. Produced by Marcus Holden, recorded at Bloody Dog Studios and mastered at Blue Mountain Sound, this CD is well worth a listen. It'll put a smile on your face.
(Jim Low, Simply Australia)
What can you say about a national institution except that's where they should put 'Mic Conway and the National Junk Band.' What you get on this CD is a consummate performer in the vaudeville tradition. The lyrics are designed to milk sacred cows for all they are worth. The musical accompaniment is innovative and a lot of fun. If you don't get a laugh from this CD then check your pulse because you may already be dead.
(John Williams, Trad & Now)
“If you like witty lyrics, social satire, ukes, sousaphones, mkazoos, nose flutes, National and lap slide guitars, musical saws, mandolins, silly noises and great vocal harmony, you will love the latest offering from Mic Conway's National Junk Band, I know I do.”
(Barbara Wogan-Provo, InFolkus)
“These guys are a lot of fun, singing about the most unlikely subjects and making fun of popular culture as they go. 'Rubbish Wrap' is a standout, satirically making fun of chain wearing, hardcore rap artists. For their first album in quite a few years, it's good to see these guys can still crowd please with a Kazoo or two.” (Tsunami Magazine)
"Put aside your preconceptions and go for a ride down a road you never thought even existed."
(Michael Smith, Drum Media Sydney)
"Seeing the band for the first time today, I can imagine people being transfixed with a permanent smile on their faces. Every performance presents such an array of action on stage, there's no opportunity to get bored or divert your attention from the stage."
(Trad & Now, June 2008)
"If you are old enough to remember when music could be fun, then this CD will remind you who the UK's Bonzo Dog Doo Dah Band and George Melley were. If you're not, then welcome to some light relief from the digitanal insertion rationale of contemporary pop and rock. It's called 'entertainment' - possibly a new experience for the under 40s.
Liberally laced with Aussie humour, even John Lennon would smile at the band's rendition of his thought-provoking 'Crippled Inside'. Irreverence and vaudeville aside, there are smatterings of social comment with the excellent Kane and Welch offering 'Just Like That', and Randy Newman's wry U.S.government dig 'Political Science'.
To blend such threads into one album that gels, it takes a bucketful of skills from sharp observation of humanity, through lyrical precision that bites, to what might seem throwaway musicianship. That last ingredient is deceptive. Musical virtuosity abounds here, ably moulded into production by Marcus Holden and the Bloody Dog studio crew as we've come to expect.
Corporate horseshit is rightly put to the sword in '(A High Standard Of) Mediocrity' and 'Corporate World', and the final track 'Race Call Of Life To Death' is blisteringly funny. The definitive track has to be 'Rubbish Wrap', taking the piss out of what is the only justification for genocide - Rap - and all who write and 'perform' it, record it, sell it, airplay it, and waste hours excusing it away as urban poetry.
Jeffrey (Lord) Archer was once asked by a smug literati interviewer why he thought his novels sold so well. "Because they're a bloody good read." the unflustered author replied.
Borrowing from Lord Jeff, "It's a bloody good listen." is how I’d describe this work.
Go buy it and cheer yourself up."
(Geoff Green, Springboard Media)
“This show is an hilarious revelation – you never know what you’re going to get from one song to the next”
(Sarah Thomas, Adelaide Advertiser)
“… highly infectious music, hilarious jokes, dazzling magic tricks, fire-eating and much clowning around.”
(Robert Dunstan, Rip It Up Magazine)
“Aural extravaganza… You enter into the spirit, which is pure fun. Everything is delivered with tongue lovingly pressed into cheek.. in a lovingly self-deprecating style on the unlikeliest array of instruments.”
(Michael Smith, Drum Media)
“The hit of the festival… their CD was so good someone stole it from the ABC library.”
(Robyn Johnson, The Planet, ABC Radio National)
(Sydney Morning Herald)
“Fully rounded entertainment making people giggle, dance and go ‘Wow!’… Surprises abound … A bewdy!”
(John Shand, Sydney Morning Herald)