Musical comedy with a high level of awesomeness

From left: Lee Naimo, Jordan Raskopoulos and Benny Davis

From left: Lee Naimo, Jordan Raskopoulos and Benny Davis

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Australian comedy rockers The Axis of Awesome head to Brighton’s Komedia on September 23

Have you ever had an urge to hear a futuristic pop song lamenting the lack of cool lasers in the information age?

How about a hard-hitting rock number raging against all those people who jumped on the Game of Thrones bandwagon without reading the books?

If you answered yes to either of these questions then it’s worth checking out The Axis of Awesome when they come to the Brighton Komedia on Tuesday, September 23 (8pm).

The musical Australian comedians – Jordan Raskopoulos, Benny Davis and Lee Naimo – have been gathering fans across the globe, as well as selling out shows at Edinburgh and the Adelaide Fringe.

There are plenty of comedy music acts around, so what makes this band so likeable, so unique and so...awesome?

Guitarist Lee Naimo, speaking to the Sussex Express by email, explains the group’s approach to comedy:

“A lot of the ground we cover is making fun of music itself, but any topic can work well in musical form. I think it’s all about your particular approach to that topic. As long as we find it funny and original we’ll tackle anything. Some previous song topics include cutting pizza into 12 slices rather than eight, birds who are also planes, and we’ve got a new one about Benny’s addiction to Candy Crush. Classic stuff.”

Mocking music itself has certainly proved popular. The band’s YouTube video for ‘In The Club Tonight’, both a tribute and parody of the tunes you’d hear on a sweaty night out, has more than one million hits. Their live version of ‘4 Chords’, a medley of dozens of pop songs that use the same basic melody, went viral with more than 31 million hits.

It’s quite an achievement but what can audiences expect from the lads’ new tour?

“In terms of song ideas, our new show, Viva La Vida Loca Las Vegas, has some awesome new songs in it,” promises Lee. “As well as combining the work of Coldplay, Elvis and Ricky Martin – together at last.”

Alongside a diverse mix of musical parodies, the band offer a ton of non-musical sketches, showcasing their knack for blending silly surrealism with observational humour through the internet.

If you’d like to see what a bearded Aussie looks like dressed as an anime superheroine then take a look at The Axis of Awesome Get Mugged. People interested in building a toy spaceship from egg cartons, iron filings and asbestos can click on Jordan’s Kraft Korner, a DIY video complete with terrible advice and clumsy editing.

“We’re working on a lot of online content for our YouTube channel at the moment,” says Lee, who’s keen to draw attention to the band’s new web series, Axis All Areas.

“It brings together the music and the characters we play on stage,” he explains. “That’s been a big focus lately.”

Comedy might be an unusual career path but the band members seem well suited to it. Lee, for example, can’t seem to resist using humour when responding to my questions.

I ask what drew Lee to performing musical comedy in particular and I detect a hint of irony in his response.

“The money,” he states. “There’s hardly any money in music, but any comedian will tell you that the stages of comedy clubs are paved with gold.”

Okay...so how did Lee decide on a career in comedy in the first place?

He keeps his reply simple: “The guidance counsellor at school said that I’d be suited to a career in law enforcement, so here I am.”

Lee’s dry wit and unconventional logic seems to make sense when considering the band’s comedy influences.

“Jordan loves Tim and Eric (creators of the Adult Swim television series Tom Goes to the Mayor), Benny’s a huge Simpsons fan and I love great British live sketch like Pappy’s and the Penny Dreadfuls,” Lee explains.

“There’s a great Aussie comic who’s just released a web series,” he adds. “His name is Dayne Rathbone and his series ‘Dayne’s World’ is amazing. Check it out on YouTube.”

Lee also reveals the band’s musical inspirations, talking about his admiration for the great tunes in Monty Python and early episodes of The Simpsons.

“I remember first watching ‘Hiphopopotamus vs. Rhymenocerous’ by Flight of the Conchords before their TV show came out and just absolutely loving it,” he says. “The way they manage to make comedy work in such a low-key way is excellent.

“Seeing Tim Minchin perform ‘Prejudice’ live in Edinburgh in 2008 or 2009 has also stuck with me,” he adds. “The comedy reveal of that song is something pretty special.

“Also, I think we all remember where we were the first time we heard ‘Wrecking Ball’ (by Miley Cyrus) – that’s a memory to tell the grandkids about.”

Call 0845 2938480 or click here for tickets.

Find out more about The Axis of Awesome at www.axisofawesome.net