I’m a bit behind on my TV viewing, but thank goodness for my hard drive recorder – I can watch anything I actually remember to tape whenever I want to, and that’s been ace for my Saturday night specials. I’ve written about some of the great series that have been screened on Saturday nights – Real Humans, Prisoners of War and the like– but it’s never been just about the drama. Not with Rockwiz on the cards.
Rockwiz has just completed its 11th season and there seems to be a never-ending supply of guests that will keep this going for quite some time. Here’s how it works: The show is hosted by flirtatious and quick-thinking Julia Zemiro and adjudicated by Brian Nankervis, one of Melbourne’s top rock minds. There is a live band, the Rockwiz Orchestra, consisting of Peter “Lucky” Luscome, Mark Ferrie and James Black, who play stings throughout the show and accompany the guest musicians. The quiz part of the show consists of two panels of three, with four of the six quizees taken from the live audience at the Esplanade Hotel in St Kilda. The remaining two spots are the guests – always musicians, sometimes local, sometimes international. There a group of games, and the show ends with a duet by the two guest performers. In this latest season, we’ve also been treated to additional musical guests as was popular in the Rockwiz Live touring show.
What keeps the show going? So much. The talent, firstly. Not just the talent of the show, but the guests. It’s been exciting to see international acts like Martha Wainwright and Leo Sayer, but I’ve found it excellent in adding to my local music knowledge. It always amazes me how the audience members on the panel can guess the guest, I often have no idea. And there’s the other thing; the audience members.
Here are normal people who’ve gone to the pub, know a bit about music and get included in the show. Sometimes, they are incredibly excited to be there, and sometimes they have the brains of a musical savant. I’ve been proud to see at least three of my friends up there, though when I went to the taping, I chickened out at the chance to give it a go. Perhaps next time.
There are two questions that are asked of the guests: First album bought with your own money? First concert? In case you’re wondering, for me it was Love An Adventure by Pseudo Echo and Split Enz/Crowded House/The Black Sorrows/Girl Overboard at the Myer Music Bowl.