Sunday, January 10, 2010

MONA FOMA opening night

Salamanca Place, Friday January 8 2010
by Stephenie Cahalan

It’s on! Another MOFO giving Hobartians a great excuse to get out and get into a big line-up of cool, cosmopolitan or downright quirky artists.

MOFO was blessed to be launching on an immaculate summer evening so that Salamanca was full of locals and visitors blissing out on great weather and company. And with the street closed to cars to allow for the opening event staging, it lent a little air of Barcelona’s Las Ramblas (on a tiny scale, that is).

Mountain Mocha Kilamanjaro gave us every reason to dance — a bunch of Japanese guys in natty three-piece suits making some very cool music, including a cover of a Led Zeppelin classic. As they wrapped up with solos by an exceptional bass player, true jazz trumpeter and keyboard wizz, the band politely asked the crowd to please buy one of their Australian tour t-shirts at the merchandise tent. How could you not do so after such a pleasant request from such spot-on musicians?

As an intro to a festival whose content is hard to summarise in a one-liner, the opening night gave us a good taste of what’s on offer over the next few weeks. Contemporary improvisation to make us think outside our usual musical mindset, and some fantastic, funky music to dance to. And lets face it, Hobartians love to dance, especially in the street. But some music will not be everyone’s cup of tea as many of the acts on the bill are possibly designed to make you listen, think and feel more than tap your toes. Some will be challenged by what is presented.

The knee-high members of my party forced my departure before Kim Myhr, Jim Denley, Mani Neumier and Black Joe Lewis and the Honeybears. But the word on my street was that everyone kept dancing long after dark. Yay… sixteen more days to go!

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