Last Day Of Summer
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Last Day Of Summer

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As this tumultuous Summer comes to a close, NGV is rolling out a free gig with a New Zealand flavour

As this tumultuous Summer comes to a close, NGV is rolling out a free gig with a New Zealand flavour (fush? sorry). Amidst the celebrations you’ll be able to take in Unnerved: The New Zealand Project , an exhibition featuring work of 26 contemporary New Zealand artists.

Bring along your picnic rug and you can purchase food and drink while taking in free entertainment from Lawrence Arabia, The Frowning Clouds and The Twerps. We spoke with Marty Frawley from The Twerps, which he says he is ‘equal front man’ of with his girlfriend Julia MacFarlane, Patrick O’Neill, Rick Milovanic and the occasional guest.

The band is no stranger to daylight gigs, having just performed at a school fete with children dancing around and a Ninja as the following act. The Twerps have been around for three years, and Frawley doesn’t quite recall how the name came about. "I probably stupidly said it one day and Rick liked it and I was like ‘noooo’…" he says. "We’ve been threatened to be sued by someone in America who uses the name, so it will be interesting to see how it goes when we turn up in Connecticut and there’s posters of us."

Frawley is battling through the US Visa process at the moment and warns anyone who’s planning to attempt it to proceed with caution. He says there is at least one good thing about being called The Twerps though, "It’s kind of nice: my granny’s like, [in granny voice] ‘What’s your name then?’ and I said, ‘The Twerps’ and she said, [granny voice] ‘Oh, that’s cute.’"

The Twerps have been described in many ways. Frawley himself has a hard time describing their sound. "Maybe like schizophrenic pop, because we change all the time," he says. "We all listen to heaps of different music. I listen to lots of hip hop records at the moment and we all like a lot of jazz and all sorts. I’m really into reggae but Rick got me into a lot of Australian pop music which is what we get labelled as most probably, just because I have got an Australian accent and the NZ sound, because Jules is from New Zealand we’ve been stamped with that, as well as garage and low fi."

The band tries to write songs all together but often, it’s Frawley or girlfriend MacFarlane who write songs in private and then bring them to the band to work through. Frawley says the songs are about "generally me and Jules, girlfriend and boyfriend. I guess it’s hard not to write pop songs about love – there’s books of love or stories that you hear… they’re generally a bit self-loathing, I guess. We wrote a song about our puppy dog that’s coming out on the record, but you can’t tell it’s about her, we’ve tried to make it so it’s half about a dog or it could be singing about a woman."

Their seven month old Kelpie-cross-Border Collie has just discovered chewing through guitar leads. "I don’t think I’ll ever have a child," jokes Frawley. When you’re not focussing so much on the canine, but the woman in your life, lyrics can be exposing. Frawley says it would be more so, "If I didn’t know Rick and Pat as well as I did…" he trails off. "it’s still hard though, that is a fact," O’Neill and Milovanic are in relationships themselves, so the subject matter often resonates with them also. "I think they’re pretty understanding," says Frawley. "They see that Jules and I have got a big connection through the music; that’s a big part of our relationship. I think they really quite like it, you know: they get to see the whole story, not just the parts."

The songs often spark discussion between the couple. "There’s been times when we’re driving home in the car and Jules is like, ‘What are you talking about?’" says Frawley. "I’ve asked questions about her stories and then they make sense to me. It’s kind of nice when you hear that someone’s writing a song about you, whether it be bad or good."

Songs, art, culture, the National Gallery of Victoria and the second last day of summer. What are you waiting for?

Last Day Of Summer will run from 12-6pm on Sunday February 27 in the Grollo Equiset Garden at NGV International, St Kilda Road. Alcohol cannot be brought onto the premises but will be available for sale (18+ ID required). Entry to the NGV for Last Day Of Summer and Unnerved: The New Zealand Project is free. For further information visit ngv.vic.gov.au