RocKwiz’s much-loved Really Really Good Friday is back for another year

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RocKwiz’s much-loved Really Really Good Friday is back for another year


There are so many things RocKwiz does well, but perhaps most importantly – beyond being a vital part of Australia’s homegrown TV landscape and an entertaining creative outlet for artists who appear on it – it functions as a central hub for music geeks to gather, either onstage or at home and share their love of music minutiae.

RocKwiz live events are one of those things that happen just enough to make them a special event, without wearing out their welcome. The lobby at a RocKwiz live event is full of music geeks catching up to talk about Record Store Day exclusives, Bowie trivia, favourite RocKwiz cover songs and the glory days of the Crystal Ballroom – y’know, the kind of stuff that the music obsessed live for.

The RocKwiz Really Really Good Friday event is now an annual happening, returning to Hamer Hall this year for its third appearance. It naturally features all the regulars – Julia Zemiro, Brian Nankervis, roadie Dugald, The Orkestra – plus a cavalcade of special guests including Joe Camilleri, Hayley Mary, Alex The Astronaut, Something For Kate’s Paul Dempsey, comedian Bob Franklin and Gillian Cosgriff, and featuring Vika and Linda Bull.

“When we do big runs, like last year when we did 31 lives shows, after three or four you’re really rocking,” Brian Nankervis says. “Having said that, the Easter one is a one-off, but it’s the third now. We try to make it a bit different from the normal RocKwiz show because we have comedians involved. This year we have Bob Franklin and I love his work. Bob’s a bit of a music fan too and I think he’s going to do something with the band. And we’ve got Gillian Cosgriff who’s a musical performer who’s going to play with the band too.”

On that note, Paul Dempsey is funnier than you might give him credit for if you only know him from his stage presence. Just check out his appearances on comedian Steele Saunders’ Steele Wars podcast for plenty of examples of Dempsey’s humour.

Nankervis agrees. “We didn’t have him on RocKwiz until maybe series 11 or 12 and we were aware of him but because of schedules we couldn’t work it out. And when we finally got him he was fantastic,” he says.

“On his first episode he sang this hilarious song about the planets and was quite sharp. We’ve ended up using him on quite a few live shows and he was part of our big show we did on Canadian music. He’s incredible and extremely funny. He has a very serious countenance. He looks quite serious and tall and imposing but he’s very funny.”

The show will also feature Vika and Linda Bull, who made a very memorable appearance singing live on the Friday Revue, the ABC 774 Melbourne show co-hosted by Nankervis and Richelle Hunt.

“Watching an audience respond to Vika and Linda is amazing,” Nankervis says. “I saw them with Paul Kelly last year and it was incredible. They’re so naturally tuned in to each other.”

As for RocKwiz being a tele-visual entity, negotiations are under way with SBS for a new series, which would be the first in a couple years and the 15th since the series started in 2005.

“We’re currently working very hard to negotiate our next series with SBS and you’d think it would be fairly straightforward given that the last series was just as popular, if not more popular than the series before,” Nankervis says.

“The show is still fresh and we still love doing it, but I don’t run a major TV network so I don’t really know how they work, but we missed out last year – we didn’t record new episodes last year, which is why we did the national tour – but people kept saying, ‘How come you’re not on the TV?’

“It’s extremely likely that [a deal with SBS] will happen, but we’re yet to sign. But SBS has been very supportive and very good at letting us do what we want to do, and we’ve had some pretty obscure people and SBS has said, ‘Yep, go for it.’ They’ve been great, just a little slow on the uptake for these last couple of years.”