Sometimes it can be nice, as a reviewer, to attend a more intimate show. Whole Lotta Love, a cute Brunswick East bar, is a great venue for the kind of smaller show that Bendigo-native Mike Elliot puts on with ‘Sporklift’, an hour-long performance promising (and delivering) spectacular songs and ridiculousness.
However, it’s criminal that he isn’t getting a full house every night, with the quality of performance he’s putting on.
Elliot is one of the most genuine performers this reviewer has seen during 2018’s Melbourne International Comedy Festival. He’s earnest and extremely enthusiastic to sing in front of what ended up being a pretty small audience – not a lot of comedians can say they put on their best show regardless of who’s in front of them, but Elliot certainly does.
Opening with a sing-along, and immediately segueing into a pun-filled, self-deprecating song about not being ‘Hems-worthy’ enough for a new lover (referencing the effortlessly handsome Hemsworth family of actors), Elliot’s songs are relatable and extremely fun. This is the kind of performance that would be well suited to a small group of friends after a couple of drinks, just loose enough to want to sing along to the catchy tunes, but sober enough to pick up on some of Elliot’s clever wordplay.
While Elliot is a talented musician and singer, his interludes between songs can be a little awkward, although this can certainly be smoothed out over time. He takes a brief moment to present some of his pre-prepared haikus, all of which end with a strum of his guitar to round out the piece. A couple of haikus and songs are a little juvenile, a lot of toilet humour, but they’re definitely balanced by some of his more ‘adult’ tunes, including one about a secret (and surprising) lover at the supermarket checkout.
More than just a lyricist, Elliot uses live looping hardware to craft some of his later songs, recording guitar riffs, keyboard tinkling, and his own voice, to ensure the songs are layered and a delight to listen to. Elliot’s stunning rendition of the plot of Jurassic Park is a definite highlight of ‘Sporklift’, ending again in an audience sing-along to the iconic theme song of the movie.
To round out the performance, there’s a costume change – a staple of any great concert – and a showcase of live loops and growled lyrics, all about… Eddie McGuire. It’s weird, it’s wonderful, and it’s an excellent night out. While the eponymous sporklift was never mentioned, let alone explained, this reviewer thinks ‘Sporklift’ should be lifted into the limelight and everyone should be encouraging their friends to take a shot on a lesser-known name. Mike Elliot might just be the next big thing.