The Barons of Tang
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The Barons of Tang

Melbourne, Victoria, Australia | INDIE

Melbourne, Victoria, Australia | INDIE
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The Barons of Tang
Knots and Tangles
(Planet)

The Barons of Tang are the latest additions to a musical aristocracy that includes Prince, Duke Ellington and Queen Latifah.  That they might be considered a nudge uncouth by their illustrious peers is precisely the charm of these Melburnians, who do to assorted music idioms what the Vikings used to do to coastal villages in the British Isles.  If there is a vague flavour of Eastern Europe and gypsy music permeating this EP's mayhem (with accordion, violin and clarinet), it has been raped, pillaged, plundered and rocked almost beyond recognition.  Alongside the thrash mentality, however, lurks a flair for aural hallucinations and a wicked sense of humour. They raid the Annandale Hotel on January 16.

John Shand
Metro Sydney Morning Herald 14th January 2011


"The Barons of Tang" Released 2008

Had Frank Zappa jumped aboard the gypsy bandwagon he might have made music something like Melbourne’s Barons of Tang. There’s a madcap element to the playing and the songs alike that makes you want to smile, without their labouring too hard to make it happen.

This EP’s inevitable manic 2/4 rushes towards gypsy nirvana are rooted in a rock aesthetic and are balanced by more atmospheric pieces featuring violin or accordion, giving an idea of what to expect from them in the Spiegeltent in mid-January

www.myspace.com/thebaronsoftang

John Shand
Sydney Morning Herald
Dec 18th 2008
- Sydney Morning Herald


The Barons of Tang supported by Captain Stu
16 January 2011, The Annandale Hotel, Sydney
(edited)

Finally it was time to see an act I had heard rave reviews about. Sunday night’s are always a hard night to pull a crowd, and in Sydney, this gig was competing against Sydney Festival, Illawarra Folk Festival and a number of other music gigs, however as the ‘Barons’ prepared to take to the stage, the crowd swelled and made the large room feel full.

The usual stage set up of lead singer and/ or lead guitar in the centre of the stage doesn’t apply to the Barons, instead Julian Cue and his somewhat worse for wear double bass took centre position alongside the spirited Don Carlos Parraga equipped with his accordion and sheer enthusiasm, together they spurred the Barons in to action. A wave ‘gypsy death-core’ engulfed the room and the crowd erupted in to a mass of enthusiastic dancing.

As a mainly instrumental band, it can be hard to establish the kind of rapport and connection with the audience that a band with an effervescent lead singer achieves, however the Barons have their own unique stagecraft. Watching Anna Joy Gordon on saxophone and Aviva Endean on bass clarinet was brilliant and at times, like sneaking in to a private jam session. They work so well together and clearly have a great time on stage feeding off each other’s energy that I found myself just watching these two enigmatic ladies groove together.

Julian was absolutely on fire with his double bass and the speed and dexterity of his finger work was astounding, it’s no wonder he works us such a sweat and one can be excused for being transfixed while he plays. Among all the frenzied music and the high energy rolling through all the band mates, Jules Brunton cruised along on electric guitar with an understated calm, clearly so deeply absorbed in the music that nothing but the rousing of Sean Wyers’ wicked drums could change his pace. While most of the Barons were focussed on their instruments and fellow band members, Don Carlos on accordion was an excited if somewhat manic face interacting with the crowd through his eager grins, cheering and the mischievous glimmer to his eye.
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The Barons of Tang played infectiously upbeat, rich and textured gypsy polkas and tangos overrun with chaotic rhythms and rockabilly overtones. Drawing on Latin beats, a bit of a punk punch every now and then and the occasional rock tinge evening out in to one of the folkiest dance sets yet, The Barons of Tang are to gypsy and tango what The Crooked Fiddle Band are to traditional fiddle and bluegrass -  Intense.

While the room was pumping and the crowds dancing, an all encompassing moment of the gig was their rendition of Even if you’re missing fingers, you can make a fist which had the entire audience involved. But the stand out for me was the amazing percussive styling of Annie Pfeiffer, her verve and vigour on a wide range of percussion instruments added texture and flavour to every song and the energy that her performance delivered gave The Barons of Tang that extra edge. And to top it off, to close the night she stepped out from behind her instruments to take centre stage and treat us to her stunning vocals. No idea what the song was, but titled in shorthand on their set list as Dogs, Annie had the band and the crowd actually howling. In short, their show was so good, I walked away with both of their EPs tucked neatly under my arm.

The Barons of Tang live are hell-fire folk wrestling gypsy and tango, kicking and screaming, to the masses. With a huge list of upcoming shows including Apollo, Port Fairy and the National, whether at a festival or a stand alone gig, they are a not to be missed act for anyone who likes their folk with a bit of kick.

All of KTs photos can be seen on Timber and Steel‘s facebook page

Finally it was time to see an act I had heard rave reviews about. Sunday night’s are always a hard night to pull a crowd, and in Sydney, this gig was competing against Sydney Festival, Illawarra Folk Festival and a number of other music gigs, however as the ‘Barons’ prepared to take to the stage, the crowd swelled and made the large room feel full. The usual stage set up of lead singer and/ or lead guitar in the centre of the stage doesn’t apply to the Barons, instead Julian Cue and his somewhat worse for wear double bass took centre position alongside the spirited Don Carlos Parraga equipped with his accordion and sheer enthusiasm, together they spurred the Barons in to action. A wave ‘gypsy death-core’ engulfed the room and the crowd erupted in to a mass of enthusiastic dancing.
As a mainly instrumental band, it can be hard to establish the kind of rapport and connection with the audience that a band with an effervescent lead singer achieves, however the Barons have their own unique stagecraft. Watching Anna Joy Gordon on saxophone and Aviva Endean on bass clarinet was brilliant and at times, like sneaking in to a private jam session. Th - Timber and Steel


Predominantly instrumental folk-jazz with generous dollops of other whacked-out genres such as metal, punk and “circus” music, all seamlessly blended together as if there were nothing remotely heretical about the notion at all.

As if this were not magnificent enough, they even have an upright bass-ist and piano accordion player – both splendid things, I’m sure you’ll agree – and a madwoman of a percussionist who, almost as an afterthought to an already sizzling show, comes centre-stage at the climax to show off a jazzy set of pipes that would
make most supposed “frontpersons” in this town blush with embarrassment (a “secret weapon” for future development, perhaps?)! And if there’s one thing that always warms my heart to its very cockles, it’s the sight of people moshing and crowd-surfing – the latter a practice I generally disdain – to music that would make most “rock” purists cringe.

Spec-fucking-tacular."
- Music Vice


“the pace was picked up by The Crooked Fiddle Band and the crowd were really into them from the start.
Kicking off with a slow-burner and stepping the pace up steadily, they really built the crowd into the act and
got us all kicking and hot-stepping with some real fury. The eponymous fiddle player, a nimble fingered and
elegant woman with a classical Irish maiden look, was stunning, digging deeply into an inner emotional well
and drawing the audience into the performance until we were almost overcome with it. An excellent act and
one that I believed would be very difficult to top or match. Thank goodness for the last act then, The Barons
of Tang

“To say that this group were excellent showmen is to miss the point perhaps. They didn't need to throw
themselves around or whip up the crowd anymore, they just had to play.

And my god, what joyous, mental bedlam they created. Their deathcore gypsy style was an exquisite fit for
the crowd and the reaction was immense.

People were twisting, shouting, shaking, baking, flaking, mixing, throwing shapes, forming high-stepping
lines and Charleston groups and all other crazy, misbegotten attempts at dancing. The sheer thrill of the
thing, the heady rush of the soaring accordion and tub-thumping double bass, was exactly the way the night
should have ended.

When the MC finally called it all to an end after an epically raucous encore, we were left sweating and
shocked, the combined rush of our throbbing adrenaline and the aural and visual stimulation leaving us in an
absolutely cathartic state.

That all sounds hugely hyperbolic but trust me, they were that damn good.” - Beefcliff, Bleedingears.net


"Not that there's anything wrong with straight-up gypsy (whatever that might be) but hearing the beginning of this Barons of Tang EP I was worried that they'd lost that truly psychotic silliness that set them apart from the rest of the Romany crowd. No fear!

By the end of the first number they'd degenerated into metal power-chords and from there on every intricate 9:17 rhythm is interspersed in a manner similar to a car crash with ska, rockabilly and hardcore all executed with absolutely furious energy. There are very obvious parallels with festival favourites Darth Vegas but they never managed to sound half as good as this on disc. Nothing short of a huge achievement."

4ZZZ Music Department September 2010 Picks
- 4ZZZ Music Department September 2010 Picks


"Not that there's anything wrong with straight-up gypsy (whatever that might be) but hearing the beginning of this Barons of Tang EP I was worried that they'd lost that truly psychotic silliness that set them apart from the rest of the Romany crowd. No fear!

By the end of the first number they'd degenerated into metal power-chords and from there on every intricate 9:17 rhythm is interspersed in a manner similar to a car crash with ska, rockabilly and hardcore all executed with absolutely furious energy. There are very obvious parallels with festival favourites Darth Vegas but they never managed to sound half as good as this on disc. Nothing short of a huge achievement."

4ZZZ Music Department September 2010 Picks
- 4ZZZ Music Department September 2010 Picks


Predominantly instrumental folk-jazz with generous dollops of other whacked-out genres such as metal, punk and “circus” music, all seamlessly blended together as if there were nothing remotely heretical about the notion at all.

As if this were not magnificent enough, they even have an upright bass-ist and piano accordion player – both splendid things, I’m sure you’ll agree – and a madwoman of a percussionist who, almost as an afterthought to an already sizzling show, comes centre-stage at the climax to show off a jazzy set of pipes that would
make most supposed “frontpersons” in this town blush with embarrassment (a “secret weapon” for future development, perhaps?)! And if there’s one thing that always warms my heart to its very cockles, it’s the sight of people moshing and crowd-surfing – the latter a practice I generally disdain – to music that would make most “rock” purists cringe.

Spec-fucking-tacular."
- Music Vice


Friday, June 13, 2008


northcote social club review

Sunday, June 1 2008 @ Northcote Social Club, Northcote
by Lisa Dib

It's Night of the Living Dead in Melbourne tonight. The bitter cold and misty, foreboding fog make it seem like our jaunt to the NSC tonight is a horror movie about to go awry. Luckily, we arrive at our destination sans hanging limbs or gangrenous bite marks.

Curse Ov Dialect, I thought, in my limited knowledge of the band, may have been an odd choice to support the Barons tonight. But, upon catching their easy, breezy, beautiful hip-hop hybridism, I realized how their enigmatic majesty would work tonight. Tracks like House of Clocks easily showcase the band's creativity process; you can find at least a handful of genres in any one track. More than just a one-trick hip-hop pony, I was suitably impressed.

I don't even quite know how to describe the subsequent hour-odd. I feel as if I am holidaying in a Spanish villa; patrons boogie and salsa their way into a fine sweat, arms flailing, faces shining with glee and condensation. The world is clear and wonderful and amazing. The concoction of these instruments (a veritable stew, including double bass, sax, a breadth of percussion and the ever-underrated accordion) makes for a rockabilly-jazz outburst the likes of which I've never seen, nor given patronage in. Tracks like Blood Wedding and Tango for Billy grow to merciless speeds, but the crowd will not give in. This gypsy-jazz-punk band is theirs, and shall be enjoyed to the last tantalizing drop. It is a transcendent sensation to see people reaching such joys; to see patrons forgetting about the rising poverty and coming recession and callousness and other such negativity outside and jumping head first into the wonder that is the gypsy-village in summertime world of the Barons of Tang.

I'm not friends with the band. Nor do I revoke my journalistic integrity by force-feeding sweet words of bands I do not enjoy into your mouths. Would I lie to you? Though the band is on hiatus due to members heading overseas until August, you best go check these guys out. I can assure you you will feel the same overwhelming hum that washed over me and the rest of the Northcote Social Club too. - www.thedwarf.com.au


..Headlining act The Barons of Tang. Described as a seven piece mélange of Gypsy meets Jazz/Rockabilly, The Barons greeted the stage with their signature enthusiasm and energetic flair. The crowd was mesmerized by their tight rhythmic sound that had even the harshest of critics tapping away to their tunes. Children and adults alike revelled in the charisma that emanated from the eclectic array of musicians on stage. It was not just the inviting danceable tunes but the matter of who to look at as each musician wove their web of tantalizing vibrations.

Each new song surpassed the last building to form a crescendo of complex compositions. The Barons feel like they’ve travelled back in time to an era before metal was invented, and they are creating it with gypsy instrumentation, orchestral structures and lashings of hot solos and chunky guitar stabs. The Barons of Tang are a fun band, and while they obviously have an innate understanding of their instruments, they are a group that is fuelled by the people and they certainly know how to get a party going.

The sounds matched the venue perfectly. In possibly Sydney’s most exciting underground music venue - an expansive yet cosy warehouse space that conjures up images of a bohemian 1950’s music den teamed with the vintage curiosities of a country town bric-a-brac store. Statues, monkeys, speakers and kitsch pink flamingos flank the space while delicious scents from the wood-fired pizza oven downstairs waft across the busy dance floor. And for those who don’t feel like kicking up their heels there is a huge choice of comfy couches and corners to sit and chat with your friends.

.. This venue has the ability to transcend reality and make you feel like you’re having the most exciting night of your life, all in the comfort of your own bizarre lounge room.
- ArtsHub


..Headlining act The Barons of Tang. Described as a seven piece mélange of Gypsy meets Jazz/Rockabilly, The Barons greeted the stage with their signature enthusiasm and energetic flair. The crowd was mesmerized by their tight rhythmic sound that had even the harshest of critics tapping away to their tunes. Children and adults alike revelled in the charisma that emanated from the eclectic array of musicians on stage. It was not just the inviting danceable tunes but the matter of who to look at as each musician wove their web of tantalizing vibrations.

Each new song surpassed the last building to form a crescendo of complex compositions. The Barons feel like they’ve travelled back in time to an era before metal was invented, and they are creating it with gypsy instrumentation, orchestral structures and lashings of hot solos and chunky guitar stabs. The Barons of Tang are a fun band, and while they obviously have an innate understanding of their instruments, they are a group that is fuelled by the people and they certainly know how to get a party going.

The sounds matched the venue perfectly. In possibly Sydney’s most exciting underground music venue - an expansive yet cosy warehouse space that conjures up images of a bohemian 1950’s music den teamed with the vintage curiosities of a country town bric-a-brac store. Statues, monkeys, speakers and kitsch pink flamingos flank the space while delicious scents from the wood-fired pizza oven downstairs waft across the busy dance floor. And for those who don’t feel like kicking up their heels there is a huge choice of comfy couches and corners to sit and chat with your friends.

.. This venue has the ability to transcend reality and make you feel like you’re having the most exciting night of your life, all in the comfort of your own bizarre lounge room.
- ArtsHub


The Barons of Tang are a music storm in a bottle if ever I saw one; a band with more pure energy and excitement than a horny cheerleading team. Their live show is a powerful force like no other, getting people off their keisters and shaking, jiggling, spinning, everything. It was like a Spanish villa on...well, a really great day in a Spanish villa ..

Chucking on their self-titled EP, I buzzed a little excitement. Had me dancin' pants on and all. Gypsy Throttle is slow by BoT’s standards: a Euro-lambada with jazzy horns and a more than decent enough introduction to the Barons’ wild, flailing Gypsy-punk sound. Tango for Billy is the personal highlight, a samba drum leading into hot jazz sax, oh, it’s enough to make you dance all over the shop. The slow-down is deceiving; you can tell they will only come back with yet more vigour. Tango is cha-cha-tastic and, having seen the track live, is a red-hot dose of ants in the patrons’ pants.

Blood Wedding utilizes the much-underrated accordion to fulfil the bands’ tango sound. The violin, too, is used to full effect here; swaying to and fro like the flailing dress hems of the mamacitas in the audience. The song builds to a massive, fierce crescendo wherein the drums and violin damn near explode, leaving you with that worn-out but satisfied post-coital relaxation.

Take my advice, as you so often should; Barons of Tang are one of the most stimulating, and perversely underrated, bands on the scene, and thou shalt take every opportunity to see them live. End.


- The Dwarf


The Barons of Tang are a music storm in a bottle if ever I saw one; a band with more pure energy and excitement than a horny cheerleading team. Their live show is a powerful force like no other, getting people off their keisters and shaking, jiggling, spinning, everything. It was like a Spanish villa on...well, a really great day in a Spanish villa ..

Chucking on their self-titled EP, I buzzed a little excitement. Had me dancin' pants on and all. Gypsy Throttle is slow by BoT’s standards: a Euro-lambada with jazzy horns and a more than decent enough introduction to the Barons’ wild, flailing Gypsy-punk sound. Tango for Billy is the personal highlight, a samba drum leading into hot jazz sax, oh, it’s enough to make you dance all over the shop. The slow-down is deceiving; you can tell they will only come back with yet more vigour. Tango is cha-cha-tastic and, having seen the track live, is a red-hot dose of ants in the patrons’ pants.

Blood Wedding utilizes the much-underrated accordion to fulfil the bands’ tango sound. The violin, too, is used to full effect here; swaying to and fro like the flailing dress hems of the mamacitas in the audience. The song builds to a massive, fierce crescendo wherein the drums and violin damn near explode, leaving you with that worn-out but satisfied post-coital relaxation.

Take my advice, as you so often should; Barons of Tang are one of the most stimulating, and perversely underrated, bands on the scene, and thou shalt take every opportunity to see them live. End.


- The Dwarf


Spawned from the fiery pits and beer drenched alleys of mysteriously chilly grey places gypsy deathcore has exploded, a brave new post-gypsy-revival genre.

Mainly emanating from the east coast of Australia in it's purest European vein but like anything of a gypsy nature - it's everywhere around now if you care to notice it. Now in Adelaide and definitely everywhere else. The Dirty Three, Monsieur Camembert, VulgarGrad, The Black Sea Gentlemen, Waiting For Guinness plus a bevy of others present authentic material direct from the Russian underclass, the Polish streets and even the Best of ABBA Collection; Ang Fang Quartet have mastered that rollicking gypsy essence with magnificent original works, their album Anonymity is guaranteed to make you feel like riding a donkey and swilling a goat's stomach full of red as it unravels its magnificent tale.

Barons of Tang have invented an arguably more robust in yer face punk approach, the gypsy deathcore I'm on about. They may play The Famous Spiegeltent but you can smell that they've played The Crown and Anchor (lovingly locally known as The Crancker) and the music makes you want them to smell that way. The music makes you want to smell them. It has a pub band gypsy smack your face with tang feel and vibe about it; somehow it makes me think of junkies who would have a dash of lime added to their beer to take the edge off it, whom I met around the All Nations Club in Kings Cross during the late 1980's. There were film actors who were occasional users and writers who were more your full-time users, and they'd have arguments between them; suddenly toss their beer in your face, or whoever's face it was they were arguing with - and then bitch about that being a beer they paid more for, for the dash of lime.

I think it's the throwing of the beer in the face that makes me remember it in the context of gypsy deathcore; just so there's no wondering about that. It's wrestling on the floor of the dingy pub shirtless and feeling like shit but wanting to keep the party going and finding ways to do it. It's lining up Tang on the table and daring each other to snort it. It's better than a mosh pit because it's not so squeezy, unless that's what you want to make it, then for sure you can mosh away to The Barons. But the style pace and spirit of their music demands more, it compels the gypsy out of you in so very many ways.

The Barons of Tang had a sold out season during the 07 Fringe appearing with Melbourne'sIron Lung Theatre in the mad make-shift venue/bar that it was; which was the must visit spot in town while it was there. A little piece of gritty alternative Melbourne hidden in Hindley Street with $3 beers and non-stop mayhem; even the much lauded cast of the State Theatre of South Australia's Hamlet (of the time) were known to spend hours into the wee time sitting around a table out back debriefing on their rehearsal process. It was the only place in town where you could spot Eloise Mignon an actor who was about to land an on-going role in top Aussie soap Neighbors. To cut it short they were part of the scene in a big way, not the scene scene lardie dars, but the happening scene. Their music was a very big part of that - and it just keeps getting better.

Well they're back and definitely worth a visit if you haven't had the opportunity or head's up before. Get in go crazy and enjoy. The Barons are currently performing in Tasmania and have just finished an extensive tour with a string of shows at festivals including Woodford Folk Festival, The Falls, Sunset Festival and Sydney Festival.
- David Jobling Adelaide Review


THE BARONS OF TANG (****) myspace ::

And then our headliners hit the stage and we knew it was all on for young and old. Any hopes for objectivity and journalistic integrity are long gone now (as lets face it I was pretty loose with both to begin with). We could unleash any manner of utterly crass 21st century cliches in effort to dismiss them; but I believe that "sinking sensation" that the Roman Empire must have felt over sixteen hundred years ago sums this band up quite nicely. We know them all by name: Huns, Vandals, Visigoths, Ostrogoths, Franks, Jutes, Saxons, Angles, Avars, Vikings, Orcs, Goblins, Gnomes, Leprecauns, Scientologists and Sock Puppets; their terror is absolute and their living weapon is The Barons Of Tang! For some entirely inexplicable reason they also hail from the exact same city that every other raping, pillaging and plundering miscreant (metaphorical or otherwise) derive their perverse pleasure from: Melbourne, just across the border. And yes I have completely unsubstantiated evidence to back me up: it's the exact same source that Nick Cave And The Bad Seeds, Grinderman, Baseball (I believe this video speaks for itself), Sailors Of Swine and Rocket Science all derive their volatile energy from. Part convict heritage, part history of organised crime, part shit awful weather and hilarious ethnic exaggeration. In Melbourne they truly spew up bands like no other, bands that'll make you cough up diesel from your lungs and spit blood from your ears: the colours, the noise, the urge to stab someone in the neck like nothing else? and if you think for a moment this is merely a spat of interstate rivalry? we're Adelaide, we're all serial killers, we make children disappear all the time: let's be friends! The Barons Of Tang. They call themselves "gypsy deathcore", which pretty much nails it. Think a Frankenstein's monster of traditional Irish, Jewish, Polish and Russian folk, polka and zydeco all mashed up together with a slamming drill seargent punk brutality. In amongst all the screaming and wolf howls however you also pick up some strangely familiar gene sequences: The Simpsons theme, Inspector Gadget, Pulp Fiction and for some utterly batshit insane reason a little bit of The Beatles as well. All realised in saxophone, tuba, flute, double bass, piano accordian, fiddle and trashcan percussion. I may be tripping balls though. It's hard to make out the details, the crowd makes short work of that. It's just like sticking your head in a rock tumbler, your phone starts ringing and then the whole roof collapses. Love it or hate it you can't help but move like a madman to it, if only to get the FUCK out've the way of the nearest and dearest looking to connect their fist with your face!

And yet all of a sudden it happened, an experience very much akin to ears "popping" to cabin pressure (or more accurately I was struck with a mad case of "Stockholm Sydrome") and it all became so clear! The crowds once so viralent in their random sequencing of punches, kicks, stabs, eye gouging, and pogo-ing through the walls suddenly became ever so vibrant, like predictive text to me. I had the "rosetta", I figured out the sequence, they spelt out words to me. Here! I have a string of them: "FUCK SHIT FISTING BALLS C*NT SPHINCTER DONKEY!". Yeah I know! I didn't make a helluva lot of sense to me either but it's a start! So, to hell with it: I took the flash off my camera, I took a deep hit of what little oxygen was left and delved right into the depths of it. Sure it was fucking hostile, brutal, extreme (and occassionally smelt like hickory and smoked ham) but I dare say it was fucking awesome! If ever you've played Grand Theft Auto and spent an hour gleefully exploding cop cars with a shotgun, taking down choppers with a rocket launcher or standing on a highrise building with a sniper rifle playing "ooops, where'd that head go!?" and STILL manage to be a fully functioning member of society? then you'll understand just where I'm coming from. It's a thin line I know but I was surfing it all the same to sweet sweet freedom!

1:03AM - And then a good half an hour or so later I walked out that door more or less unscathed! Don't ask me how the FUCK that happened, there's just some things that don't bear explaining: short of an incident involving an HB pencil, a place where that an HB pencil has no rights in being, "Luxembourg.. huh, what!? I don't know what you're talking about?", and a blowtorch. But we're out've there now and that's all that matters! Let's never speak of this EVER again! Just like it's anyone's guess how Zac managed to empty out that venue in record time using nothing but a fistful of paper "currency", a few dozen foamy ales and nothing but a thank you? Fuuuck he's just like Gandhi! Who knew that simply "paying the bands" at the end of the night would shortfuse this volatile shitstorm and spare us this magical monastery of music for another night running!? YEAAAS! No wonder the Jade Monkey is o - Spoz's Rant, Faster Louder


Musique Art Issue 6
Interview by Mick Story
With Julian Cue
July 8th, 2009

Gypsy Death Core fused with face melting solos, strong grooves and a wicked brutal sound…. Mick Story caught up with these Barons of some mighty awesome music….


Firstly tell us, how did the band get started?

JC: The original collective was put together by The Black Lung Theatre in Melbourne to perform in their production ‘Rubeville’ at the Adelaide Fringe Festival 2007. On returning to Melbourne the group gained more artists intending to create a musical sideshow experience – The Meatpackers Union. After the first show the band decided to go on as its own entity and thus The Barons Of Tang were born.


Can you explain the name, ‘The Barons of Tang’?

JC: The Black Lung Theatre operated two stages and a bar during the fringe festival which was staffed and crewed by the actors and musicians all squatting in the theatre itself. One of the crew found a large quantity of discarded Tang, the orange powdered drink, which we served free at the bar. On more than one occasion we found local artists and fringe dwellers hovering by the water jugs, sweat on their brow, eyeing the bartender. We realised that they were hooked on the Tang, they had to come back, and we had the fix. We were The Barons of Tang!!


Who would you say are your main influences?

JC: With so many diverse members in the band our influences are far too many to list. There is a collective appreciation of all styles, from trad gypsy to jazz, to punk and metal, dub and electronica. We also share a passion for the bizzarre and experimental and creative. I think our musical ideals influence us more than any particular artists.


So with such a mix of different instruments and musical backgrounds, how would you describe your music?

JC: We’ve dubbed our style ‘Gypsy Death Core’, essentially to throw the audience’s sense of expectation, which is how we write our music. It is all types of dance music, put together to keep you on your feet. There is a lot of references to Eastern European folk music through the instruments; piano accordian, tuba, saxophone, clarinet, violin, but coupled with a brutal rhythm section of guitar, double bass, drums and percussion that delivers a tech-metal psycho-billy punch in the face.


Was the band ever concerned that this mash up of different styles may not work?

JC: When we started writing together it was for circus music, so the stranger the better. We intended to take the audience out of their comfort zone, basically by being musical jerks. When we played for the Meatpackers Union we had three songs. The audience response was so incredible that we just kept trying to push the barrier. Somehow we stumbled on a style that just makes people dance.

What can you tell us about your upcoming album?

JC: We’re really excited about our next release. It’s been a long time coming for the original members who recorded the first four songs we wrote. The band has developed a gritty and brutal sound which is represented in this recording along with strong grooves and face-melting solos, and it gives a good idea of what to expect at a live show.

What’s your view of the current music scene in Australia and which of your peers do you have the most respect for?

JC:The music scene in Australia is amazingly varied with so many talented artists in so many genres. We’ve had the pleasure of playing with and befriending many bands all around the country. Some of our favourite artists to work with are Mojo Juju and The Snake Oil Merchants, Kafka, The Crooked Fiddle Band, Matt Kelly, The Keepers, Flap! and so many more. It’s important that the bands in the industry continues to support each other and it makes every show so much more fun.
- Mick Story, Musique Art Issue 6, 8th July 09


THE BARONS OF TANG (****) myspace ::

And then our headliners hit the stage and we knew it was all on for young and old. Any hopes for objectivity and journalistic integrity are long gone now (as lets face it I was pretty loose with both to begin with). We could unleash any manner of utterly crass 21st century cliches in effort to dismiss them; but I believe that "sinking sensation" that the Roman Empire must have felt over sixteen hundred years ago sums this band up quite nicely. We know them all by name: Huns, Vandals, Visigoths, Ostrogoths, Franks, Jutes, Saxons, Angles, Avars, Vikings, Orcs, Goblins, Gnomes, Leprecauns, Scientologists and Sock Puppets; their terror is absolute and their living weapon is The Barons Of Tang! For some entirely inexplicable reason they also hail from the exact same city that every other raping, pillaging and plundering miscreant (metaphorical or otherwise) derive their perverse pleasure from: Melbourne, just across the border. And yes I have completely unsubstantiated evidence to back me up: it's the exact same source that Nick Cave And The Bad Seeds, Grinderman, Baseball (I believe this video speaks for itself), Sailors Of Swine and Rocket Science all derive their volatile energy from. Part convict heritage, part history of organised crime, part shit awful weather and hilarious ethnic exaggeration. In Melbourne they truly spew up bands like no other, bands that'll make you cough up diesel from your lungs and spit blood from your ears: the colours, the noise, the urge to stab someone in the neck like nothing else? and if you think for a moment this is merely a spat of interstate rivalry? we're Adelaide, we're all serial killers, we make children disappear all the time: let's be friends! The Barons Of Tang. They call themselves "gypsy deathcore", which pretty much nails it. Think a Frankenstein's monster of traditional Irish, Jewish, Polish and Russian folk, polka and zydeco all mashed up together with a slamming drill seargent punk brutality. In amongst all the screaming and wolf howls however you also pick up some strangely familiar gene sequences: The Simpsons theme, Inspector Gadget, Pulp Fiction and for some utterly batshit insane reason a little bit of The Beatles as well. All realised in saxophone, tuba, flute, double bass, piano accordian, fiddle and trashcan percussion. I may be tripping balls though. It's hard to make out the details, the crowd makes short work of that. It's just like sticking your head in a rock tumbler, your phone starts ringing and then the whole roof collapses. Love it or hate it you can't help but move like a madman to it, if only to get the FUCK out've the way of the nearest and dearest looking to connect their fist with your face!

And yet all of a sudden it happened, an experience very much akin to ears "popping" to cabin pressure (or more accurately I was struck with a mad case of "Stockholm Sydrome") and it all became so clear! The crowds once so viralent in their random sequencing of punches, kicks, stabs, eye gouging, and pogo-ing through the walls suddenly became ever so vibrant, like predictive text to me. I had the "rosetta", I figured out the sequence, they spelt out words to me. Here! I have a string of them: "FUCK SHIT FISTING BALLS C*NT SPHINCTER DONKEY!". Yeah I know! I didn't make a helluva lot of sense to me either but it's a start! So, to hell with it: I took the flash off my camera, I took a deep hit of what little oxygen was left and delved right into the depths of it. Sure it was fucking hostile, brutal, extreme (and occassionally smelt like hickory and smoked ham) but I dare say it was fucking awesome! If ever you've played Grand Theft Auto and spent an hour gleefully exploding cop cars with a shotgun, taking down choppers with a rocket launcher or standing on a highrise building with a sniper rifle playing "ooops, where'd that head go!?" and STILL manage to be a fully functioning member of society? then you'll understand just where I'm coming from. It's a thin line I know but I was surfing it all the same to sweet sweet freedom!

1:03AM - And then a good half an hour or so later I walked out that door more or less unscathed! Don't ask me how the FUCK that happened, there's just some things that don't bear explaining: short of an incident involving an HB pencil, a place where that an HB pencil has no rights in being, "Luxembourg.. huh, what!? I don't know what you're talking about?", and a blowtorch. But we're out've there now and that's all that matters! Let's never speak of this EVER again! Just like it's anyone's guess how Zac managed to empty out that venue in record time using nothing but a fistful of paper "currency", a few dozen foamy ales and nothing but a thank you? Fuuuck he's just like Gandhi! Who knew that simply "paying the bands" at the end of the night would shortfuse this volatile shitstorm and spare us this magical monastery of music for another night running!? YEAAAS! No wonder the Jade Monkey is o - Spoz's Rant, Faster Louder


Listening to The Barons of Tang is a flavorsome experience. Suffused with Romany and traditional tango sounds, they are unable to be defined by one particular musical style. The Barons of Tang, as member Julian Cue explains, play “traditional instruments in an untraditional way. We look to Eastern European, gypsy-kind of influences.” As a result, this eight-piece ensemble serves up a zesty feast, often labeled as ‘gypsy death-core music’.

Such inspiration forms fantastically eclectic, complicated and hardy sounds. The Barons of Tang could be a verb: A ferocious bite, and a lively connotation. Spawning from Melbourne’s underground theater life, The Barons of Tang form a colorful crew consisting of; Don Carlos Parraga (Accordion, Vocals), Julian Cue (Double bass, Vocals), Caleb Trott (Saxophone, clarinet, Mandolin, Vocals), Jeremy Schwertfeger (Electric Guitar, Electric Violin, Vocals), Annie Pfeiffer (Percussion, Vocals), Nick Ryan-Glenie (Tuba, Trumpet, Vocals) and Sean Wyers (Drums, design, vocals.).

Creating music amongst a large cast seems like an exhausting process; however, Cue reflects not so much on the collaboration, but instead the writing of such complex compositions.

“It’s a democracy, there are arguments, but we are trying to get more savvy with writing the music, which is the hard part … It’s a nail biting, slow-going process.”

The consistent collaboration of each instrument forms a clean and heady partition of sound that forces its way through you. Intricate, and memorable, The Barons of Tang create a rhythmic labyrinth of throbbing beats. The haunting ‘Red Staind Star’ is a sharp tremble, with a dark and full-bodied arrangement, while songs like, ‘It’s hard to smile,’ are delicate and posses a soft and a infectious sound.

Since the release of their 2008 self titled EP, The Barons of Tang have spent most of their time on-stage. Earlier this year, they headed out on their “Plague on Wheels Tour”, which has seen the rowdy crew take-on stages across the nation. “We can now call all parts of Australia our home, we have friends in every state,” Cue explains. It is the celebrated on-stage appearances that set The Barons of Tang apart from other performers, earning themselves a respected following. By “feeding” their audiences with a woven collection of fiery tango, rockabilly, Latin and gypsy infused tunes; these guys like to make your feet move. This is the true success of the ensemble, and the ability to transport you from an Australian stage to a creaking, wooden floor, in a far off European village.

With an endless gig list, still planned for 2009, The Barons of Tang are getting ready to perform at Sydney’s boisterous Green Fairyland Festival on Halloween. Cue assures that they are all, “really excited about it! We get to play beside our great friends Mojo Ju Ju and are really looking forward to the festival!” Cue adds enthusiastically. After 2009, there are loose plans to head overseas, the future remains uncertain, but Cue says they are all positive about the movement of the ensemble. “If we get to do what were doing now, and continue gigging and working with great people than that’s just fantastic.” Undoubtedly, the future is theirs to shape and they would not have it any other way.

You can catch Barons of Tang at The Green Fairyland Festival this coming Halloween at Tumbalong Park, Darling Harbour.

http://news.musiqueart.net/category/currentissue/ - Musique Art Sept 4th 09


Listening to The Barons of Tang is a flavorsome experience. Suffused with Romany and traditional tango sounds, they are unable to be defined by one particular musical style. The Barons of Tang, as member Julian Cue explains, play “traditional instruments in an untraditional way. We look to Eastern European, gypsy-kind of influences.” As a result, this eight-piece ensemble serves up a zesty feast, often labeled as ‘gypsy death-core music’.

Such inspiration forms fantastically eclectic, complicated and hardy sounds. The Barons of Tang could be a verb: A ferocious bite, and a lively connotation. Spawning from Melbourne’s underground theater life, The Barons of Tang form a colorful crew consisting of; Don Carlos Parraga (Accordion, Vocals), Julian Cue (Double bass, Vocals), Caleb Trott (Saxophone, clarinet, Mandolin, Vocals), Jeremy Schwertfeger (Electric Guitar, Electric Violin, Vocals), Annie Pfeiffer (Percussion, Vocals), Nick Ryan-Glenie (Tuba, Trumpet, Vocals) and Sean Wyers (Drums, design, vocals.).

Creating music amongst a large cast seems like an exhausting process; however, Cue reflects not so much on the collaboration, but instead the writing of such complex compositions.

“It’s a democracy, there are arguments, but we are trying to get more savvy with writing the music, which is the hard part … It’s a nail biting, slow-going process.”

The consistent collaboration of each instrument forms a clean and heady partition of sound that forces its way through you. Intricate, and memorable, The Barons of Tang create a rhythmic labyrinth of throbbing beats. The haunting ‘Red Staind Star’ is a sharp tremble, with a dark and full-bodied arrangement, while songs like, ‘It’s hard to smile,’ are delicate and posses a soft and a infectious sound.

Since the release of their 2008 self titled EP, The Barons of Tang have spent most of their time on-stage. Earlier this year, they headed out on their “Plague on Wheels Tour”, which has seen the rowdy crew take-on stages across the nation. “We can now call all parts of Australia our home, we have friends in every state,” Cue explains. It is the celebrated on-stage appearances that set The Barons of Tang apart from other performers, earning themselves a respected following. By “feeding” their audiences with a woven collection of fiery tango, rockabilly, Latin and gypsy infused tunes; these guys like to make your feet move. This is the true success of the ensemble, and the ability to transport you from an Australian stage to a creaking, wooden floor, in a far off European village.

With an endless gig list, still planned for 2009, The Barons of Tang are getting ready to perform at Sydney’s boisterous Green Fairyland Festival on Halloween. Cue assures that they are all, “really excited about it! We get to play beside our great friends Mojo Ju Ju and are really looking forward to the festival!” Cue adds enthusiastically. After 2009, there are loose plans to head overseas, the future remains uncertain, but Cue says they are all positive about the movement of the ensemble. “If we get to do what were doing now, and continue gigging and working with great people than that’s just fantastic.” Undoubtedly, the future is theirs to shape and they would not have it any other way.

You can catch Barons of Tang at The Green Fairyland Festival this coming Halloween at Tumbalong Park, Darling Harbour.

http://news.musiqueart.net/category/currentissue/ - Musique Art Sept 4th 09


Discography

Self Titled EP 2008

Live DVD 2008

"Knots and Tangles" EP to be released in October 2010
Avialble through the Planet Company and itunes

Photos

Bio

Buckle Up Kids!!! The Barons of Tang are coming!

Gracing stages all over the world, this rag-tag bunch of misfits are slowly building an empire out of gaffa tape and bitumen. Mixing Klezmer and Balkan feels with punk, bent folk music and whatever’s lying around the kitchen, these feisty troubadours are making waves!

2012 has kept the seven-piece busy. Hot on the heels of their international "Post-World Music" Tour, which saw The Barons of Tang play over 40 shows, high tailing it across the USA, Canada, Mexico, Europe, New Zealand and the UK, as well as playing a stack of shows back home in Australia.

The Post-World Music Tour included performances at Tropical Heatwave Festival (USA), Summer Arts and Music Festival (USA), Festival Du Folk Sale (CAN), Widows Peak Festival (USA), Mad Summer Meltdown (USA), Ann Arbour Summer Music Festival (USA), Sziget Festival (HUN), Roskilde Festival (DK), Colours of Ostrava Festival (CZ), Secret Garden Party (UK), BT River of Music Festival as Part of the Olympic celebrations (UK), Sfinks Festival (BEL) and WOMAD UK.

Through out Australia the Barons had feature performances at WOMADelaide (SA), Wide Open Spaces (NT) and shared the stage with infamous Irish folk-punk icons The Pogues on their Australian Tour. The Barons of Tang now hit the Australian Summer festival circuit while also starting production on their debut album.

Since their inception in 2007, the Barons have constantly strived to innovate their sound, with an arsenal of instruments such as bass clarinet, accordion, banjo and double bass, the band is redefining the limits of both “punk” and “world” music. They have toured relentlessly, stepping onto stages at Woodford Folk Festival (AUS), SPLORE Festival (NZ), Byron Bay Blues and Roots Festival (AUS), The Falls (AUS), WOMAD NZ and a whole bunch more! They have played alongside international artists such as Gogol Bordello, Fanfare Ciocarlia - Gypsy Kings and Queens and Besh O Drom.

The Barons of Tang are slated to release their third CD and debut Album in 2013. The bands 2nd EP, Knots and Tangles, is distributed by The Planet Company.

Prepare to dance!

The Barons of Tang are a dynamic and creative collective and a well organised machine. Their live show is adaptable to any performance environment and the group is amicable to creative collaborations with other artists and performers.