Good sounds, bad sounds and Mike Patton.

The pallid beauty of the recital hall was revealed as the masses fled to the bar after the first act. Caroline and I resumed our conversation discussing the atmospheric wonderful-ness we’d just seen.

Our chat was overshadowed by a loud voice behind us.

“I liiike, haven’t smoked pot for aaages now. But I was liiike in Byron man and had some really good hydro a few months baaack,” he said. He was a short, hairy guy who’s deep voice was a great misrepresentation of his physicality.

You, me and Caroline, we’ve all met this guy –– talks nonsensically at full volume on a train, plane or bus and has a queue of people wanting to punch him in the face by the end of the conversation.

And he continued. “Nahhhh… I don’t really think of myself as a connoisseur of marijuana, but liiiike I know where to get good produce”.

Caroline and I stopped talking altogether. She eavesdropped then gave me an eye roll. We were in agreement, he was another narcissistic, drug-loving cool-hunter, complete with perfectly torn band shirt and lazy phonetics. Just another character in the beautiful mess of suits, trendies, music aficionados or Sonic Youth and Mike Patton lovers assembled at the recital hall that night.

The lights dimmed and the orchestra and singers came on stage and Mr Narcissus stopped talking. Wild shrieks and applause filled the space as a bespectacled Mike Patton walked out and waited for his cue to start.

The long-haired chatterbox behind us was silent as mesmerised as we all were by the performance unfolding on stage. A bizarre composition of words, noises, instruments and shapes splashed on-screen. Patton began to play his part, assuming his Italian alter ego rolling his r’s like a happy feline.

“Hot”. That’s what the lady up front said when the hall fell silent and Patton had finished arousing the crowd. Yes, hot indeed. Scan the faces in the crowd and you could pick the ladies with flushed cheeks and naughty thoughts.

The rest of the performance was a blur. Lots of wolf whistles, appreciative commentary and standing ovations at the end. Caroline and I waited for our row to clear so we could make our way out.

“Oh hey maaan yeah cool nice to meet you, where you from? I’m Ricky so whaddya think? Yeahh man I loved it. Well yeah like me and the baaand, we dabbled..”

Wonderful, I thought. Here we go again…

*Photo courtesy of

Sydney Festival