Saul on entertainment down under
Cabaret artiste Paul Taylor performs under the stage name of Saul. This tribute and cabaret singer worked for many years on the cabaret scene in Australia before returning to the UK five years ago. Paul makes comparisons between life in UK cabaret and the live entertainment scene down under.
Australia is a strange mix of British and American culture and by turning on any American music station you can hear a proliferation of rock and guitar based music. It should come as no surprise then to find that the Australian live music scene is biased towards acoustic and rock bands.
So where is the variety? Well having watched Australian Idol on television for three years, I would say they have a genuine desire to find and nurture talent.
Most areas in Australia have an RSL or retained service league clubs. These venues, a curious fusion of our British Legion and Territorial army organisations, vary in scale and facilities but invariably feature live entertainment. They are booming and many offer Casino, restaurant and cabaret rooms, as well as a bottle store (off licence) and bookmakers shop all under one roof.
Many pubs employ rock bands and acoustic musicians, but there are casino’s and corporate hotel work similar to this country in many ways.
Australia is where I saw what was possible. How creativity and imagination and hard work could be put into a show in order to build an all round spectacle, even in the smallest of venues. The management company that I worked with in Australia supplied the corporate market. Whole shows were moved from venue to venue, with a stage, great lighting, dancers and techy guys, plus usually three or four artistes. So what was being sold was a bigger and more professional show and consequently a great draw for ticket sales.
In Australia is was quite common for me to perform a Michael Buble or Robbie Williams tribute show with dancers and along with Tina Turner, Freddie Mercury and The Rolling Stones tributes all in ane evenings show. Live bands backed us and the venues were always full.
The largest gig I performed was an outdoor event in front of 10,000 people. This type of event is quite regular in Australia. The audiences are there to be entertained, so the vibe is much more positive than in many of the UK venues. The other great thing is the weather. You really can plan ahead for much of the year.
Aside from the black tie and corporate events, I was often asked to perform at private garden parties. Anyone who hasn’t been to OZ may not know that houses are often open plan and many have huge gardens with swimming pools. It’s a whole other world down under and my time there became part of my show business education.