A week until Summer officially begins, I’m standing in a raincoat shivering underneath the Melbourne Star Observation Wheel. It’s Friday 23rd of November and I’m here to experience the Melbourne Star’s Musical Menagerie, an exciting event happening as part of Melbourne Music Week 2018 (MMW18).
This is the last event of MMW18 I’m reporting on for Speaker TV. It’s also the event I’ve been most excited for. Melbourne Star’s Musical Menagerie is promised to be a “rotating musical menagerie”.
“Ten of Melbourne Star’s cabins will play host to a different MMW18 act, giving passengers a musical lucky dip as they board their flight. With acts ranging from acoustic singers, afro drums, rap and local DJs, each guest will enjoy a complimentary beverage to take on their rotation, as well as music and drinks in the Melbourne Star Departure Lounge.”
The artists performing in their respective Melbourne Star cabins are Tatafu, Amadou Suso, Kalala, Lamine Sonko, Neil Morris, Sioness, Kye, Blasko, One Sixth, Luis and Soli. I’m not sure who will be performing in my cabin, but I’m itching to find out!
As the rain gets heavier and the wind picks up, I start to worry about the structural integrity of the Melbourne Star itself. I look up at the criss crosses of steel and am reassured that it looks sturdy and not at all swaying in the wind. I’m glad though that I chose to bring along a friend I’d be happy to be trapped with for many hours, if something where to go awry.
We step into the cabin with around 10 other people. The doors shut, and our journey begins. An electronic voice echoes through invisible speakers, assuring us that the Melbourne Star moves in a “gentle, unhurried pace”. I say a little prayer, then we are off.
After we have all settled, the cabin’s musicians introduce themselves. One Sixth is a rapper and MC, and he is accompanied by his friend Luis on percussion. They get us all to introduce ourselves, we each go around and say our name. It diffuses a potentially awkward situation and immediately makes us all comfortable. We all laugh, albeit nervously, when Luis jokes, “if we die on this thing, we’ll all die together”.
One Sixth begins performing, spitting lyrics like a pro. Luis accompanies him, alternating between playing his cajón (a box-shaped percussion instrument) and a drum. One Sixth’s lyrics are thoughtful and insightful. His flow is effortless, and hearing his music is calming me – I’m a bit nervous about being up so high. I look around and everyone is nodding their heads to the beat or tapping their feet.
As the cabin climbs higher, it begins to get a bit warm. After all, the cabin is all windows and the sun has decided to peek its head out from behind the rain clouds. Amidst the discussion of feeling like we’re all overheating, someone jokes, “how do we open a window?”, and Luis comedically picks up his drum and pretends to smash a window. It’s hilarious. I love how One Sixth and Luis use comedy to help us cope with this potentially claustrophobic, fear inducing experience.
In between songs, One Sixth and Luis share stories about their friendship and work together. They met 11 years ago and have been mates ever since. They nail the balance between conversation and performance, it’s obvious they are seasoned entertainers. It’s lovely to hear their stories and to gain more insight into their world and their music.
Even though I feel dizzy at times looking at the view from the Melbourne Star it is beautiful. Seeing Melbourne from this height is incredible. We have 360 degree views of the city, and as a life long resident of Melbourne, I’m loving seeing a new side of the city from this angle. The combination of the stunning view and amazing music is a winning one.
Melbourne Star’s Musical Menagerie was a fabulous addition to MMW18. Not only did it showcase Melbourne music, it also showcased the city of Melbourne. I hope that this event is a staple of MMW for many years to come!
Also, a note to the Melbourne Star Observation Wheel: do more live music events like this! Going to the Melbourne Star is something I would only do a couple of times, but if there was regular live music as part of it, I’d be keen to visit much more often! If I can reccomend anything, it’s to make the Melbourne Star Musical Menagerie a regular thing.
Find out more information about MMW18 here.
Book tickets for the Melbourne Star Observation Wheel here.