Radnor + Lee may just be one of the most unexpected and intriguing musical acts of right now. You will be best acquainted with John Radnor as Ted Mosby from How I Met Your mother whilst Ben Lee is one of Australia’s most loved singer-songwriters whose ridiculously catchy song ‘Catch My Disease’ is still stuck in my head thirteen years later. So what happens when you put these two dynamic personalities together? Well apparently the answer is a folk duo with a lot of heart and a slightly religious outlook. The quirky duo released their self titled debut album in November 2017 and decided to introduce the record to listeners by hitting the road for what they describe this tour as “Columbus to Bondi” as they get to play in each other hometowns on the opposite sides of the world. “We are going to start the show with something a little unorthodox and play you a song we wrote today” the duo announced to the curious Brisbane crowd which packed into The Triffid on a cold Thursday night. The duo admitted that the majority of the crowd were probably totally unaware of what they got themselves into and hadn’t heard their album yet but that was totally okay with them. After playing the new song they dived into the album with fan favourite ‘Be Like The Being’ which instantly had the crowd singing along. They followed it up with tracks like ‘All Shall Be Well’ and new single ‘Here’ which they previously premiered on a live stream from Radnor’s couch. But the first half of the show was really dominated by unreleased material that they announced they would be heading back into the studio after this tour to record for their second album. Highlights included ‘Outside In’, the stadium inspired ‘Gimme Your Mess’ and the self proclaimed weird track ‘Greene Street’. Even though the crowd were unfamiliar with any of this material they duo had everyone captivated and in awe of just how well they bounced off each other.
Radnor took lead with vocals while Lee played guitar and harmonised to create this full band vibe which had you forgetting it was only the two of them on stage. The show was very raw and saw them choosing the order of the songs as they went and it created this really relaxed and euphoric atmosphere. Three songs in Lee ripped his shirt which had him quickly mocking himself and stating “Now this is a real rock n roll show”. You could tell that they were both just so happy to be there and performing that it made the crowd happy just watching them. Halfway through the show Lee left the stage to let Radnor talk to the crowd and play a solo track titled ‘Pretty Angel’. He admitted he wasn’t a great guitar player because he had only taken it up when he started the band but the crowd didn’t mind. He candidly opened up about the cancelation of the show ‘Rise’ which he starred in and the crowd gave him nothing but love back. Radnor left the stage and Lee re-appeared with his ripped shirt still on to perform his hit single ‘Cigarettes Will Kill You’. The duo then continued their set with ‘Doorstep’, ‘Still Though We Should Dance’ which they were joined by opening act Asher Jefferies before closing the show with an unplugged performance of ‘Give It Away’. The crowd couldn’t have been more captivated by this intimate and honest show that they were unsurprisingly chanting for more. They reappeared and confessed that they don’t do encores by principle and will only do if they feel like it fits and tonight was one of those nights. They finished with a rendition of ‘The Wild Man’ before saying good night. I was expecting there to be a lot of ‘How I Met Your Mother’ heckles throughout the show but the crowd was really respectful and just took in the moment which both artists commented on. It was a very candid show that felt special, unique and perfectly showcased the odd but fitting pairing of these two artists.
Check out the full photo gallery captured by The Raveyard Photography here;
Photos by Blake Lewis