YouTube Live: The Axis of Awesome hits “Four Chords”

Like red drapes? Convinced you really should “take your canvas bags to the supermarket?” This one’s for you. It’s live from the Comedy Store in Sydney, Jim, but not as we know it. First up, is that Jack Black’s brother in the middle? And who are this trio of sartorially challenged worthies with that strange accent we last heard from Crocodile Dundee? The Axis of Awesome comes from a land down under, and consists of three blokes: comedian/guitarist Jordan Raskopoulos, Benny Davis, a classically trained musician on keyboards, and funny man singer Lee Naimo, allegedly an Iron Chef enthusiast. You may tell that from his girth.

The Axis came together in 2006 and tread the boards across the world, peddling their humorous songs and pop music parodies. Their first break came with a series of silly rap parodies satirizing the Australian elections in 2007. The band then picked up the Melbourne International Comedy Festival’s Moosehead Award in 2008 for their show, The Axis of Awesome Comeback Spectacular. The show has played to sold out audiences all over the shop since then.

The Axis, though, is probably best known for Four Chords, in which the trio rattle off a selection of songs which use the same basic chord structure. There’s a studio version, a live version (below), and countless homages from the school of video response. Almost as entertaining are the hundreds of comments on YouTube. I particularly like the slight disagreement about whether the third chord is a C#m or a plain C#. Then you scroll down, and you find “Hey what chords are these?”, and the whole thing starts over. I creased up at the mention of sheep music too: “My favourite type of music is sheep music.” Baa.

There are some lovely moments in Four Chords, from the fake environmental anthem “Canvas Bags” by British-born Aussie comedian Tim Minchin, to the screeching A-Ha falsetto, and even the inclusion of their own ground-breaking piece, “Birdplane”. “I’m more than a bird/I’m more than a plane/I’m a birdplane.” But don’t let me spoil the pleasure, click play now.


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