Mark Seymour and Jeff Lang head to Queenstown for The Unconformity

An article about the Unconformity arts festival in Tasmania featuring Mark Seymour.

Author:  Scott Gelston, The Examiner.

Date: 12 October 2018.

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Article Text

Legendary: Mark Seymour and The Undertow will healine the musical offerings at the Unconformity festival in Queenstown.

Almost seventy-five years to the day since the iconic Paragon Theatre in Queenstown opened its doors to the public, the tiny West-Coast venue will again be packed to the rafters for a pair of events during the Unconformity arts festival.

Landing a long way from that night’s opening film, Mae West starring in She Done Him Wrong, the walls will reverberate with the electric blues of Jeff Lang on Friday October 19 followed by the impeccable songs of Mark Seymour on Saturday October 20.

For Seymour, the chance to visit the West Coast was opportunity he couldn’t resist.

“The location is a big attraction for me, getting into Queenstown,” he said.

“I’ve always wanted to go there but have never been before. It’s got an incredible history, and I’m fascinated by that part of the world.”

The singer-songwriter will be delivering a 30 song set with his band The Undertow while in town, but also plans on diving into the history of the coast.

“I’m really interested in Australia’s industrial history and especially mining,” Seymour said.

“There was an era in Australian history that was forgotten in many ways, sort of the development of the industrial state and how a lot of it was quite provincial in these remote rural areas attached to mining.

“These places were the engine room of the Australian economy for the first half of the 20th century and then they went into decline for whatever reason.”

Kicking off the musical offerings will be three-time ARIA award winner Jeff Lang who will bring his virtuoso guitar playing to town.

“I’ll be playing solo and have my posse of three guitars with me, my lap steel, regular guitar and a resonator,” Lang said of his upcoming set.

“I’ll be pulling out my peculiar blend of disturbed folk music.”

Paragon co-owner Joy Chappell is looking forward to hosting the concerts and all the attention that the festival will bring to the town.

“We’ve been a big fan of Hunters and Collectors over the years so to have Mark Seymour here with the Undertow is is absolutely thrilling for us,” Ms Chappell said.

After taking over the Paragon Theatre in 2014, Ms Chappell and fellow co-owner Anthony Coulson have worked hard to continue restoring the iconic building and using it to show pre-1960’s films and host small concerts.

“We want it to be an event venue, we didn’t really envisage having such big acts so soon but these sorts of acts have always been on our wish list and hopefully they’re the first of many to come” she said.

“Back in the day you used to have people like The Easybeats and AC/DC visit.

“Everybody still talks about them coming to Queenstown so hopefully that will be the future of The Paragon… well maybe not AC/DC but you never know,” said Ms Chappell with a laugh.