What happens when a folk band become monomaniacally obsessed with the Heroic Age of Antarctic exploration? For the NZ Fringe Festival 2013, hard-touring Auckland-based alt-folk outfit Bond Street Bridge present "The Explorer's Club: Antarctica" ' a song cycle inspired by the extraordinary stories of Captain Scott's ill-fated journey to the South Pole and Ernest Shackleton's epic Endurance expedition.
These tales of tragedy and courage ' the heroic self-sacrifice of Captain Oates, the five months Shackleton's crew spent camped on an ice floe drifting in the Weddell sea, Worsley's superhuman 850-mile open-boat voyage to South Georgia - are presented as a series of songs connected by spoken word interludes, beautifully illustrated with projections of mixed-media works by artist Emily Cater and heritage images from the Alexander Tunrnbull Library collection. Songwriter Sam Prebble has drawn inspiration from the diaries and letters left behind by these titans of the twilight of the British Empire, and he has produced a series of stirring, poignant songs that celebrate the indomitable spirit of half-mad adventurers wandering lost, isolated and far from home, adrift at the bottom of the world.
Bond Street Bridge perform these songs with rich vocal harmonies and jangling acoustic guitars, rumbling upright basses and wailing fiddles, bringing the stories to life with the trademark sonic wizardry that has seen them fill houses around the country and secure invitations to open for acts as diverse as The Books and Don McGlashan. Bond Street Bridge toured an early version of this show through a snowbound South Island deep in the winter of 2012, performing at the New Zealand IceFest in Christchurch and transporting audiences throughout the Dominion to a time when hardship meant something, pluck was everything, and if worse came to worst one could always eat the dogs.