Gods Cowboys reunite after 20 years for a special fundraiser event of tomfoolery and shenanigans. Slim, Buck, and Billy are God-fearing cowboys looking to spread the good word through comedy, live music, and a love of red meat. For two nights only, the trio brought their 1990s classic set back to the stage for a great cause.
Opening the comedy concert, the folk band Good Tom Wallace played a set of songs to get the audience into the Wild West mood. The tight quartet of two guitars, a fiddle, and a banjo played a selection of folk favourites including “Long Black Veil” and “Red Rocking Chair”. While the performance was relatively low-key, there’s nothing quite like the whine and call of a fiddle to get someone’s jumping beans going. For their final song, the band brought Ronelle Knowles on stage for an acoustic rendition of “Down to the River to Pray” which quickly calmed the rambunctious crowd.
This reunion performance of Gods Cowboys, hosted by Lou Lou Pollard and Marko Mustac as a cantankerous country couple, was held as a fundraiser for Ronelle Knowles, a Sydney choir director, who was recently diagnosed with incurable cancer. As the wife of John Knowles, who plays Billy, the trio hoped to raise funds to support the Knowles family post-diagnosis and into the unknowable future. Through donations during the performances, some silent auctions, and online donations, the fundraiser proved successful in raising over $20,000 for the Knowles family. Within the Petersham Bowling Club there was a serious sense of community, of rallying around and giving what you can, whether that’s money, time, or laughter.
The trio of Gods Cowboys certainly delivered in terms of laughter. The group is well-rehearsed and they bounce off each other easily in their stage personas of cowboy preachers. George Catsi as the smooth-talking, slick Slim leads the calls for prayer and salvation from a beef-loving God while John Knowles as the meek and naive Billy is hilarious in his innocent navigation of the larger issues of life. Buck, the central mediator and song leader played by David Delves, is a gentle guiding hand through the more convoluted lines of Slim’s logical arguments. It is certainly something to see three blinged-out Southern cowboys stride on stage (on horseback of sorts) in the middle of Inner-West Sydney.
The night was a mixed-bag in terms of family friendly comedy with jokes ranging from puns to humorous plodding through misunderstanding of the Bible to far too many unsavoury jabs at paedophilia and child abuse in the Church. Gods Cowboys are quick and clever satirists of Christianity as it manifests in ignorance and denial but they also as a very Jordan Peterson-esque carnivorous slant to their preaching. This included a Holy Communion with cabanossi and a goon sack as well as a human/cow sacrifice to close out the performance. Whatever hijinks the trio are attempting to lure their audience into, the three performers are confident and controlled with an ear to the atmosphere of the room.
Gods Cowboys Ride Again was a good-natured community performance of comedy veterans for a wonderful cause.