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HUSBAND

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Husband – Photo by Alfred Gorman

The Little Lord Street Band/Limbo/Moana

Mojos Bar

Friday, January 23, 2015

 

Husband have been on the Perth scene for a while, with a few changing lineups. The outfit is essentially the project of songwriter, guitarist, vocalist Michael Paolino, who has fronted a few other bands in the past, but with Husband seems to have found his stride – and with the release of their long awaited debut album The Money, looks set to take things to the next level.

The Little Lord Street Band have been getting some attention lately with prolific gigging and their sweet little indie folk songs, and they started off the night in fine fashion. The couple of Natasha Shanks and James Rogers (Patient Little Sister, Harlequin League) write warm, personable pop tunes. Highlight was romantic single The Rose and Wrong But Right with Rogers playing a great solo on the acoustic.

Limbo were up next and produced another professional set. The four piece are a great band with a really nice chilled vibe – good harmonies, both vocally and with their three guitar attack including some awesome dirty bluesy lead, as well as keyboards. Some tunes have a rootsy sound reminiscent of Gomez. The core of the group is Christopher Callan who’s been in The Panda Band and Sons of Rico, and Scottish singer Graham McLuskie, and together have some serious songwriting chops.

Taking things in a different direction net was Moana, with their unique brand of intense, psychedelic, Gothic rock. Frontwoman Moana Lutton’s powerful vocals are the centrepiece, soaring over crashing distorted guitars and wild bass. Her energy and stage presence was at turns Dark Sorceress and Axl Rose – in the best possible way. Swaying and grooving, long hair and purple velvet skirt, matching the red velvet of Mojos’ stage, she does indeed moan and wail and intone deep vibrations, and it’s from the soul.

But this was Husband’s night, and long in the making. Paolino and band strode on stage with purpose, took up their instruments and launched into Gun In His Hand with a strong start, the song ending with big guitar solo.

One of their big singles, Ordinary, was torn through. With his deep voice Paolino is an enigmatic brooding force at front of stage, looking almost lion-like with his thick mane of wavy dark hair obscuring his face.

Next they played a smooth version of Bill Withers’ classic Ain’t No Sunshine that changed things up with its soulful groove. Then they picked it up again with Understand, a rousing ballad and one of the strongest tracks on the new album.

Willow Tree, released on a previous EP but was re-recorded for the new album in a bit of a different style, sounded even better tonight. It was a well balanced set as they mixed it up with some nice slower ballads featuring great little flourishes from Anneke Di Rooij on keys.

First of a couple new songs was Nullarbor, which Paolino said was about driving across Australia with his wife. All I Need sees his swinging baritone vocal conjure the spirit of Jim Morrison, with the retro keys and heavy groove really getting the crowd going.

A surprise cover of Joy Division’s Disorder was executed brilliantly – as good a rendition of the tune as you’re likely to hear, from anyone, including Peter Hook. The track was played a bit slower, allowing its sparse beauty to shine, with gentle piano, Sebastian Kane locking down the bassline and Paolino’s vocal spot on while he smoothed down that classic, angular guitar riff a little.

Current single and album title track The Money was a great contrast. A big tune with a lot of power, it’s as good as any single you might hear with a singalong climax. It was a tight, diverse and accomplished set, with the band now having a solid back catalogue to choose from. Alongside a couple covers and some new material, the 14-song setlist was well paced and kept things interesting the whole way.

Before launching into Invitation the penultimate song of the night, Paolino took off his shirt and threw it into the crowd (never to be seen again) which drew hollers and whistles from the crowd. Dialling things up a notch, they finished strongly on Caught, the opening song of the album. A fitting end to a great night of music and reason to celebrate for Husband with the album finally out and an impressive, successful launch from this accomplished band.

 

ALFRED GORMAN

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