Second time's a charm
Husky shine ... the second time around
The last time I saw Melbourne indie-folk act Husky I was vaguely disappointed. Having heard them as a support band for the likes of Kimbra and Noah and the Whale throughout last year, their own show was lacking. It was at the vacuous performance space that is The Standard. Their voices could barely be heard over the chatter and their first Sydney performance was rushed and messy. I left the gig feeling like a stage mum whose child has come fifth place.
But last night’s performance was a completely different story. The four players, including lead singer Husky Gawenda and his cousin Gideon Preiss, nailed it in every sense of the phrase.
This time they had chosen the smaller and confined venue of The Oxford Arts Factory. The harmonies were lush, the tempo was not rushed. Above all, it was the confidence of the performance that made it such a success. Their music was so warm and evocative, it was like they had draped a Melbourne tea cosy over the Oxford Arts Factory.
But Husky's confidence is hardly surprising given their stratospheric rise since that Sydney performance last year. They have been signed to record label Sub Pop (who also look after the likes of Fleet Foxes). They have also just returned from playing at the showcase South by Southwest.
And speaking of Fleet Foxes, there were definitely moments where you could hear the kings of indie folk making a brief appearance in Gideon’s virtuosic piano solos, his piano riff was impeccable in the introduction to The Woods. There was no nervous rushing, no uneven tempos. Husky’s vocals would move between a deep rumbling to high falsetto. In Animals and Freaks, drummer Luke Collins’ beats were gently discarded as the soaring melodies were stretched and elaborated with Husky’s slight vibrato. While bass player Evan Tweedie kept the delicate division between beauty and rock at ease.
The highlight of the performance was their beautifully evocative Hunter. The harmonies were strong and the quiet drumming gave the song an impressive edge. As they closed their set with their signature History’s Door – a whirling masterpiece of colourful melodies and gentle piano accompaniment – you can understand why promoter Michael Gudinski has invested so much time in this talented quartet. And I stood there smiling like a stage mum whose child has just won the whole eisteddfod.