Live Review: The Teskey Brothers + Harmony Byrne – Metro Theatre, Sydney (03.11.19)

There’s a strange level of community in country and blues music. It’s not the genre of music I’d listen to the most. But, every time I head along to a gig by a band playing this type of music, I’m bound to walk away after ninety minutes with a big dumb smile on my face and real bounce in my step. This is exactly how I felt after watching The Teskey Brothers enchant a full Metro Theatre whilst on their sold out national tour. Playing a run of three shows at the venue, The Teskey Brothers were infectious with their enthusiasm, class and overall joy at playing such a large show.

Opening the show was Harmony Byrne. Playing a smooth forty minute set, Byrne played select tracks off of her upcoming album, while throwing in a cover to close things out acapella style. The highlight of her short set was new single “Come Down vs Calm Down”. It was all too brief, but still worth a listen.

Entering the stage right on 8:45, the Teskey Brothers did an all too brief introduction to the crowd, before busting into the cruisey and brilliant “Man of the Universe”. One thing you pick up straight away from The Teskey Brothers is just how good a mood the music puts you in. From the husky and caramel vocal of front man Josh Teskey, to the slinky bass in just about all their tracks and the sleek addition of a brass section, everything the band does is nothing but good times.

Up next was “Let Me Let You Down”. A love song of sorts, it was fitting that it was placed so early in the set, as it works brilliantly as an opener on their Run Home Slow album from earlier in the year. Inspired by the Bill Withers track “Lean On Me”, up next was “Carry On”, a track that is just as tender and earnest.

As the first appearance from their Half Mile Harvest album, “Say You’ll Do” followed in a similar pattern as “Carry On”, but felt a little more distraught in its closing stages. The horns came together as “I Get Up” was delivered with everything you’d expect from the best soul performers of the past. Speaking about how the track was written as a bit of whinge about not having any money, “I Get Up” really crushed the tone of the night.

“San Francisco” got a run, while the whistle and banjo classic in waiting “Sunshine Baby” was a real treat. If you haven’t heard the track, just picture a flashback sequence to a better time from any Disney movie and you’ll be able to hear the song. Once more, the horns were subtle but warranted. Josh Teskey mentioned that it’s the type of music everyone will be listening to in 2060, as he wrote it as if he was looking back on the past from the future. If this is true, my mid sixties will be bloody great.

“So Caught Up” was matched in its class by the guitar groove driven “Paint My Heart”. A track already long in length, the mid track jam sesh only added depth to an already killer song. Announcing that they were going to take things a little old school, the dance vibe of “Louisa” was the real party moment of an already party driven set.

Acting as main set closer, the funkiest moment of the night came in the form of “Right For Me”, as the band, sound, light and stage crew were all formally introduced. As the band said their first goodbyes, you grew to understand how good of a guy and front man Josh Teskey must be. He was honest and keen, and seemed genuinely stoked to be playing the show. It might be a simple thing, but it was refreshing to see a musician be so openly thankful for the crowd and occasion.

Returning with “Pain and Misery”, the band closed on “Hold Me”. I’ve been to maybe 180 headline shows in my gig-going life, and in that time there’s only been a handful of times where I’ve felt like it’s been a life affirming moment. The closing few minutes of “Hold Me”, sung by the crowd and band sans instruments, was one of those times. It was special and truly a fantastic way to end the night.

I wrote at the start of the article that Country and Blues goes hand-in-hand with community and good times. It definitely does. But when it’s delivered by a band as pure and great as The Teskey Brothers, well, it just goes to another level. If you ever get a chance to see them live, don’t sleep on it. You won’t be disappointed.

FIVE STARS (OUT OF FIVE)

The Teskey Brothers continue their entirely sold out national tour on the following dates:

Fri 8 November | The Gov, Adelaide
Sat 9 November | Handpicked Festival, Langhorne Creek
Sun 10 November | The Gov, Adelaide
Tue 12 November | The Forum, Melbourne
Wed 13 November | The Forum, Melbourne
Fri 15 November | The Forum, Melbourne
Sat 16 November | The Forum, Melbourne
Wed 20 November | The Triffid, Brisbane
Thu 21 November | The Triffid, Brisbane
Fri 22 November | The Triffid, Brisbane
Thu 28 November | Astor Theatre, Perth
Fri 29 November | Rock Rover, Fremantle
Sat 30 November | The River Hotel, Margaret River

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