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Live Review: Boy and Bear, Battleships, Dustin Tebbutt @ The Tivoli 09.11.13

Battleships

Often, when seeing a bigger-scale act in a venue such as The Tivoli, you can expect to see less-impressive bands supporting the real reason why you purchased your ticket. Sometimes they’re nice to listen to while you’re waiting, other times you find yourself pleasantly surprised and, in a rare situation, you will find yourself enamoured by band after band, each complimenting each other’s strengths and proving memorable in their own right. This was one of those nights.

Dustin Tebbutt graced the stage, a solo act under the stark spotlight, guitar in hand. What followed was a polished and multi-layered performance, his guitar taking the place of many instruments, his voice resonating to the furthest audience members. By far, the stand out track of his performance was also his best-known: The Breach is a delicate song that found a surprising power in the live setting. The audience slowly trickled in, each finding their ears pricked by the warmth of his performance.

Sydney-siders Battleships have been impressing listeners for some time now, and to see them in the flesh left no doubt of their talent. Their set started slowly, building momentum. Then, lead singer and part-time comedian Jordan Sturdee endeared the audience by way of awkward humour, before launching into a completely unexpected explosion of sound. The beats were intense, the guitar solos soared, and Sturdee’s voice remained at a contrasting high. Your Words blew the lid off The Tivoli with its synchopated power guitars, while the instantly-recognisable Coming Back To You was a smooth as could be hoped for.

Pictures: Boy and Bear, Battleships, Dustin Tebbutt live at the Tivoli Brisbane

boy and bear

Boy and Bear, Photo: Sarah Paddon

Boy & Bear’s entrance on stage was soundtracked by echoing applause and Electric Light Orchestra’s Evil Woman. Besides being a great song in itself, the choice of track didn’t make much sense in the moment. However, once they introduced the latest tracks from their most recent album, ‘Harlequin Dream’, the pieces all came together. The five piece have continued to transform their sound over their relatively-short career, and the newest offerings are a definite nod to vintage sounds not unlike Fleetwood Mac and the Jeff Lynne fronted ELO. However, their set started with the “classics”; the ever-popular Rabbit Song brought the crowd up to the band’s level, seamlessly cruising into the stunning Lordy May. Western twangs entwined with burned projections of deserts and dusty highways brought us from old to new, with tunes such as Back Down the Black and Harlequin Dream, not to mention Southern Sun, the new single that was embellished with a flawless saxophone solo. A violin duet was added to the heavier tune, Milk & Sticks, and then the stripped back Big Man was a stunning follow up. Then, between songs and during some awkward banter between band members, there’s a call from the audience: a couple in attendance have become engaged at some point during Boy & Bear’s set. With this, the lights were turned on, and the band offered their congratulations, amidst some confusion as to how a proposal could have been possible considering the sheer volume of the performance. Nevertheless, we’re back. Part Time Believer is a wonderful live track, the waltzing tune offering itself to gentle sways, inviting a mass singalong. The amps are turned up for the finale – definitely the finale, no chance of a reprise, according to Dave Hoskins – but when said closing songs include Golden Jubilee and Feeding Line, there’s little left for wanting. Always a pleasure to see Boy & Bear in fine form, proving a memorable evening of music overall (for some more than others). 

boy and bear

Boy and Bear, Photo: Sarah Paddon

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