Sunday, 28 October 2012

Gig Review - Texas Tea (28/10/12)

Live @ The Zoo, Brisbane.
Supported by: The Gin Club, The Madisons and James X. Boyd and The CEOs

Despite The Zoo's ridiculous ban of rum, it was impossible to resist the lure of Texas Tea's Kate Jacobson and Benjamin Dougherty as they brought their Sad Summer Hits tour home to Brisbane on Friday night. We walked in with the very retro, the very awesome and the very Hawaiian shirt wearing band The Madisons introducing, "a song about summer. It's called 'Summer Time'." I see what you did there. These five Brisbane ladies are definitely ones to look out for. Switching up the vocal lead, you've got four distinct voices that ranged from soulful (lady on the keys!) to fierce rocker (second from the left!) and, of course, everyone can pull off the doo-wops required of a sixties surf rock outfit. Release an album. I'd buy it. The Beards The Gin Club were up next; another local act comprised of talented multi-instrumentalists that rotated the vocal lead. As the crowd started to build up, The Gin Club delivered a pretty powerful set that earned a bigger response after each song.

11:10pm and the night's headliners were ready to go; Jacobson looking lovely, Dougherty's hair defying gravity. Along with their rhythm section of Myka Wallace (aka Brisbane's best drummer) and Glen Russell on bass (all mustaches pale in comparison to his), Texas Tea filled The Zoo with the sounds of incredible alt-country tunes, Elvis inspired ballads and a couple of classy covers. Their new album Sad Summer Hits is a really great listen and absolutely one of the best albums released this year, but hearing the songs performed live puts them on another level. Bands that sound even better live than recorded are a rare breed and Texas Tea definitely belong in that exclusive category. Jacobson's voice is larger than life throughout 'Lily;' the high notes she can effortlessly reach will bring a huge smile to your face. There's so much more to appreciate about Dougherty's speak/sing vocal style when you can see the expressions on his face during 'I Know That I Let You Down This Time.' 

We've said it in previous reviews, but when Jacobson and Dougherty let their powers combine, magic happens. The heartbreaking duet that leaves little to the imagination, 'I Love You Like I Love This Black Eye,' was the standout performance of the night. Whoever planned out the lighting gets a big gold star, as the spotlight fell on each singer as they took the lead to detail the awful realities of their toxic relationship before the lights came up on both as they asked, "why do I do these things to you?" 'I Don't Write No Sad Songs' had everyone up on their feet and The Madisons were invited on stage for support on 'Heart Says Yes (Head Says No),' adding another special dimension to what could be the best song of 2012. As Jacobson chatted about the ballad 'Wedding Belle,' she explained how she always wanted to write a song worthy of Elvis Presley. She came up with a story for an Elvis film about a poor young fella chasing after the gold digging leading lady as inspiration for the track. Jacobson believes that it's the closest she's gotten to writing a track The King could have sung. I believe the crowd on Friday would agree that Elvis would have been lucky to sing a song of its caliber.

Texas Tea have worked their way onto a list of mine reserved for bands that I'm going to go see every time I see they're playing nearby. Each show I've seen has been fun, the music has been amazing, the banter makes me laugh. Jacobson detailed their recent not-so-packed show in Tasmania, made up of the band, the support acts and one old woman "who had come down from the mountains." They even have their own teaspoons and napkins. I'm still waiting for my friend Sophie's review of the teaspoon and if it did/didn't enhance her tea experience, but I'm fairly positive it would have. It's a Texas Tea-spoon and apparently they can do no wrong. "Buy two and start your own band." Great advice. There's only two shows left on the Sad Summer Hits tour; tonight at Toowoomba's Spotted Cow and November 3 in Sydney at The Newsagency. I'm not going to say go out of your way and fly to Sydney to watch Texas Tea perform next Saturday, but if you're in Sydney next Saturday - go and see them! Oh, and if you're not in Sydney, you should probably go out of your way and fly/drive/get a train/get a bus/hitchhike to get there to see Texas Tea. What?     

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