Husky – Live review

23 May 2011

Written by: Radhika Chopra

They toured the US earlier in the year; won a Triple J competition to play at Push Over Festival 2011; have just come off a tour with Roots ‘n’ Blues kings John Butler Trio; and are preparing to drop the album Forever So in the coming months. Anyone would think the members of local band Husky would be beat by their efforts, but they were a sight to see on Saturday at their sold out Melbourne show. From one brooding song to the next, they had the audience, and myself, enthralled.

What was expected to be a relaxing performance at the chilled out Northcote Social Club, turned out to be a show full of vigor and urgency.  The upbeat vibe was unexpected, but it was a pleasant surprise. Their sound was beautifully layered, and even with intricate instrumentation, they never missed a beat. Lead singer Husky Gawenda kept the crowd amused with his banter, keeping the night lively and relaxed. Channeling Fleet Foxes, but with heavier hooks and a real bluesy atmosphere, the crowd was incessantly whistling and cheering wanting to hear more from the four-piece.

The single ‘Dark Sea’, was a powerful number. Unlike the recorded track, the band took it to a new level, building the sound mid-way through the song. It was difficult to find fault with Gawenda’s vocals as he showcased delicate intonations, and strong harmonies. His ‘song about a dream about a memory in time’, as he put it, had distinctive chorus drumming, which gave it an almost tribal feel, making it difficult for anyone to corner the band into a genre. Their rendition of ‘Sandman’ by ’70s folk group America had the crowd mouthing the words in recognition, and pianist Gideon Preiss had a great solo just before the band got stuck into the much anticipated ‘History’s Door’. The song’s wind-down was once again a step away from the original track, lending further to Husky’s innovative musicianship.

When they decided to do an unplugged version of The Beatles’ ‘What Goes On’, there was not a single face in the room without a smile. Watching them standing on the merchandise bench as if they were simply busking in the street was a humbling delight, as none of the night’s quality was lost with a lack of instrumentation. By the end of their set, Husky proved that they were a very talented bunch, and I say If you get the chance to catch them live, do it.

Radhika Chopra is a Bachelor of Journalism student at La Trobe University and is a member of the upstart editorial team.