Live Review: An Horse – Annandale Hotel (03.06.2011)

The Gold Coats tell us early they were devastated about leaving their actual gold coats at the Jetstar terminal in Brisbane, but manage to play a lively set to a gradually filling bar.

We’re told the drummer Nadia, who hasn’t played drums all that much, has bruises all over her legs from playing her tambourine too hard. Nadia manages to multi-task, playing drums with a drumstick in one hand and shaking a tambourine in the other. The catchiest song of the night is about mature age students, with lyrics: “I thought long, I thought hard. I went online, I re-enrolled,” and had everyone around me toe-tapping and singing along. Their cover of Paul Kelly’s ‘From St Kilda to Kings Cross’ brings a fresh sweetness to the song and its well-known lyrics. 

An Horse members Kate Cooper and Damon Cox arrive on stage to a nearly full bar, but feedback from one of the amps during set opener Trains and ‘Tracks’ from Walls puts them on the back foot early. The feedback was only noticeable in the first track, but for the rest of the set Cooper made a point of mentioning her disappointment with the sound.

“If you know the words to any of these songs, then sing to drown out the terrible sound of this amp,” she urged the crowd. And sing along they did, to ‘Little Lungs’ and ‘Company’ from 2009’s Rearrange Beds. Though the bad amp was spoken about after every few songs, its problems didn’t stop the crowd from enjoying the set. Cooper and Cox had fun on stage later in the set, joking about Cooper’s mum in the front row telling everyone she was her sister. Cox had to tell a fan: “I can’t afford to give you a drum stick, I’ve only got three left!”

Energetic and upbeat songs ‘Brain on Table’, ‘Walls’ and ‘Postcards’ were the standouts of an otherwise slower set, with Cooper and Cox getting the crowd to bounce along together. ‘Dressed So Sharply’ had the crowd singing “Dressed so sharply, you know I will read, every word you send me,” solo in the last chorus, spurring Cooper to ask everyone: “Could you feel it?” Cooper got a laugh and cheers from the crowd when she replied: “That’s what he said!”

Sweet ballad ‘Swallow the Sea’ ended the set and had the front row swaying along. Cooper had commented earlier in the night they really felt like a two-piece at this gig – something they’re not used to. They seemed relieved to finish up and leave The Annandale and the inferior amps behind. 

The new album Walls is filled with heartfelt lyrics and bouncy riffs. An Horse delivered new and old songs to a happy crowd with a lot of love. It’s just a shame they didn’t seem to have as much fun playing them as we did hearing them. 

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Justine McNamara

I'm an Australian living in New York. I work in marketing but I write about music, New York, and my own personal experiences.

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