Hadn’t seen Brett and Rennie Sparks since they played the Bierkeller while promoting the last album three years ago so we were looking forward to seeing them in the intimate St George’s recital room. The audience was mainly made up of middle aged Bob Harris listeners and the acoustics of the former church which usually puts on choral recitals and classical music suited the couples understated and quiet style of haunting americana.
Be-suited Brett on guitar and looking more gothic than ever in a long black dress, Rennie on bass and melodica were ably accompanied by violinist, lap-steel and mandolin player Dave during their marathon two hour set with a 20 minute interval. Asking the soundman to take down the drums by 7% in the monitors, often hitting stray drum beats at the end of songs, Brett still seems to struggle with the Apple laptop that acts as their percussion accompaniment. That may be mixing the alcohol and medication that Rennie castigated him for as he sipped on his Fosters!
Mixing songs from the new album Last Days of Wonder with classics such as Weightless Again, So Much Wine, Down In The Ground, The Sad Milkman and the “first song we wrote together”) Arlene, The Handsome Family live experience is part musical part comedy stand-up. Rennie was on form, relating fascinating and amusing stories behind each of the songs such as the strange US phenomenon of crevasses opening up in peoples gardens in Bottomless Hole and telling us that all the insects from the surrounding area would be joining us soon! Ending the main set with So Long dedicated to all the animals that had passed away before them! and then I Know You Are There as the encore finale. Lets hope its not too long before Brett and Rennie return to the west again.