Live Review: Custard, Gentle Ben & His Sensitive Side, Love Signs

15 December 2015 | 11:30 am | Steve Bell

"They do Brisbane proud (as ever)."

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Young Brisbane four-piece Love Signs have shanghaied another guitarist for tonight's opening slot but the change certainly doesn't detract from their ramshackle charm. From the vocal swapping of Hold You Down on to their moodily atmospheric cover of Lana Del Ray's Brooklyn Baby through to gently upbeat closer Not Used To Losing there's plenty to like in their heartfelt indie-rock.

With little fanfare Gentle Ben & His Sensitive Side burst onto the stage like some gothic tsunami, the noir epic The Song Of Drowning Men giving way to the propulsive melodicism of The Beginning Of The End and immediately betraying this band's twisted duality. This may be Ben Corbett's 'sensitive' persona but it's still darker and more ominous than most folk's inner depravities, the singer twisting and contorting as if possessed during songs like Regret It and Execution Day, only this hint of theatrics stopping the mic-swinging performance from entering into truly scary territory. The tight trio around him give Corbett the perfect platform from which to unleash, and they finish a great set with the fittingly frenetic Spell Of The Moon.

The Triffid is absolutely packed for the hometown return of prodigal indie-rock legends Custard — tonight launching their sixth album, and first in 16 years, Come Back, All Is Forgiven — and the gentle country lilt of that record's opener Orchids In Water begins proceedings, followed by its single We Are The Parents (Our Parents Warned Us About). It's apparent from the get-go that the new album has been warmly accepted because these new tunes receive a genuine welcome, although the response does ramp up when they introduce older numbers like Pack Yr Suitcases and Alone into the equation. Custard are an inherently fun proposition anyway but the additional celebratory tone tonight means that there's a lot of love in the room, and when new track 1990's segues into the interminably cruisy The New Matthew the room erupts into mass celebration, with arms around shoulders and upraised faces singing along delightedly en masse. On stage the band seem like they're enjoying their return — and the adulation — immensely, frontman Dave McCormack swapping roles with drummer Glenn Thompson who takes guitar/vocal reins for the catchy triumvirate Warren Rd, Contemporary Art and Music Is Crap. More new tracks like Record Machine and If You Would Like To fit seamlessly amongst older hits like Girls Like That (Don't Go For Guys Like Us), Lucky Star and the ever-inscrutable Pinball Lez, and the place erupts into a frenzy of dancing and delight as they finish the main set with the evergreen Apartment. Naturally there's a lot of time left — and a swag of hits left — so the four-piece are soon back amongst the action, delivering a classic-laden encore featuring Pluto (Pts 1 & 2), Anatomically Correct, early gem Bedford, Singlette and a typically manic Caboolture Speed Lab to send us on our way. The Custaro boys may all live in southern climes these days, but tonight they are nothing if not hometown heroes and they do Brisbane proud (as ever).