Live Review: Even, The Fauves, Halfway

10 July 2012 | 3:04 pm | Tyler McLoughlan

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Brisbane's Halfway warmly welcomes an early crowd with the full sound of eight members and a newbie Honey I Lied. Off-nights just don't seem to ever be a concern for these country lads – every musician has his considered place in the mix, and when co-frontmen Chris Dale and John Busby get into the full swing of a thumping song like Tell Them I Called, the dual vocal approach tops it all off. 

Rolling onto stage with maroon duds and a faded blue Foster's t-shirt, it's amusing to note how little co-frontman Andrew Cox has changed since the beginning of The Fauves' 11-album career back in 1988. And though that's certainly part of the appeal tonight, the '90s underdogs aren't here for a nostalgia set as they get right into last year's Japanese Engines release with the chugging opening track Don't Say When. True Love Waits mixes sweet, simple vocal melodies with interesting rhythms, a trademark of the Melbourne quartet when sitting alongside the sardonic humour of Metrosexual and the looping riff of Don't Get Death Threats Any More that so perfectly epitomises the sound of Australian rock in the mid-'90s. Coxy is in usual chatty piss-taker form throughout, particularly after a rousingly chunky version of Celebrate The Failure: “It's a tough song folks – we'll send you the guitar tab if you want to try and learn it but I'd settle on one of our easier songs if I were you because that's really humming at the high end.” Ah, The Fauves, perfectly scruffy in every way and still criminally underrated.

Despite being Melbourne rock compadres for almost two decades, wondrously this is the first time Even has ever teamed up with The Fauves on tour. Frontman Ash Naylor blends right into the side of stage darkness, appearing diminutive alongside the commanding figure of bassist Wally Meanie but for the startling clarity with which he projects a spot on vocal. Though they pull out a fair chunk of golden oldies including the glorious harmony work of Stop And Go Man, these guys are intent to show off the newer content of their 2011 record In Another Time too – clearly this is no tour to simply relive the glory days for both sets of southerners. Playing off their clear '70s rock and psych influences, Which Way To Run makes room for epic jams in which Naylor asserts himself as an accomplished axe-wielder and band leader alike, directing his charges in and out of rock segments that sends the largely blokey crowd into an extended dream state. Even are total pros, though one can't help but walk away with the tunes of Coxy and co rattling between the ears.