Live Review: Texas Tea, The Stress Of Leisure, Virginia Sook

19 June 2012 | 3:59 pm | Brendan Telford

It's nice and cozy at the X&Y Bar, with enough revelers warming to upbeat country folksters Virginia Sook. The group is now fleshed out into a four-piece, and it's the three part harmonies that really impress, offering a greater sense of depth to lead Lindsey Rozer's tales of whimsy. It's a beautiful opening to the evening.

Aiming for a complete change of pace however is The Stress Of Leisure. Also in their fully fleshed out four-piece mode tonight, Ian Powne and his merry degenerates charge through a brace of swaggering punk-pop songs that grow better with each listen. The synth lines have always backed up Powne's warbled guitar, but tonight steers the group. When he murmurs “I need that maximum high” you know Powne means it, underlining the fact with added cowbell. Bassist Ben Moore even tries on a Ramones-esque scissors stance. TSOL have always been about bringing fun back to the word 'sleaze', and tonight they do so with aplomb.

Finishing out the night is Texas Tea, which also rounds out the four-piece expansion. Kate Jacobso­n and Ben Dougherty are a nuanced, measured duo, yet with the live band arrangement it really brings forth a joviality that isn't always forthcoming in the smaller form. It is evident as soon as they launch into Whiskey And Wine that we are witnessing something that is further revitalising the duo. The presence of an upright bass is always going to offer a different live experience, and it fits seamlessly into the country rock on display, the bassist even offering the crowd a couple of bass spins. The instrumental interludes have a stronger ebb and flow, and when they launch into a number of new tracks, they are met with wonder and delight. I Don't Write No Sad Songs is suitably gravelly, whilst Jacobson's delivery of Macy And Me is beguiling. In preparation for their Long Player Sessions at the Powerhouse, the band play White Train from Paul Kelly's Post album, and whilst it isn't all roses (forgetting the first line) it makes for an exciting precursor. It's been an electric set, albeit a short one, and when they finish with a rendition of Ray Charles' Early In The Morning, it's evident that it has been a special one too. A true Brisbane – nay, Australian – institution.