Live Review: The Audreys - Brisbane Powerhouse

26 June 2012 | 6:04 pm | Sky Kirkham

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The Audreys are touring as a two-piece at the moment, stripping back the full band sound and exposing the sparseness and quieter moments within the tracks. For this setup, it's hard to think of a better venue in Brisbane than the Visy Theatre, where they're playing tonight. The wonderful acoustics and small size of the room create an intimacy that allows Taasha Coates and Tristan Goodall to display a real sense of playfulness; and it allows the music to stay sparse without feeling hollow.

Train Wreck Blues takes a surprisingly upbeat turn tonight, the bluesy number delivered with a cheeky grin and a sense of fun, the banjo and ukulele instrumentation moving the song away from its original melancholy tone. That contrast between good humour and sad songs is a recurring theme tonight, often showcased in the banter between tracks. As they launch into another track, the pair try to remember what the song is about. “It's probably about heartbreak, death or sadness,” they joke. “We'll release a happy album some day and no one will like it.”

The first set finishes on a beautiful version of Where Are You Now. Coates' voice is in perfect form, gently reverberating through the room and the song finishes with piano accordion joining the stripped-back guitar, adding a delicate contrast. As the last notes fade away, the band leave the stage to enthusiastic applause. Having an intermission in the middle of a set feels rather strange. The lack of a support act and the nature of the room makes it a reasonable decision, allowing people to get a drink and stretch their legs, but it does interrupt the flow of the show.

Still, it takes no time at all for the The Audreys to coax the crowd back into the palm of their hands once they step back onstage. There's an interesting mixture of songs in the second set; the country-flecked tones of Comfort Me contrasting with Nothing Wrong With Me – a highlight of the night and probably the heaviest track played – which sees the pair rock out a bit and step away from the folk that dominates their back catalogue.

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For the encore, the band calls for some audience participation. At every gig, they've been playing a different Springsteen cover, and tonight it's Devils And Dust, but the crowd gets to pick the instrument it gets played on; banjo the clear winner. Goodall pulls this off impressively well and manages to play up the humour inherent in some of quirks the instrument requires. Finishing the night on a surprisingly lush Sometimes The Stars, the title track from their last album, The Audreys leave an appreciative audience behind.