Live Review: Harry Smith CD Launch

HARRY SMITH EP LAUNCH
Harry Smith, One Horse Town, Mo Wilson and the Drivers
Mojo’s Bar
Saturday 5th November 2005
Review by Rohan Hewson

Mo Wilson and the Drivers never seem to play anywhere on a bill except first. That’s OK though, their loungey, sometimes rock, music is well suited to kicking off a night. They were missing their bass player tonight, so a more stripped down set than usual, although there were still some piano flourishes from Mo. There was a fairly decent crowd even before they started playing, helped by the jazzy music coming from the DJ setting the party mood nicely.

One Horse Town have been referred to in the press a bit lately as swamp-rock… OK so ‘swamp’ is hardly a genre, but I’ll use it because nothing else quite fits. Rock? Definitely. Grunge? Probably. Country? Not really. Blues? Uhhh… Anyway, their unique sound comes mainly from the Rhodes piano of Ronan Charles, the same thing that made Seahorse Radio so unique a few years ago. He had no vocal mike but was every bit the frontman, a couple of times almost jumping up on top of the Rhodes. Recent WAM Rock Song of the Year winner ‘Information’ was probably the poppiest part of their set, whereas some of there other songs were quite raw and really rocked hard.

Harry Smith were the stars of tonight, this being the first of two launches for the ‘PreleighEP. They played to a similar sized crowd that greeted the first two bands. They’re yet another band that plays music not easy to classify; quirky, slightly dark rock / pop with the occasional strange time signature or chord structure… yeah, that should cover it. They had a heckler who yelled out ‘Titties!’ – one of the more interesting consequences of having a female bass player. The next heckle was ‘Stage birth!’ which could well have happened, the bass player also being several months pregnant – now there’s something you don’t see every day. Though there was to be no fifth member of Harry Smith saying hi to the world at Mojo’s this night.

There was a good atmosphere to this gig, so much so that when the band finished, a bunch of people started calling out for an encore. Often when bands come back for an encore, they’ve rehearsed a couple of extra songs and possibly even written them down on the set list, making the whole thing seem rather shallow and cynical. Not Harry Smith, however – they hadn’t counted on an encore, and ended up playing an old song they claimed not to have played for ages, although I could have sworn I heard it at the Hydey not that long ago, and considering they weren’t too optimistic about their ability to play it, they did it pretty well. Just like all their other songs, really.

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