Lee's Palace in Toronto, ON
August 19, 2010
Review by: Whitney Pineault
Photos by: Amanda Fotes
As regular fixtures on the Southern Ontario touring circuit, Gentlemen Husbands have played their fair share of outdated rock halls and grimy dive bars.
But, that's not necessarily a bad thing. Their music, a vintage blast of rugged roots rock, seems to coincide perfectly with a night of chugging beer and making bad decisions. The band's recent gig at Lee's Palace proved to be no exception.
At first glance, Gentlemen Husbands certainly look the part with their uniform fashion of tightly fitted jeans and tattered cowboy boots. The Cobourg natives tore into their 45 minute set with “Family Econimics”, a new track that kicks off hard and fast by drummer Dan Farrell. Following with his distinctive and hard-hitting vocals was front man Rick Ballard. Brimming with power and expression, his voice is one of the band's major assets and, in my opinion, one of the best in the country. Now, let's be honest, Toronto crowds are known for their slightly sour, reserved disposition. However, on this particular night that stereotype did not apply. Was it the music? The carefree atmosphere? The alcohol consumption? Perhaps a combination of all three.
Seamlessly transitioning from track to track, the tireless four piece barely leaves any time for applause. With “Goin' To Church”, lead guitarist Ryan Hutcheson shined brightly among a blazing guitar solo. His accomplished musicianship and captivating stage presence made it nearly impossible to take my eyes off of him. Bassist Jed Atkinson, the backbone of the band's genuine rock & roll presence, laid down a badass bass line with ease on “Bad Girl”; one of the many highlights of their performance. It was incredibly obvious how great a time the crowd was having and when “Cruise Control's” familiar intro began, you'd swear the band had been doing this for a multitude of years.
Capping off their performance with “Woodwork”, another brand new track, Gentlemen Husbands were still running on all cylinders. Incredibly tight and well rehearsed, these guys make it their mission to leave a lasting impression on everyone in attendance. Each member continued to shout out the lyrics “rails don't lead us home, don't lead us” well after their instruments had gone silent which garnered a roar of applause. The band confidently exited the stage having poured out every ounce of energy to the receptive audience.
Gentlemen Husbands' stripped down, balls out approach to writing music and performing live has won over a dedicated following of fans and critics; all without having recorded a proper full-length album. But, new music is on the way. The band's brand new and thoroughly impressive EP titled Mirror Doll Business will be independently released in September. If you haven't had the Gentlemen Husbands live experience yet, I suggest you mark your calendars for October 23, as The Horseshoe will play host to their official CD release show. Beer will be flowing, questionable decisions will be made, and good times will be had by all.