Sneaky Dee's in Toronto, ON
November 26, 2010
Photos and Review by: Amanda Macchia
The driving blues-rock of Gentlemen Husbands flooded the second floor of Sneaky Dee’s last Friday night, the room swelling with electric licks, gritty melodies, and steady rock rhythms throughout the entire night.
The show was kicked off with "Family Economics" — three minutes of intense blues-driven rock (think Bruce Springsteen’s "Ramrod") that foreshadowed the intense pace of the rest of their set.
The gritty but bright vocals of Rick Ballard (vocals, guitar) consistently demonstrated through his delivery of the band’s material that Gentlemen Husbands produce and perform rock 'n' roll tracks that are a perfect mix of forcefulness and fluffiness. Take "Bad Girl" for example; the song started and ended off with a heavy downbeat courtesy of Dan Farrell (drums, vox) and the explosive chord progressions emerging from the Epiphone of Ryan Hutcheson (lead guitar), but all the while the song was creatively balanced with the smooth melodies and harmonies carried out by Ballard and his simple, working-class lyrics: “I just fix my hair, tuck in my shirt, unhook my keys and drive myself to work.”
And those working-class lyrics may be partially responsible for the casual and accessible presence that Gentlemen Husbands have onstage. Although none of the members have a particularly strong aura or signature stage antics, its clear from audience reaction that Gentlemen Husbands are a band that level with their audience, in the same way as notable influences Bruce Springsteen and Tom Petty.
The show wrapped with a cover of the latter’s "American Girl" — a decision that had audience members leaping over speakers to eagerly join the foursome onstage. Their extended version of the bright classic track was not only a pleasant ending to a solid set of rock 'n' roll, but it proved that Gentlemen Husbands are so in touch with their rock roots that you could swear the cover was a masterpiece they wrote themselves.