Horseshoe Tavern in Toronto, ON
February 17, 2010
Photos and Review by: Pete Nema
There's often a discrepancy between expectations and reality. In some cases, the discrepancy can cause disappointment and in others it can result in satisfaction. At Gentlemen Husbands, I got most what I expected, and a little that I didn't.
The Gentlemen Husbands play rock 'n' roll with a country/western tint, and given that's the case, I expected to see the band look the part. Appropriately, the band was dressed in western style clothes and Rick Ballard (vocals, guitar) was holding a beautiful cherry finish Gretsch. Expectation met. Although I've only heard their four song EP (link below), I expected to hear some sweet guitar licks mixed with some mild rocking out. Expectation met. The band is still independent, based in Cobourg, and played the late spot at Horseshoe on a Wednesday night, which meant I wasn't likely to have to contend with a packed house. Expectation met. Similarly, I expected the crowd that was there to from a semi-circle around the stage, in the typical Toronto stand-off-ish sort of way. Expectation met? No.
Instead of the usual semi-circle, there was a decent-sized crowd of young women pressed up against the stage, singing along, arms in the air, and occasionally taking advantage of some the floor space to dance along to the songs. I would have have placed them as girlfriends of the band members, but over the course of the set it became clear they were genuine fans out to see the band and having a great time. (That's not to say that girlfriends aren't genuine fans, they usually are, but it's fair to add that they generally have a little more emotional investment than the rest of us). It was a nice surprise, and definitely added to the mood of the performance. If you're predisposed to rock with a country bias, then the Gentlemen Husbands may draw you in as well.