Sly Hats with Guy Blackman + Rand & Holland = your ears will thank you

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On a Friday not so very long ago, I toddled off to the Hoey in Surry Hill to watch Sly Hats who was playing with Guy Blackman, headlining the shindig were Rand & Holland. There were a couple of other bands on the line up, I however missed them, which was a shame. But that’s what happens when you’re as dozy as me and get lost in Surry Hills even when you know where you’re going.

Moving right along, to Sly Hats and Guy Blackman. Sly Hats, or Geoff O’Connor is the lead singer, guitarist and songwriter from the Crayon Fields, and he recently released his first solo album, Liquorice Nights, a lush melodic pop sounding thing worthy of many listens. Guy Blackman’s album of ‘Adult-Orientated DIY’ should be released soon, but he has an EP out and a couple of singles including Dark and Quiet with every ones Swedish indie darling Jens Lekman. That’s not me being sarcastic by the way, I really do like Jens Lekman. Guy was also one of the founders of and now runs the independent label Chapter Music. It was the first time I had seen either of them, so I was expecting something like but not quite the albums that I’ve been enjoying. Happily I can and will admit that I was proved so very wrong. Their songs still were melodic, they were still gentle, and the performers balanced each other out just so. I could have listened to them all night. Its such a cliché to use but I really truly could have. In fact with some help of my ready to throw out ipod shuffle, I did.

Rand & Holland, are hard working Sydney band who are rather interesting to listen to, and see live. Their music for me sounds like a giant musical paella. With experimental and acoustic guitars, Australian rock, and pinch of country mixed in with a dash of gypsy. Live or record Rand & Holland always has something to offer the listener, if the listener is willing. Plus the drumming and use of the tambourine, is loud, hypnotic and fun. Their album Caravans was only recently released and it’s a layered sound scape. I feel like I should say more about Rand & Holland, but I believe that they one of those bands that you really need to see or hear for yourself.

Crowd was smallish, well it felt small to me, given it was the Hoey and I could actually breathe and wasn’t being squished and it wasn’t hot inside. All a big bonus in my book, I will add for such a small crowd they were awfully noisy, and you know its bad when the lead singer from Rand & Holland has to tell everyone to shut up.

Thumbs Up: The bands of the evening that I managed to see, they made the getting lost worthwhile because I got there in the end.

Thumbs Down: The-Always-Feel-The-Need-To-Keep-Talking-Sydney crowds, big surprise that one.

[ Please excuse my spelling and grammatical errors, my head is stuck inside a story]

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