Hands Like Houses

Review: Hands Like Houses at the Brightside, 15 October

Metal cover of Natalie Imbruglia's Torn. 'Nuff said.

An onslaught of black threads, converse sneakers and barely suppressed anticipation filled Brisbane’s The Brightside on Thursday 15 October. Five-piece hardcore outfit Hands Like Houses, in the midst of their first world tour, were set to take to the stage around 11pm.

Those who arrived early were treated to supporting acts Far Away Stables and UK rockers Lower Than Atlantis, but the venue didn’t reach its full capacity until Hands Like Houses were minutes away.

The stage filled with fog, strobes and flashes of colour as the Canberra boys smashed right into I Am – one of their latest singles, in an exuberant display of of headbanging, jumping and hair-whipping. The crowd mirrored their enthusiasm, pumping their fists with rock salutes.

Lead singer Trenton Woodley greeted the energetic crowd warmly, yelling, “Is everyone having fun?”

He added, “Music is such a simple thing – its just vibrations in the air but we’re all here to share these vibrations.”

The boys are calling this their ‘business tour’ in support of  upcoming album Dissonants, and were eager to road test a couple of songs from the new record. Rhythm guitarist Alex Pearson said it was the first time they had performed these tracks, “apart from Melbourne, oh and also to my family.”

As the band broke out into new song Glass House, beaming bass player Joel Tyrell showed off his bass-slapping skills.

Perspectives, another shiny new track, was a hit with the crowd. The catchy chorus melody had a more upbeat major chord progression which contrasted nicely with the usual minor chord repertoire.

Later, the band ripped into their own heavy rock arrangement of 90s hit Torn by Natalie Imbruglia. Woodley turned the audience into a united front during his call and response chorus, with the crowd singing back at the top of their lungs.

Woodley’s vocals roared with emotional intensity and persuasive delivery. Without holding back, he alternated from falsetto to head voice to screaming and back again as the band tore through the powerful hour-long set.

The boys were like a giant Energizer battery, with their rambunctious yet expert stage antics. Lead guitarist Matty Cooper was the least energetic and stayed put on the far right side of the stage, making it difficult to watch him during his solos.

The band closed with Introduced Species and No Parallels, resulting in screams of wild excitement, right until they left the stage.

It would have been a nice dynamic contrast if they had adopted a few of their acoustic reprises from Reimagine. Despite that, Hands Like Houses had the audience captivated.

They’ll certainly be on a high as they leave home soil and head to the USA for the next leg of the tour.

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