A typical Friday night at The Republic Bar; the space evenly spread with an audience of retro-alternative magnitude. Uni students, with their muted-tone button-downs and wash-faded chinos in every shade of brown, entrepreneurial cafe owners with unruly facial hair and corduroy jackets, middle-aged couples leaning over the wooden tables, small smiles slipping out from behind their glasses of red as they whisper quips between themselves. Despite differences, a common ground becomes the adhesive of what holds these people together. A relative wait in the shadowy corner provides the rustling audience with some anticipation of what is to come.

I feel the crowd fall into a strange, wistful ambience as Husky (lead vocals, guitar) begins to pluck out a lilting tune off his guitar. It sounds like the kind of edgy, ethnic Bollywood tracks that you shuffle around an Indian supply store to; rummaging for your Bhuja mix and knocking over mango chutney jars with your unruly dreads. The harmonies of the voices are clear and precise, and slip quietly in with the softened riffs of the guitar, all sneaky-like.

The keys play balanced, simple fills, which couple nicely with the passive rumble of the bass guitar. The beauty of their set is that you don't even consciously assess who's playing what, and why something is happening. The atmosphere of the music stirs such an odd pairing of emotions, a subconscious will to move, along with some sleepy Sunday morning feels.

“I'm not built for this world, I'm slipping” is the lyric that clings to my brain like a piece of chewing gum to a fourth grader's bowl cut. This is the number that really gears up the audience; people bobbing their heads enthusiastically, taking hearty swigs of their Carlton Draughts, shuffling their feet, dancing with energy in the only way a white man can (if he's not wearing purple flares and pointing groovily). Two slightly drunk women are up the front giving it all they've got, circling one another, shimmying and clapping their hands. I see a flicker of a smile cross Tweedie's (bass) face.
Things slow down a little, and the drummer walks over to a stool and grabs the guitar.
He starts strumming some chords, and I'm picked up and flung like a stitched baseball back to my childhood, my father laying down on the carpet with me in an affectionate headlock, Leonard Cohen's deep, sultry voice tumbling through our sound system.

A middle-aged man with a gold crown around one of his front teeth smiles, crows feet in the corners of his eyes. He leans over, “I love this song,” he mumbles, taking a swig. I love it too. The audience start swaying, as they echo back the harmonic tagline “Lover, lover, lover, come back to me.” A few more songs are played, the drums ramping up a bit and the harmonies bending around each other.

After the show I'm feeling nostalgic and consequently exhausted from that musical pilgrimage. The band are all very personable, and come to talk with their fans after the show, relinquishing the few dregs of atmospheric adrenaline.

I talk with a few fellow concert-goers afterwards, my Japanese friend introducing herself to a drunk woman who exclaimed “Melbourne cranks these musical bastards out like a meat grinder in Summer.”

In true Australian style, we salute you Husky.
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