Review: The Sugarcanes at The Lass O’Gowrie

It was a hell of a stormy night out in Newcastle, the east coast low had come out in full force. While the downpour turned some away, there was still a dedicated crown looking to warm themselves up at The Lass O’Gowrie. Melbourne acts The Sugarcanes and Loose Tooth were in town as part of a national tour.

Jen Buxton & The Slaughterhouse Five opened the evening. Buxton is an accomplished singer/songwriter in her own right, and The Slaughterhouse Five (of which there are two) provide an additional Country lean to her songs. It’s exciting to hear old songs with a new coat of paint, and the few new songs thrown into the set are taking full advantage of the band. A fantastic version of Sheryl Crow’s ‘If It Makes You Happy’ opens with fans unsure of what song is being covered in the opening lines, but belting out the song by the end.

For their first time in Newcastle, Loose Tooth felt as natural onstage at The Lass as any local. Their pop-soaked garage rock  fits like a glove into the current lineup of acts on Milk Records; a sound that brings to mind Courtney Barnett, The Gooch Palms, and a bit of The Ramones. Guitarist Nellie Jackson handled the majority of the vocal duties, with drummer Etta Curry and bassist Luc Dawson coming in to create engaging two and three part harmonies. I would be remiss not to mention this bands mid-set banter, which was almost as fun as the songs themselves.

All five members of The Sugarcanes cram onstage to deliver what can only be described as a Soul explosion right in the heart of The Lass. The band spent 40 minutes ripping through tracks off their recently released self-titled debut album. The last time they were in town, they played at The Cambridge Hotel opening up for The Smith Street Band, but the size of this room was was more suitable to the type of party they were throwing. Every member of the band were given several moments to shine throughout the set, but for the most part the spotlight shone on vocalist Lucy Wilson; who may just be one of the finest singers in the country. Fits of dancing broke out in the crowd, and reached a fever pitch during a cover of the Marvin Gaye classic ‘Let’s Get It On’.

All in all, it was a great night of live music, and when The Sugarcanes come back to town you better make sure you have your dancing shoes on.

Written by Spencer Scott

Spencer is a singer/songwriter from Newcastle. He's also a Triple J Unearthed Super User and writes for many national publications.

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