If cucumbers were any cooler then they would surely be the Omeara music venue in Southwark, London. Hip and trendy, this Cavern-esque style location would have hosted The Beatles if it had been open in the 60’s but on this warm Tuesday evening in May the intimate space was sold out to a lively young crowd eagerly awaiting one of Australia’s finest bands – The Teskey Brothers.
The room was hot and sticky as the foursome with added horn section took to the small vaudeville style stage but opening with ‘Crying Shame’ from their debut album ‘Half Mile Harvest’ they immediately notched the temperature up a degree or two. Josh Teskey on lead vocal, rhythm guitar and scorching harmonica has a voice that could light a campfire at ten paces – surely the antipodean love-child of James Brown and B.B. King! A surprisingly authentic soulful delivery that instantly grabbed the attention of the crowd whilst his brother Sam set about making his lead guitar ache with passion and heart straight from the delta blues. This is music that causes hips to sway and feet to tap without conscious effort – strong and powerful, with a modern groove that pays homage to the classic era of rhythm and blues.
The band proceeded to set fire to The Omeara with a blistering set of largely original songs and a cover or two tossed onto the fire for kindling. Brendon Love on bass guitar driving the sound through the highs and lows whilst Liam Gough was the powerhouse stick-man who beat out the soulful groove that underlined the evenings impressive performance. This was a journey through the musical heartland of North America driven by four Australians who have clearly been down to the river and baptised in the great tradition of blues and soul – throw into that water a London horn section duo and the conversion is complete; the current Americana music scene doesn’t get much better than this.
Closing with an inspired rocking cover of Otis Redding’s ‘Hard to Handle’ the Teskey Brothers left the stage with triumphant smiles; it was hard to establish who had enjoyed the evening more, the band or the audience. But it was clear that a crowd of London music lovers had been fully converted to the wonderful sound of The Teskey Brothers; we had each been transported down to that riverside and anointed with their joyous modern take on the classic soulful sound of the blues.
Musical evenings like this don’t happen that often – grooving in a small venue to a band that deserve and will no doubt graduate to a larger audience next time around – catch them when you can!