Last Night: An Horse at The Loft

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An Horse
The Loft
May 22, 2011

Better than: Tying me kangaroo down, sport.

Australian duo An Horse rode into town on the leading edge of last night's storm system for a show at The Loft. The storm was a likely contributor to the smallish turn-out -- 80 people, maybe.

Blame the band for the weather: The dup noted that they have been dragging "shitty weather" with them throughout the tour.

The fans that turned out for this show, though, were devoted and adoring. And they were rewarded for as much with a crisp performance. An extended meet-and-greet session at the merch table afterward, too.

So who is this band that so tortures an innocent indefinite article? A photogenic pairing: guitarist and vocalist Kate Cooper, and drummer and vocalist Damon Cox.

They get a really expansive sound for two people -- perhaps accomplished by driving Cooper's guitars through two amplifiers, and by the virtue of Cox's busy drumming, too, no doubt. Hers is choppy, poppy rhythm guitar style (no flashy soloing), and both boast a sort of no-nonsense stage presence. 

Touring in support of recent second album, Walls, the duo is hardly unfamiliar with the region; they've played in Denton before, and a couple of times at SXSW, too.

As for the adoring crowd: Cooper could easily pass for Ellen Degeneres's Australian little sister, and she's an outed  lesbian (the band has been championed by Sara Quinn of Tegan and Sara) and, clearly, a healthy portion of the band's audience at the show came from the area's gay community. 

But it was a largely relaxed affair, as the band performed songs equally from Walls and their 2009 debut album, Rearrange Beds. All the bands songs are short and poppy; with 14 tunes delivered, the performance that took just under An Hour. That included some time between songs to open the floor to questions from the audience.

An Example Question: "Peanut Butter or Vegimite?"

An Expected, Yet Delivered Nonetheless, Answer: "Vegimite, absolutely."

Sonically, they came off as Photo Album-era Death Cab for Cutie -- very listenable, although the songs leave little to distinguish one from the other.

With no histrionics such as an encore required for the intimate crowd, their set was completed with both audience and band satisfied.

Critics Notebook
Random Note:
I wasn't really tuned in to the fact that Cooper was gay and that the band had quite a gay following. So, walking into The Loft was a little like walking into a bar you don't know and realizing after a few minutes that it has a gay patronage. It's cool, but still a little surprising.

Personal Bias: Perhaps because of the bond between the audience and the band, virtually everyone in the crowd lined up at the merch table to meet the band, pose to have their pictures taken, and get autographs. The band accommodated every request cheerfully.  Nice.

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