The rhythm section of Canberra’s number one rock export Hands Like Houses, bassist Joel Tyrell and drummer Matt Parkitny, are on the move again after two gigs in Newcastle this week.
As part of the NSW Government’s live music initiative Great Southern Nights, the band performed two shows at the Cambridge Hotel in Newcastle.
The band has had its usual high-energy movements derailed after almost 70 shows were cancelled this year and next due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
But things are at least now moving forward.
Hand Like Houses has just announced an Australian tour for January next year that will see them hit the road between Sydney and the Sunshine Coast in Queensland, finishing the tour in front of their home crowd at The Abbey on 30 January.
“The shows this week were our first ones to a real live crowd this year,” Joel tells Region Media.
Like most people in 2020, Hands Like Houses has taken time to reflect, which has spawned their self-titled EP and the ‘Reflect’ tour where gigs and songs are also being reimagined.
“After the gigs this week, we’ve got a few more ideas on how to make the January tour a little bit more spicy and memorable,” says Joel.
Restrictions are slowly easing in NSW and the ACT, so by the time January rolls around, Joel says the band will be ready for fans to face their new music.
“Hopefully, a few people will be standing at our shows by then, but we’re preparing for a sit-down experience. If standing is allowed, we’ll definitely tweak a few things.
“Our shows this week were a bit of a hybrid set in which we’re road-testing a few songs from our new EP. It was stripped back a fair bit but it was so nice to see fans in the crowd again.”
On the concept behind the tour, Hands Like Houses vocalist Trenton Woodley says the Reflect tour is a chance to slow down, take a breath and reflect on the challenges this year has presented.
“These COVID-safe shows are our first real opportunity to return to live music in a way that doesn’t reject the ‘new normal’ but embraces it wholly, with a reimagined set and a uniquely intimate HLH experience,” he said.
Hands Like Houses kept busy in the lead up to their EP release, with performances for triple j’s Like A Version segment, an exclusive set for Triple M’s Garage Sessions, performances at the AFL and NRL grand finals and a few performances live-streamed online.
Their EP has also landed global media praise for both its high rock energy and vocal and emotional intensity.
Unlike their acclaimed 2018 album Anon., created over weeks of writing sessions in Los Angeles, Trenton said that the EP’s creation took place during a tightly 10-day period, cooped up in a house together where “we basically stepped out of our bedroom and into the recording environment”.
Now the band is stepping back out into its natural environment, Joel says it’s been hard for the band and their fans.
“It’s definitely tested us but it’s great to have something to show for the year,” he says.
“Our fans have also had their patience tested, and we could see at the shows this week they wanted to get up and interact with us. It was funny to see a few people waiting for the last song or two before breaking ranks to have a sneaky mosh like old times.”
The Hands Like Houses tour will start at The Factory in Sydney on 15 January before heading to Wollongong, Byron Bay, Brisbane, Coolangatta, the Sunshine Coast and finishing in Canberra. Details are on the Hands Like Houses website. Fans can access pre-sale tickets via the website now.