Words by Sam Townsend – Melting Wax Photography
ARIA award winning Melbourne soul band The Teskey Brothers originally announced a live album as an exclusive release for this year’s Record Store Day, though due to COVID-19 restrictions this had to be rescheduled for May 15. Recorded at the Forum Theatre in Melbourne across a run of four sold-out shows last November, ‘Live At The Forum’ (Ivy League Records) contains a mix of songs from The Teskey Brothers two studio albums, 2017’s ‘Half Mile Harvest’ and 2019’s ‘Run Home Slow’, plus a charming rendition of John Lennon’s Jealous Guy.
Recorded direct to analogue tape (something the band has described as “madness”), ‘Live At The Forum’ caps off a huge 2019 for The Teskey Brothers, which included the release of their second critically acclaimed album, sold out shows across Australia and New Zealand, non-stop touring further abroad, and numerous accolades. ‘Live At The Forum’ is the culmination of all of this and showcases a band who love what they’re doing and perform exceptionally well together.
‘Live At The Forum’ opens with Let Me Let You Down, a laid back tune complete with horns, Josh Teskey’s impressive vocals, and plenty of cheering from the crowd. It signals to the listener they’re in for a treat with this live album. The addition of the horns and organ has given the band additional depth and versatility, and none more so evident than during Say You’ll Do – a song written to be performed live. Similarly, So Caught Up (the band’s highest charting song so far) takes on an added dimension in a live setting, whilst I Get Up comes into its own with a longer play time and the intensity of Josh Teskey’s vocals – as evidenced by the hollering of the crowd during the song’s outro.
Honeymoon, Paint My Heart, and Louisa all clock in over 8 minutes long, with each a timely reminder of what’s on offer at live shows – extensive jam sessions and instrument solos (hello harmonica!) showcasing the band’s talent both individually and collectively. In The Teskey Brothers case, it’s Sam Teskey who’s incredible guitar skills really shine. These songs (much like the whole album) are a real insight to how The Teskey Brothers function together as a collective, and are testament to a band who have spent years perfecting their live shows and clearly love performing together.
‘Live At The Forum’ closes with a stirring 5:47 minute a capella rendition of Hold Me (featuring an amazing performance from tour support Harmony Byrne), complete with hand clapping, finger snapping and plenty of audience participation. The Teskey Brothers not-so-secret-weapon is Josh Teskey’s voice and his command during Hold Me is something to behold.
‘Live At The Forum’ is an album full of unadulterated southern soul and blues sounds, an emotive set with sounds yearning for yesteryear, performed by a band who play to each others strengths and make magic in the process. The emphasis on vocal harmonies The Teskey Brothers revealed on Run Home Slow have come to fruition during their live shows and ‘Live At The Forum’ effortlessly pulls and holds the listener for the full 80 minutes. It’s an absolute joy to listen to.
The Teskey Brothers are:
Josh Teskey – vocals & rhythm guitar
Sam Teskey – lead guitar
Brendan Love – bass guitar
Liam Gough – drums
‘Live At The Forum’ is out Friday May 15 through Ivy League Records
With thanks to Mushroom + Ivy League Records