Live Review: Husky at Red Palace, Washington DC – 16th November 2012

By on Tuesday, 20th November 2012 at 2:00 pm

Normally, especially when it comes to folk bands, I usually ask Cheryl to cover these types of shows, as she’s more into the singer/songwriter genre than I am and therefore she usually discovers those types of artists way before I do (like Of Monsters and Men). However, I am pleased to say in the case of Husky, I’m the one who found them first, having reviewed their album for DIY in the spring and then having seen them at the Great Escape in Brighton (even interviewing them!) as well as London back in May.

When I found out they were coming to Washington’s Red Palace in November, there was no way I was going to miss this, even if I had to figure out of a way of getting there myself. I am a suburban girl and very rarely need to drive downtown, or at least I avoid it whenever possible. In an attempt to parallel park my car on 12th Street NE that bordered on farce as hecklers looked on and other drivers gave me the finger, I eventually succeeded in situating my car safely in its spot and got to the venue shortly after 10 PM.

Thank goodness I planned to arrive early anyhow, as their tour support, American singer/songwriter Amy Cook, cancelled last minute and Husky ended up starting at the tour support time of 10:30 PM. I’m not entirely sure if this affected the turnout, as most headliners of shows on Friday and Saturday nights in DC usually go on at 11 or later, but it appeared that everyone who had showed up early at Red Palace was eager and ready to hear the Sub Pop signing live, as they were already cheering and showing their appreciation as the band took the stage.

Frontman Husky Gawenda, looking comfortable behind his acoustic guitar but sounding slightly nervous as it was the band’s first-ever appearance in DC, said to us, “we just released our album here in America. We didn’t think that would ever happen”. But there was nothing to be nervous about; the band played through tracks of their wonderful debut album ‘Forever So’ as if they had known the songs their whole lives. ‘Animals and Freaks’, which is one of my favourites of theirs, showcases Gawenda’s voice that effortlessly slides up and down the melody.


Three special treats arrived that night; the first came in the form of a piano solo by keyboardist Gideon Preiss, who with much emotion played an extended introductory passage to my favourite track ‘The Woods’ on their debut album. Beautiful. The second? This performance of new song ‘For the Years Gone By’. And the third? An almost a cappella of Leonard Cohen’s ‘Lover Lover Lover’, which saw Gawenda, Preiss and bass player Evan Tweedie take turns in the lead vocal spotlight as drummer Luke Collins played acoustic guitar.


I suppose when you’re an up and coming band like Husky, playing to handfuls of audiences in small clubs far, far away from home, you don’t expect an encore to be demanded of you. I was almost sure the band wouldn’t reappear, but I guess all the hooting, hollering and foot stomping encourage the four of them to reappear. First to come back out was Gawenda and Preiss for the first half of album track ‘Don’t Tell Your Mother’, then Tweedie and Collins of the rhythm section. For the second to last night of their North American campaign, I was so pleased that a receptive and appreciative Washington crowd was there to applaud them. I only expect bigger and better things for them in the months to come.

After the cut: the set list.

Tidal Wave
$100 Bill
Dark Sea
Animals and Freaks
Forever So
Fake Moustache
For the Years Gone By (new song)
The Woods
History’s Door
Lover Lover Lover (Leonard Cohen cover)
Don’t Tell Your Mother

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