The Beards at the Annandale Hotel

I have to admit the truth: I love gigs but I have not yet been to Sydney’s Annandale Hotel. On Friday night I addressed this terrible shortcoming. A couple of mates came with me to see The Beards, and I now have another trembling admission: I think beards are incredibly cool.

First off, the Annandale: perfect dive bar for gigs. It’s just a dark, dirty, sticky room. There’s a pretty nice little Thai food restaurant in back (called Wok ‘n’ Roll, of course). But the Annandale is awesome for all the same reasons as the Astoria in London was awesome: dark, filthy rock had infused every grain of wood in the building’s structure. Love it.

There were three bands on Friday, but we missed The Rockets because we were stuffing our face with Thai. The second band was Gay Paris, and I’ve seen few odder. They were a roaring, bald, purple-cloaked, bearded hillybilly stomp of rock funk. The bass player’s grimacing had me in stitches. Okay, they were just a weird bunch of guys, but as one of my mates pointed out they played incredibly tightly. Also, their bearded-ness made me wonder if The Rockets had had beards as well, and it was an all-facial-hair night.

But The Beards…oh, The Beards. They were awesome fun. Okay, obviously they’re a bit of a novelty beard…I mean band. They’ve had three albums, and every song on every one of them is about how awesome beards are. Songs like “A Wizard Needs A Beard”, “No Beard, No Good”, “Born With A Beard” and “It Only Takes A Fortnight…*”.

But their songs are all rocking, and delivered with such enthusiasm, and single-minded, beard-stroking seriousness, that you cannot help but pump your fist. At the same time you buy in: beards do make you look manly and powerful. You start thinking about your chin follicles, and straining a little.

It’s all helped immensely by the facts that they pick especially catchy, singalong rhythms, and their singer is really quite good. There’s nothing especialy complicated going on, sonically, but it’s fun, energetic rock. They wore matching lounge suits too. Always a plus.

Witness a couple of examples: first, the video for “If Your Dad Doesn’t Have A Beard, You’ve Got Two Mums”.

Now listen to a new song, ’80’s synth-drenched track “You Should Consider Having Sex With A Bearded Man.”

I think it’s pretty clear what level of awesome I’m talking about here.