The Cruel Sea, Cabins @ The Metro Theatre, Sydney (18/11/11)

Upon first impression, Cabins are a band that take their music very seriously. The effort put in to creating their sound is apparent on stage, from the drummer pounding away to the bass player concentrating intently on playing the right notes.

The Metro is filling up from the back but there aren’t many people at the front. Some people are showing how interested they are by sitting on the floor. About halfway through the set, the lead singer encourages everyone to get up, because the next song is a bit “dance-y.” They start playing Edwyn Collins’s Never Met a Girl Like You Before, a great cover, that had a few people get up for a dance. The rest of their set goes well, with Catcher in the Rye being the highlight. It’s hard to understand what the lead singer says between songs. I don’t know if it’s the sound, shyness or something else but it’s a drawback.

The Cruel Sea come on stage before Tex Perkins and it’s not until the intro to It’s Alright (Cos She Loves Me) starts that he struts out on stage. From the moment he starts singing, he’s got everyone’s attention. Perkins is wearing a white blazer over a black shirt and jeans and says: “As you can see, we did not talk about what we were going to wear on stage. Rest of the band thought it was kind of casual.”

They move into Anybody But You and then No Choice. A member of the audience is so excited, she yells out “Giddy up!” in the middle of the song. She doesn’t approve of the next song, however, and yells out “Yeaaaah they’re alright,” during A Simple Goodbye. Perkins is incredibly comfortable on stage, he moves with confidence and even pulls out some dance moves to match the lyrics he’s singing. It’s impossible to stop watching him as he swaggers through each song; his voice combined with the soulful guitar has everyone moving.

When he sings the first line of Delivery Man: “Whatever you want I got it by the dozen, I got it by the pound. Gimme a call,” he makes a phone symbol with his hand and then says “Hello?” before singing the next line “I’ll bring it ‘round.” By this stage, the sexy guitar riffs are making me and the rest of the crowd swoon, the sound is faultless. That’s until the next song, when the band start to play and Perkins stops them by saying: “That was piss weak!” and makes them start again.

He growls his way through Better Get A Lawyer and then introduces the next one by saying: “This song won song of the year … in ahh … 90 fucking … ahhh … three,” then kicks into Honeymoon is Over. All of the songs so far have been received well but last song before the encore Honeymoon… has everyone cheering and clapping.

The encore starts without Perkins on stage and when he appears he starts to whistle. They play This Is Not The Way Home, and during the guitar solo, Perkins says “This is the Midnight Oil section of the song. Don’t it sound like Austraya?” He even throws in some lyrics from Beds are Burning and says “It’s a bloody good question. If my bed’s on fire, I probably won’t sleep. You generally wake up or you don’t live. It’s the message of that song.” They pound their way through the end and walk off stage again. Perkins reappears and paces around before the rest of the band join him and to finish the night with an energetic version of Cocaine.