With possibly one of the best acts to have ever come out of Canberra over 10 years ago, the 5 piece rock band Hands Like Houses have taken on the Coronavirus with a fight (a socially distanced one, of course). These boys have been throwing punches here and there, such as their ‘Live in Ya Lounge’ livestream from late March (it’s still available to watch on their FB page, you’re welcome!) and their latest single ‘Space’ dropped 2 weeks ago.
As bands and artists are being to forced into online gig delivery methods to combat the closure of venues and limitations on attendance numbers due to the pandemic, Hands Like Houses were one of the first to pull off a full production livestream along with all of the bells and whistles we would normally see at shows, such as lights and pyrotechnics (Yes! They brought the fire to the stage!) making it a really ‘lit’ livestream.
‘Live in Ya Lounge’ was just the beginning for pandemic replacement shows, with other artists performing their own livestreams on Instagram, Facebook or YouTube, whether it was playing music or just coming on for a chat and update with fans on what is happening with postponed/cancelled shows. Instagram Iso-laide festivals were also used as a performance alternative that joined artists together to play a livestream set on their channel during a specific time. Some artists that have played included: Slowly Slowly and Columbus’ singer Alex Moses.
The ‘Live in Ya Lounge’ show was of an extremely high quality type of performance, sound and visual experience wise. The physical outdoor set of separate stages and roaming camera operators was clearly orchestrated to comply with social distancing restrictions, and even the event marketing was terrific! C’Mon ‘Live in Ya Lounge’ it’s soo catchy, I bet other musicians were kicking themselves because they didn’t think of it first.
One thing that was really eerily noticeable was the crowd absence, yeah of course you are gonna expect it from a crowd-less show, but the fact that is WAS a crowd-less show just sat uncomfortably. The awkward silences you don’t notice when you are actually in the crowd and everyone is shouting and screaming out their ‘woahs!, yewws! Or one more songs!’ in between the songs, wasn’t there and it really makes you miss attending the shows live. As amazing and impressive ‘Live in Ya Lounge’ was it felt like Hands Like Houses were giving all the love to fans and we couldn’t physically give our love and appreciation back to them, only via likes, comments and shares. That shit just hurts not being able to show the love, excitement and appreciation we had for this livestream, but under the circumstances a crowd-less show is way better than no show at all.
Hands Like Houses’ latest single ‘Space’ released just over two weeks ago, airing on triple j’s Good Nights, captures the communications struggles that people are facing while in isolation. The band posted to Instagram about the new single, saying that “Space is about learning to communicate when you already feel isolated”. The video clip uses Auslan (Australian Sign LANguage), as an alternative method of communication, as sign language has been important in communicating extremely important messages in the mainstream media about the pandemic not only in Australia, but also overseas. The band learnt to sign ‘I Need Space’, for the music video.
The single itself has had a little bit of backlash from old school Hands Like Houses fans saying that ‘the band had changed’ and ‘that their older music was way better’. But when you think of it, Hands Like Houses as a band are over 10 years old, their music style will differ slightly over the years, and who’s to say the band can’t experiment with their own music. After their ‘Anon.’ album in 2018, the latest single ‘Headrush’ and ‘Space’, are definitely more on the pop-rock side of things. Honestly, both singles are really catchy and Space has such a beautiful meaning behind it. Lead Singer Trenton Woodley was quoted in a Good Call Live article talking about the new single, “I wanted it to feel tired, not hopeless, worn out but not ready to give up just yet. I didn’t want it to sound like I’d stopped trying. I wanted it to feel like coming out of a long silence, to say ‘please be patient. I can get this right. I just need a little faith, a little trust, and a little bit of space to get myself back together.’”
The change to a pop rock music style could be due to Hands Like Houses wanting to try something different and experiment with their music. Let’s be honest we were probably not the exact same people we were 10 years ago, so wouldn’t music change and grow along with us?