Last December, mid-pandemic, on a muggy post-lockdown Melbourne morning, Sam, Brendon, Liam and Josh found themselves in the enviable position of performing a set to an empty Hamer Hall with Orchestra Victoria. The group had been tapped by Arts Centre Melbourne and Orchestra Victoria management to provide repertoire for a stopgap recording project following the cancellation of the orchestra’s scheduled classical season. The band jumped at the chance.
“We’d grown up listening to some live albums that have orchestras; I never expected we’d be on one, especially something as grandiose as Orchestra Victoria at Hamer Hall,” says drummer Liam Gough.
“I thought it would be a long and laborious process to translate our songs into orchestral form, but Jamie Messenger (arranger) and Nicholas Buc (conductor) were super across it,” says Brendon Love, bassist and key architect behind the band’s sound. “We had some Zoom calls with Jamie and told him what we like and don’t like, we wanted to keep it stabby and pizzicato. More fun.”
The collaboration was filmed and subsequently uploaded to YouTube in December 2020, a Christmas gift for Teskey fans around the world who at that point were seriously starved of live music. The feedback was unanimously glowing, leaving everyone little choice but to mix down and manufacture this “masterpiece” into a live album for wider release the following Christmas, 2021.
It only took a few takes but it’s no great surprise they nailed it. Everything The Teskey Brothers do comes back to the same indefatigable ethos they’ve had since busking at St Andrews Market in the early 2000s. They compromise on nothing; a trait that is never more evident than when listening to their two studio albums, Half Mile Harvest and their 3 x ARIA Award-winning album Run Home Slow, where attention was given in equal measure to purist analogue recording techniques, timeless songwriting, and accomplished free-flowing performances. In 2020, the group released their first live album, Live At The Forum album, resulting in the band’s first ARIA #1 charting. That album was, again, painstakingly recorded the analogue way via a tape machine camped side of stage during a four-night sold out run at the iconic Melbourne venue.
On Live at Hamer Hall, The Teskey Brothers continue to push the boundaries of musical possibility, a bold extension of their beloved catalogue. As luck would have it, the album is being released just as the world is re-opening to live music. Live at Hamer Hall is available to pre-order now on digital, CD & limited-edition double vinyl, which is translucent red, heavyweight (180g) and housed in a gatefold. As a taste of what’s to come, ‘So Caught Up (Live At Hamer Hall, 2020)’ is now available on all DSPs.