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Sheppard - Photo by Rachael Barrett
Sheppard – Photo by Rachael Barrett

Microwave Jenny
The Astor Theatre
Thursday, October 23, 2014

The Playschool House Band known as Sheppard rounded out their Australian tour last Thursday night at The Astor Theatre. After already seeing them earlier in the year I was actually almost looking forward to seeing Sheppard play the final show of in support of their debut album, Bombs Away.

The punters that got down early enough and for the swarm of pre-teens that had been blocking the footpath outside of the Astor since early morning were lucky enough to see Microwave Jenny smash out a great set. Tessa Boney’s vocals compliment her style of groove-pop perfectly and proved that there can be soul in pop tunes.

Sheppard took the stage 20 minutes late which meant there was some ushering required from the big man himself, Michael Chugg, to clear the bar get everyone inside for the first song. The band launched straight into Hold My Tongue before Amy Sheppard took over lead vocal roles for the new single, Smile. Sheppard had the majority pre-teen audience captivated from the time they walked on stage and even more so once front man George Sheppard announced he was actually born in Perth.

Much like Sheppard’s music, the banter with the crowd between songs seemed quite contrived and lacked integrity. At this point I would have preferred to listen to another three or four songs that you cant distinguish the difference between instead of listening to George’s egotistical gloating.

It was at this stage of the night that the band lost momentum. After dropping the new single and a few older tracks earlier in the set, the Sheppard B sides weren’t quite strong enough to hold the crowd until they finished off with hit singles Let Me Down Easy and Geronimo. Sheppard are a good band, don’t get me wrong. They have great chemistry on stage and a growing rep of solid pop songs. It is hard to see past that manipulated “playschool” image that the band portrays but once (if) you do, its hard not to get up in the euphoria.



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