The Beards Friday August 26, Northcote Social Club.
Between the creepy bearded lady at the carnival and the fact that it's the accessory of choice for the homeless, it's no wonder beards have developed a bad reputation. Fortunately, four brave men are standing up for the black sheep of the facial hair family. Those men are Adelaide quartet The Beards.
'Melbourne. Are you in the mood…for beards?' lead singer Johann Beardraven asks a sold out Northcote Social Club. The roaring response and impressive display of facial hair (some real, some not so real) from the crowd indicates that they are.
The Beards set the tone early, bringing a clean-shaven attendee on stage to demonstrate 'what not to do' as the audience jeers and boos the unsuspecting punter. Bass player Nathaniel Beard explains that the goal of their 100 Beards tour is to convince 100 new people to grow facial hair and I'm already starting to think that bearded lady may have been on to something.
The foursome's folk-rock style provides the perfect backdrop to their clever lyrics, with early tracks In The Mood For Beards and You've Got To Have A Beard To Call Yourself A Man providing plenty of laughs. But the show starts to feel more like a rally when the Beards pull out favourites No Beard, No Good and If Your Dad Doesn't Have A Beard Then You Have Two Mums. It's around this time that you start to believe that shaving may in fact be one of the most heinous crimes of our time.
Beardraven is Jack Black with an agenda, clearly relishing his role as the frontman weighed down by unwanted sexual advances and hippie generalisations. He is the recipient of some serious man love when he launches himself into an adoring audience who take the chance to gleefully stroke his beard.
Fans get taste of the Beards new rockier material with final tracks including You Should Have Sex With A Bearded Man which has a distinctly Van Halen vibe. But beyond the beard shtick, it is clear that these guys are genuinely talented as they take to the stage for their encore. Beginning with a sax solo and ending with an impressive show of Johann's falsetto, most of us forget that we've been singing along to songs about whiskers for the past hour.
Whilst the Beards admit that the facial fuzz they advocate has typically been the domain of wizards, rabbis and garden gnomes, they want every man to grow one and every woman to worship one. The pash rash I'm currently sporting is proof they are very convincing.
LOVED: Watching groups of bearded men high fiving and embracing between songs.
HATED: Myself for laughing when I should have been offended by manthem Why Having A Beard Is Better Than Having A Woman.
DRANK: With difficulty, after accepting the guy next to me's offer to wear a beard on a string.