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Tepid Go-Betweens Don’t Work Up Palace

On LP, the Go-Betweens traffic in a spritely, folkish, poppy sort of rock that’s only occasionally marginally interesting--mostly to aficionados of the form. On stage at the Palace on Friday, the Australian male-female quintet was substantially more mediocre than that. If it weren’t for the absolute stupidity of co-lead vocalist-guitarist Robert Forster’s performing in a house dress (an ugly house dress, mind you) or the almost merciful use of a slide show, the band would have had all the stage presence of the proverbial hole in the doughnut.

The unfailingly tepid level of energy more than matched the uncanny lack of vocal character--regardless of whether the spotlight was on Forster or singer-guitarist Grant McLannan--and the material was as tuneful and pleasant as it was largely unmemorable.

Reporting objectively, the band played an hour-plus, the room was mostly full, and the crowd neither threw bottles at the stage nor stormed the exits. After all, what was there to get worked up about?


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