Sydney 5-piece Lepers and Crooks came sprinting out of the blocks only two years ago with their first few headline slots being succeeded by a relentless snowball of Australian tours. The band takes their name from Bob Dylan's 'Ballad of a Thin Man', but a similiarity to Dylan's folk is hard to find in their sound.
I was lucky enough to catch them in Byron Bay NSW for one of the last dates of their 'Through Gypsy Eyes' tour, and although the first thing that caught my attention was the (almost Pantera-like) chunky, distorted, grooving bass lines mirrored by the rhythm guitar; they held my interest with expert use of dynamics, allowing the vocals room to breathe and become ballad-like, complimented by beautiful psychedelic lead lines. Anyone who is into both the heavy and light sides of rock and more alternative guitar driven music but can't find both worlds in one song or one band, has no further to look. The rhythm section was fat - bass, drums and rhythm - but they knew when to lay back. Arrangement was seamless; they used their sound well. Nothing bad to be said about them!
Frontman Sam Baker led the tightest of shows with an intriguing performance; I was so pleased to see a singer who performs instead of just singing the lines. Altogether these guys are not only great players but great entertainment, genre-bending between hard hitting, funky choruses and instrumental breaks and alternative Karnivool-esque soft verse.
Lepers & Crooks are currently recording an album, soon-to-be released and undoubtedly extensively toured. They have one date on the 5th of December for the F%!# Stereo's festival in Adelaide, and anyone in the area should not miss out. Meanwhile their Facebook page is always active and their website has more info, and some free listening can be found on Triple J Unearthed.