Live. The Handsome Family @ Assembly Hall.

The Handsome Family is an alternative country and Americana band, formed in Chicago, Illinois, and currently based in Albuquerque, New Mexico. (Sara Jenkins)

The Handsome Family is an alternative country and Americana band, formed in Chicago, Illinois, and currently based in Albuquerque, New Mexico. (Sara Jenkins)

The Handsome Family may have been around for nearly 20 years but they are still very much in demand. Tonight they perform a sold out concert at Islington Assembly Hall. Sara Jenkins photographs and reviews.

The Handsome Family is an alternative country and Americana band, formed in Chicago, Illinois, and currently based in Albuquerque, New Mexico. (Sara Jenkins)

The Handsome Family is an alternative country and Americana band, formed in Chicago, Illinois, and currently based in Albuquerque, New Mexico. (Sara Jenkins)

The venue has a real village hall feel about it tonight and you can imagine Rennie and Brett just parking up the van, unloading the gear, setting up and playing straight off. Some of the material they wowed us with included Woodpecker and Octopus from the latest album Wilderness. Far From Any Road, which shot into the limelight this year by becoming the theme tune for the popular tv show True Detective, was greeted with rapturous applause.

The Handsome Family is an alternative country and Americana band, formed in Chicago, Illinois, and currently based in Albuquerque, New Mexico. (Sara Jenkins)

The Handsome Family is an alternative country and Americana band, formed in Chicago, Illinois, and currently based in Albuquerque, New Mexico. (Sara Jenkins)

The Handsome’s also took time to interact and talk to the audience. I had the feeling that if these two ever did give up music they would be just as successful as a comedy duo.

Rennie Sparks writes the lyrics and Brett Sparks writes the music, this seems like the perfect formula to create masterpieces, however while on stage they play around with the old married couple stereotype who bicker all the time.

The Handsome Family is an alternative country and Americana band, formed in Chicago, Illinois, and currently based in Albuquerque, New Mexico. (Sara Jenkins)

The Handsome Family is an alternative country and Americana band, formed in Chicago, Illinois, and currently based in Albuquerque, New Mexico. (Sara Jenkins)

Jokes and strange little stories throughout it felt as though whoever was in the room at the time were part of some untold tales that were almost secret within those four walls. They were joined on stage by Mike Werner on the drums. Smoke machines added a simple visual element.

With their flawlessly tuneful harmonies and their own unique style and sound I dont know if the islington will ever host such a dynamic and varied concert again.

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Review by Sara Jenkins. The Handsome Family @ Islington Assembly Hall 29th October 2014.

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