On the road touring their latest album, Pierce Brothers gave Into The Great Unknown the live launch it deserves.
It feels like a lifetime since Pierce Brothers last rocked Ruby’s Lounge in Belgrave. Fast forward to 2021, and once again they’ve blown the crowd away at the same venue, now Sooki Lounge, with a night of energetic folk-rock.
The only things standing still for the set were the chandeliers above the bar and the gold-framed mirrors adorning the floral and geometric wallpaper.
Melbourne acoustic artist Steph Strings opened for the band and, despite only adding vocals to her music two years ago, had the crowd mesmerised. It’s as if she was born to play the guitar.
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Tonight was about the Pierce Brothers, however, who were here to promote their latest album Into The Great Unknown. Released in March, fans had been eagerly awaiting the chance to see tracks from the new record played live.
The 1.5-hour set did not disappoint. The twin brothers kicked off proceedings with the first song from the album, ‘White Caps’. Other album newbies rolled out, including ‘It’s Alright’, ‘Lights of London’, and ‘One’.
Jack Pierce casually explained he learnt to play the mandolin specifically for ‘It’s Alright’ and that he wrote ‘One’ about becoming a father to his now eight-month-old daughter, and a husband to his wife, Loz, after hiking with her on New Zealand’s South Island.
The latter song, he explains, was inspired by Gang of Youths’ cover of ‘Blood’ by The Middle East.
Patrick Pierce chimed in, adding how his brother had to re-work ‘One’ to become the song it is today, as the original version sounded exactly the cover they were emulating.
An assortment of tracks from their previous records were belted out, including ‘It’s My Fault’, ‘Overdose’, ‘Take a Shot’, ‘Amsterdam’, ‘The Records Were Ours’, ‘Trip Lovers’, ‘Genevieve’, ‘Golden Times’, ‘Flying Home’, while a slowed-down rendition of their hit ‘Brother’ was received well.
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Their tribute to John Butler’s song, ‘Ocean’ was awe-inspiring to watch. Pat’s fingers flew along the strings while Jack played along simultaneously to cover all the chords at once.
With various guitars, drumkits, a mandolin, didgeridoo, harmonica, foot tambourine, cowbell, and shakers, the brothers’ talent for playing multiple instruments, often concurrently, was not lost on the grateful crowd.
Everyone huddled to be close to the stage, which was easy to do in the small venue. Jack weaved his way through adoring fans multiple times, tapping his drumsticks on anything that provided a new sound: the floor, the bar, the timber tabletops.
Encouraging the crowd to sing louder, he had everyone crouch down before all jumping up for the crescendo of ‘Flying Home’ to which Steph Strings added a welcomed guitar solo.
The gig was a success and locals to the area were pleased to learn they’ll be seeing more of Jack Pierce, who shared he has just bought a property in a nearby neighbourhood with his young family.
Jack and Pat acknowledged the traditional owners of the land and appeared genuinely grateful to be playing again, despite Bluesfest 2021 being cancelled and, along with it, their scheduled slot at the festival.
It’s been a privilege to watch the Pierce Brothers music grow and evolve across their career to date and one can only look forward to what’s next for the band. Hopefully another Bluesfest show and many more gigs to come.
Highlight: Attending a gig with such talented musicians.
Lowlight: COVID-19 making fans wait over a year to see the Pierce Brothers play their latest album live.
Crowd favourite: ‘Flying Home’.