‘Treat it like busking’: Pierce Brothers to get back to their roots at hometown show next month

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‘Treat it like busking’: Pierce Brothers to get back to their roots at hometown show next month

Pierce Brothers
words by Ewen Stewart

High-octane rootsy folk duo Pierce Brothers, Jack and Pat Pierce, are returning to Melbourne on March 18 for a hometown show for Live at Warrawee.

Pierce Brothers have never failed to produce a show packed with energy, passion and flair. Bringing their livewire entertainment to stages across the globe has become somewhat of a trademark for the Melbourne brothers and can be traced back to their humble beginnings as buskers on Bourke St, way back in 2011. Unlike other buskers, Jack and Pat have transferred that same energy to the live stage. 

They’re set to appear at Live at Warrawee on March 18, a free day of good music, delicious food and fun in the sun held at Warrawee Park in Oakleigh.

Keep up with the latest music news, festivals, interviews and reviews here.

When busking, Pat discloses “the more that [they] jumped around and made a spectacle of it, the more people would stop and listen.”  The energy of the sets naturally influenced the style of music that they would write, tending “towards more upbeat, jump-around tracks”, similar to the likes of The Lumineers or Mumford & Sons. 

 “A lot of our songs ended up being written or developed as we were playing them,” continues Pat. “We’d add new things, have little brain waves. We were playing it like six times a day, playing set after set after set after set … that’s why Jacks doing all the flips you know, things to get people to stop and look at us.”

When they started to play bigger shows and festivals like 2014’s Lowlands in the Netherlands, a mantra was put in place; “just busking, treat it like busking, it’s just busking.” And that’s what they did: about an hour of high energy, stomp-ya-feet, organised chaos that the crowd couldn’t get enough of.  

A highlight of the Pierce Brothers recorded repertoire is a live album they recorded at Chapel Off Chapel in 2021, which was not in any way a planned out release. Knowing that Chapel Off Chapel were planning on filming their set and releasing it, the Pierce Brothers thought why not take advantage and bring a multi-track desk along to get a proper mix on it.

Having played such a great show, with a lot of songs off the newest record, with strings and keys involved; it was too good not to release. This was their second live album, amongst five other albums released since 2017. 

For their latest release, Pierce Brothers have teamed up with fellow busker-alum Tash Sultana with the new single High & Unsteady, an energetic folk track that permeates waves of clean electric guitar tones alongside the upbeat tempo we’ve come to expect from a Pierce Brothers tune.

This is the first time Jack and Pat have joined the platinum award winning producer, engineer, singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist in the studio, however the pairing has a strong history, having met through mutual friends when Tash was starting out their career.

Tash approached the Pierce Brothers to ask them what they thought about busking, to which the boys enthusiastically responded “start busking!” Ever since, the trio have been good mates on the road and always discussed the possibility of a release together, but only recently did that thought come to fruition. They started writing together and it came as naturally as the friendship had.

“Getting in the studio we kinda just sat down and said ‘here’s this idea we’ve got’, and then Tash just started playing some guitar bits over it and we were like ‘yep this is cool, let’s put this down, let’s add this guitar bit in here’, then started pulling out instruments that I don’t know how to play and said ‘well let’s do this’ and I was like ‘yeah this sounds sick’. It was a good couple of days.”

While the track is an upbeat rollicking tune, the lyrics bare a much deeper and retrospective take. Alluding to the line that Jack wrote, “but if I keep drinking wine I know we’re bound for blood”, Pat shares how “Jack loves the idea of writing really dark lyrics to really upbeat tunes”, in the same vein as bands like Foster the People.

Accompanying the new single is an equally impressive animated music video joining 35mm analogue and digital footage, directed and edited by Patrick Pierce himself, after he saw a review of the camera on YouTube. 

“It’s a hard idea. It’s just very simple with just one gimmick, and I was kinda worried that it would get old. So we filmed a bunch of other stuff, just like performance stuff to cut it with, and then it started coming together and it was just arduous, it took ages. But when it started coming together I was like ‘actually this works, this is gonna be sick’.”

Although the brothers have been touring successfully together for almost a decade, Pat admits that the twins “have had their share of blow ups”. Expressing how “when you’re on the road for ten weeks and you’re seeing each other every single day, from the moment you wake up until the moment you go back to sleep…things get old”. But they don’t let these trials get in the way. Put simply by Pat, “but ya know, we’re twins, best mates.” 

With Jack having a kid during lockdown and another child since, Pat concedes that “the days of doing six or eight week tours of Europe are done”, as a focus on family is much more important. A lot of short stint tours of three or four days are going to be more frequent. Pat states jokingly, “until we can afford a second bus the family and kids can come over on”. 

Pierce Brothers are back in Melbourne next month for Live at Warrawee in Oakleigh. Take Pat’s word for it; “it’s gonna be an absolute belter of a day.”

“Lots of jumping around…very high energy…big Pierce Brothers show”. 

Having not done a hometown headline show since the start of 2022, the boys are excited at the prospect of playing more Melbourne gigs in the near future and getting back to their “roots and all”.

Catch The Pierce Brothers at Live at Warrawee on March 18. Find out more about this free event by heading here

This article was made in partnership with Monash Council