It’s the ultimate success story: Melbourne buskers make the bigtime, going from Swanston Street to touring the world. The Pierce Brothers returned to their hometown to perform at 170 Russell midway through their first world tour.
They’re billed as a ‘folk duo’, and indeed, it’s just the lads — twins Jack and Patrick Pierce — doing all the work. I’ve seen them several times since I moved to Melbourne five years ago. Back in 2012, they were featured on my friend Simon Jones’ website as they busked on Elizabeth Street, just starting out as full-time musos. I’ve since caught them at the Espy, and earlier this year at the Peninsula Picnic fell in love with their music all over again.
Their infectious tunes keep the crowd bopping along, smiles on everyone’s face. Go on, give it a listen. You’ll understand what I mean. Their sold-out show at 170 Russell was jammed with friends and family, along with a crew of diehard fans who knew every word — they got a special mention for their support. Also getting a mention? The Wurundjeri Tribe. It’s always fantastic hearing the traditional owners honored, particularly in the context of a band who uses an Aboriginal instrument. (Jack uses the digeridoo to great effect.) I love seeing indigenous Australian cultural spread around the world in a respectful way.
Their website’s tagline is ‘touring the world, recording music, and making friends.’ How apt. Their years spent busking mean they know exactly how to keep a crowd entertained — just enough light banter between sets, just enough shoutouts and stories. Their hardcore fans sang along for a few of the tunes, but even those of us who don’t know every lyric enjoyed their set immensely. My +1 had never heard them before, and I daresay came away a fan. That’s testament to the power of their music to please the ear and tickle the heartstrings.
Sad and slow, or happy and fast, the Pierce Brothers’ tunes are ones you’ll want to put on at parties, on roadtrips, on a jog, at days at the beach. It’s the new soundtrack to your life.
Co-founder of The Plus Ones, Theresa needs to remind herself sometimes just how much fun she always has at gigs. Live music FTW.