Canadian Music Week was amazing and well worth the long days and late nights to see some amazing acts from Canada and around the world. An event that happens every year, the Aussie BBQ, was the biggest one yet, with Australia being the focus country for the festival this year. With about 27 artists performing over two days, everyone got a good taste of the abundant talent that is coming out of Australia, including a very talented and entertaining twin duo, the Pierce Brothers. From Melbourne, Jack and Pat Pierce have gone from busking in the streets to embarking on a lengthy European tour the day after CMW that won’t see them back in Australia until August.
After doing a set at the Dakota Tavern on May 7th, The Pierce Brothers took the Rivoli stage the next day to a sizable crowd and blew everyone away. Jack and Pat kept up with banter to the audience throughout their set, in which they demonstrated their instrumentation of multiple percussion, guitars and wind instruments, including the didgeridoo and the harmonica. At one point, as pictured below, Pat played the acoustic guitar and harmonica, which was held to the mouth by Jack, while Jack played the didgeridoo one handed into a mic the other side of the stage. An audible gasp from the audience was heard when this occurred, followed by a roaring cheer.
Jack also played “drums” on Pat’s guitar, by hitting the body and strings of the guitar with drumsticks while Pat continued playing. Jack proceeded to join the crowd later on in the set and play the wooden floor with drumsticks and performed gymnastic tumbles through the crowd while keeping beat for the song. Their mental connection as brothers and twins was apparent, with movements that mirrored each other while performing and the harmonizing in the songs was flawless.
Before their set, I was able to interview the brothers about how they started and where they are going next with their careers.
Usually I ask how a band met, but it’s kinda dumb to ask you guys, being twins.
Jack: Well, it was a while ago. We were in this room,
Pat: Both naked, in this room that just kept getting smaller for 9 months.
J: yeah, it was super awkward.
Both: Classic band meeting story.
Major musical influences for you guys?
J: I think Neil Young… no actually recently Jack White. About a year ago.
P: Ah, he’s so good.
J: He does such different things, that we started experimenting, when we got the electric guitar, experimenting with really hard distortion and stuff, with it being so different from our normal stuff.
P: He just does that edgy sound, he does that very well. It’s different but amazing.
J: Also Simon and Garfunkel..
P: Paul Kelly, Pearl Jam is my favourite of all time.
J: yeah Pearl Jam
So you started out busking in Melbourne. How did it grow into what it is now?
J: Well, we were touring Australia already, doing little shows here and there, running around everywhere. Then we got new managers, and they said, ‘Ok, just go busking, go do it, you’ll love it, you’ll get money, people will come to your shows.’ So we started doing it and absolutely loved it; it was a new challenge every day, new audience every song. And the great challenge was that nobody was there to see us, nobody was there to see music, so you’ve got to make them stop and watch, then it’s up to you if your songs are any good. So we kinda just kept at it.
So you guys still busk?
P: Yeah we still do, but we’ve only been busking twice this year, we just don’t have time. We looked at the schedule the other day and we’ve been on tour for now nine months. We do one tour, then get a week, then do a support tour, a week, then our tour. And now this is our second day here, then a four month tour through Europe.
Is this your first time touring outside of Australia?
J: No, we did Europe last year, and England the year before, where we did busking and shows. In Europe, we got picked up for the Netherlands and walked out on stage for the first show to 10,000 people and we were, “………”. It wasn’t our own show, it was a festival, we got a very lucky spot. It was “Oh My God, what is this?!?!” So we are going back to England.
P: We got a call a couple of days ago, and we fly out to England on (May 10) evening, and (promoters) said “Hey, can you do a show on Monday evening in London as support? It’s a big room, already sold out, it’s supporting this guy.” so we said “yeah, so we’re going straight from the airport to this venue, and walk on stage?”, and they said “yes! that’s exactly what you’re gonna be doing!”
What does the rest of the year look like, with new music?
P: I don’t want to look at it, cause it scares me! laughs It’s daunting!
J: Well, we’ve recorded an EP, about a month ago, two weeks ago, and we’ve got an album to record in December and January hopefully. I think! laughs
How are you enjoying Canadian Music Week? Toronto?
P: Oh loving it! It’s alot of fun!
J: Love Toronto. I mean “Torrono”, not “Toronto”
This is the first heat wave we’ve had.
P: Oh, I brought this jacket that has sheepskin all over.
J: Where’s the snow? I think you guys have been lying this whole time!
P: This is hotter than Melbourne.