Wire Bird Spread Their Wings

Wire Bird is a band name with plenty of pun opportunties. Thankfully, I hate puns.

If you’ve ever spoken to Tim Cook, you will be familiar with his low and blokey register.

You wouldn’t have known it on Thursday night, though, with the Melbourne singer-guitarist delivering some Rialto-like cries to the Brunswick Hotel audience. The blonde haired frontman stole the set, startling the reasonably-sized audience with some unlikely elocution skills. It was as if he had traded in his toolbox for a soul, determined to nurture each and every syllable with utmost care.

Cook’s band Wire Bird was a late inclusion to the set list, which also featured William Blaxland, Better than the Wizards, and Rare Child. Despite the short notice, Wire Bird’s impressive opening performance drew more than a few early comers off their bar stools and into the crowd.

Admittedly, Cook’s throat didn’t take a liking to every note thrown at him, appearing to be intimidated by the occasional falsetto threat. To his credit, he persisted until the end of Wire Bird’s 40 minute set, holding on long enough to please followers and win some much-deserved Facebook followers.

As a whole, Wire Bird sounded remarkably tight. Drummer Luke Sexton captured the mood of every number, while John Longley found the right balance between guitar, keys, and inter-song dialogue. Bassist James Eynaud likewise pulled out a noteworthy performance, not least for his angelic backup vocals.

With Wire Bird setting the bar high, Rare Child responded with a vigorous effort.

While not as polished as their predecessors, the fledgling five-piece showed that they too can make a name for themselves, albeit in a different musical market.

Flaunting a unique combination of folk, country, and rock, Rare Child let their audience in on their signature sound. Violinist-cum-singer Erin Lancaster was the overt focal point, commanding her band and the crowd alike with some dazzling stage presence. Her occasional fast-paced string breakouts were a particular highlight, her killer violin solos leading her band mates on a merry dance.

It must be tempting for a band of such musical talent to rush onto such tangents at every available opportunity. But credit must go to the songwriters for letting the songs speak for themselves, only to shake up the formula at necessary and well-paced intervals.

As with every young band, Rare Child still showed area for improvement. On occasion, Lachlan Heycox’s mesmerising banjo was drowned out by the keys. More banjo and guitar in general would have given the band that missing ingredient, that extra zing to intrigue the crowd at every turn. More vocal support would have also been appreciated, not least by Lancaster whose dual commitment saw her working overtime.

Yet few in the crowd would have noticed these small quirks, with most congregants dancing about in the folk equivalent of a moshpit. Rare Child was all about fun, something you can read on each and every bandmate’s face.

That’s what live music is about. Should this group continues to enjoy their work, they may well become the child prodigy the music industry has been eagerly awaiting.

The night nonetheless belonged to openers Wire Bird, whose beautiful melodies and vocal triumphs had the audience’s unfailing attention.

So long as Cook doesn’t infect his on-stage routine with his trademark monotone frequencies, Wire Bird should be flying up the gig hierarchy in no time.