Project Description

COUSIN TONY’S BRAND NEW FIREBIRD

+ Why We Run + Kid Heron

@ Leadbelly 17/08/17

(Live Review)

Reviewer – Alec Smart

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Cousin Tony's Brand New Firebird

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Cousin Tony’s Brand New Firebird launched their single Blaze at Leadbelly in Newtown, Sydney, on 17 August, supported by Why We Run and Kid Heron. The venue enjoyed a near-full turnout, encouraging for a Thursday night, especially as the headliners are a relatively new band and had travelled from Melbourne.

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I wish I could tell you that I saw Kid Heron on the night I attended Cousin Tony’s Brand New Firebird’s song launch at Leadbelly in Newtown. However, whilst I was cycling to the venue, a young testosterone-fueled creep in a sporty car decided he’d try and run me off the road.

It’s almost always the male of the species that takes umbrage to two-wheeled vehicles sharing their racetracks. A blasting of their horn typically follows the aggressive swerve of their phallic chariots.

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Yet despite being over-confident road warriors, they seldom take into account simple impediments, like traffic lights. So, after they herd us two-wheeled plebs off the road, punishing the less mobile for competing with their world of nasty fast cars, they’re often prevented from a quick getaway by a simple red light bulb.

The upshot of this tale is that I soon caught up with the boy-racer, and after an exchange wherein I informed him of the error of his ways, he declined my polite invitation to step out of his car to discuss the finer points I wished to articulate.

The downshot of this encounter is the disappointing discovery that I arrived at Leadbelly just as opening band, Kid Heron, were finishing their set.

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Kid Heron is the creative umbrella of Cairns-born indigenous singer-songwriter Alby Milne, a young soul/R&B artist who crosses musical genres with his backing band, Cool Intentions. He also plays with psychedelic funk/R&B band Joseph Liddy and the Skeleton Horse.

His debut single, Ornaments, is currently being played on Double J internet radio, so, despite his relative novelty, he’s already developing a fan-base and music industry interest.

Why We Run is a Sydney-based quartet that plays synthesizer-driven rock, mostly slow and haunting, sometimes more upbeat. They released an album mid 2016, Holograms, from which a few songs are also enjoying rotation on Double J internet radio.

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Why we run

Why We Run, Leadbelly, Newtown, Sydney, Australia. Photo: Alec Smart, Thursday 18 August 2017

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Their minimalist light show consisted of a strip of bulbs on the wall behind them that alternated between green, blue and purple, and the words Why We Run projected across the chest and shoulders of the front three, making them difficult to see, let alone photograph.

Apart from the drummer, who introduced songs and maintained a cordial banter, the band said little.

It was revealed that the guitarist recently cut the end off two of his fingers in an accident whilst chopping onions. Despite reattaching them with superglue, the repair job was inadequate, and he was struggling to play guitar without pain.

“They’re fucked!” was his medically derived analysis of the unfortunate injury.

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Cousin Tony's Brand New Firebird

Cousin Tony’s Brand New Firebird, Leadbelly, Newtown, Sydney, Australia. Photo: Alec Smart, Thursday 18 August 2017

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Cousin Tony’s Brand New Firebird (hereafter CTBNF for the simple reason that typing out their long name gives me RSI) is perhaps the daftest and longest band name in Australia. Unsurprisingly, they’re frequently shortened to Cousin Tony, which is a lot less sexy than, say, Brand New Firebird, or even the funkier Firebird.

Protracted name aside, they’re quirky and interesting, utilizing unconventional melodies. Their music, written by guitarist Lachlan Rose, is generally comprised of twin jangling guitars, accompanied by synthesizer, funky bass and harmonizing male and female vocals, generally performed to a slow beat.

Covering tracks from their critically acclaimed March 2016 EP, Melbourne Bitter, including recently-released Cool Parties, up-tempo dance number Make It and the night’s encore, Pray November, CTBNF also highlighted tracks from a forthcoming album, Electric Brown.

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Cousin Tony's Brand New Firebird

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The new songs indicate a shift of direction away from their slower-paced debut EP, Queen of Hearts – curiously, none of its five songs were played at Leadbelly – towards a more intense, psychedelic rock experience. They were well received by the audience.

One of the new numbers, Transient, vocalist Lachy Rose revealed was about getting older and the discovery that life speeds up when you’re in your 20s. I could warn them it gets faster still when you’re double that age – speaking as someone in my 50s – although I don’t want to spoil the surprise that awaits.

Synth player Francesca Gonzales, who also played a key-tar (piano keyboard shaped like a guitar and similarly slung over the shoulder) on several numbers, has a dynamic vocal range with an incredible ability to sustain a high note. A talent that was relatively underused during the night, she caused a ripple of excitement when she revealed the capacity of her singing.

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Prior to the encore, CTBNF revealed the song they were showcasing for the night: Blaze. Before playing it, Lachy Rose explained it was a metaphor for burning away layers of your personality to reveal the next version of yourself as you develop.

Similarly, the band might also be interpreted as burning away their past, shedding their day-dreamy eclectic pop signature to reveal a more engaging, and multi-layered sound. In this way, Blaze can also be construed as a butterfly-like transition to a more enlightening style of songwriting.

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Link to Alec Smart’s gallery of images from the show: HERE

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TOUR DATES

5-8th September @ BIGSOUND, Fortitude Valley, Brisbane

TICKETS

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Wednesday 23rd August @ The Evelyn Hotel, Melbourne – Residency
Wednesday 30th August @ The Evelyn Hotel, Melbourne – Residency

TICKETS AVAILABLE AT THE DOOR 

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Follow COUSIN TONY’S BRAND NEW FIREBIRD

Bigsound          Facebook          Soundcloud

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AMNPLIFY – DB

Alec Smart

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