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LIVE: The Pierces

9 June 11 words: Tim Sorrell
The band seemed on the verge of calling it quits before fate intervened in the unlikely shape of Coldplay bassist, Guy Berryman
The Pierces
Catherine and Alison Pierce

As sisters, Catherine and Alison Pierce have likely been performing together for as long as they can remember, but as The Pierces, they’ve been releasing records since as long ago as 2000. Only now, after four albums, do things seem to really be taking off for them. Critical acclaim (and a song – Secret - featured on hit US TV shows Dexter and Gossip Girls) never really converted into commercial success, and the band seemed on the verge of calling it quits before fate intervened in the unlikely shape of Coldplay bassist, Guy Berryman and an offer to produce their next album. The result, You & I sits at number four in the UK Albums chart – the first of their albums to make the chart in the UK - and singles You’ll Be Mine and Glorious feature heavily on national radio playlists.

Tonight’s gig is the second in a short tour that culminates with an appearance at the Glastonbury Festival. Support comes from Delta Maid, whose accent marks her out as more Mersey than Mississippi delta, but whose music comes squarely from the tradition of the delta bluesmen and from the leather-shorted, guitar-wielding Alice Gold. Both acts have been marked out in the press as “ones to watch” and are warmly received by a decent-sized crowd, politely massing for the headline act.

The Pierces play a relatively short set tonight, clocking in at less than an hour, and focus almost exclusively on songs from their new album. Luckily, the material is uniformly good and the sisters’ soaring harmonies sound as good live as they do on record. Their earlier albums are folkier, but the sisters seem to have been listening to Stevie Nicks-era Fleetwood Mac and the Mamas & Papas, and their influence is written large across the new songs.

Highlights include You’ll Be Mine (requested on Radio 2 as “the 1-2-3 song”, apparently), It Will Not Be Forgotten, Close My Eyes, Kissing You Goodbye, an acid-tinged Secret, Sticks and Stones and a wistful I Put Your Records On.

It’s not often that a crowd shout of “Boring” will be taken as a compliment, but the band finishes their set with a storming version of their epic 2007 paean to ennui. It’s a great way to finish a set by a band whose star is (finally) on the rise.

The Pierces with support from Delta Maid and Alice Gold played at the Rescue Rooms on Wednesday 8 June 2011.

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