The Pierces, Live review by Vanessa Brown Sunday 12 June 2011, The Library, HMV institute, Birmingham

I had a chance to meet the girls before the gig to have a chat and they were so laid back and friendly that you realise their latest album is an extension of them and their outlook on life.  They raved about the Jools Holland Show and wish there was something similar in the US as it offers such and eclectic mix of music and was great to be part of.   The other UK delicacy they have latched on to is the cream tea.  Having sampled it while on the road in Scotland, Alison admits to being a little obsessed and has even found a recipe and starting baking scones when she gets the chance (by the way, they also hate salad cream!).

Their home schooled upbringing in a hippy family has inevitably influenced their music as all things in life do but we discussed how you truly know what influences your life and music and how their voices inevitably draw comparisons with other female vocal bands such as The Bangles, Mommas and Papas and Abba.  They love fashion and admit that charity shop finds due to lack of funds have led them to be more creative with their wardrobe to create their style.

They have been working together producing music for over 10 years and don’t mind the fact that some of their fans think of them as an overnight success as they are so pleased with the reception of their latest album in the UK.  Playing together as siblings allows them to be more direct with one another, but also they have to be less blunt to allow the creative process to work.  As they were not signed with a label or on a deadline, their previous album ‘Thirteen Tales of Love and Revenge’, released 4 years ago, was a much more eclectic mix of songs that according to the Pierces was a result of a crisis and short break up and being able to experiment with lots of different styles in the studio and explore their musical fantasies.  They both agree that by comparison “You and I” is a more complete statement of their musical intent. 

Let’s just start out by getting one thing straight, they are even better live! With great voices and beautiful harmonies this sibling duo Alison and Catherine Pierce started with “Love you more?” a hauntingly beautiful song that set the scene for a night of melodies that had the crowd hooked from the start.  This was the first of many great tracks from their latest album “You and I”. 

“It will not be forgotten,” a great song very soulfully performed led us into “Drag you down” which was written by the girls after their move to New York City 10 years ago and relates to the non-stop pace of life in the city, with a great rhythm that carried the crowd along with them. 

After “space & time” an almost ethereal sound, those new to The Pierces were treated to a brilliant performance of the hit “You’ll be mine” (aka the 1,2,3 song).  “Sticks & stones” from their previous album followed which was an energetic hoe down that had the feet of the crowd tapping along.   

A real show of vocal talent came in the form of “The Good Samaritan.” Two voices and a guitar, such a pure sound you could hear a pin drop. “Close my eyes” followed which the crowd loved and then “I’m kissing you goodbye” which is always reminiscent of “California dreaming” to me, so I love it too.  

“Secret” has a spookily macabre fairground feeling to it, the kind of fairground where Papa Lazarou might pop up at any time singing “2 can keep a secret if 1 of them is dead!”  So how come everyone loved it? Simple - because it’s brilliant! 

The very beautiful “We are stars” had a lovely sentiment with Catherine reminding everyone that we are all “made of the same stuff and should be good to one another”.  Fantastic harmonies and a real melancholic feel to the song. 

With the last song dedicated to the crowd for making it to the gig in such horrid weather, “Glorious” bought the house down, with a full minute of rapturous applause and whistles before they reappeared for an encore. 

Catherine wooed the audience with her admiration of her sister and heralded the next song as the best her sister had ever written.  “I put your record on” is very mellow and felt a little sad, but by now the crowd were enchanted with these two and listened intently in agreement. 

The B side of “Glorious” - “City of fire” went down really well and the set finished with a rendition of “boring” a more darkly edgy track from their previous album “13 songs of love and revenge” The crowd would have listened longer and applauded longer, but as it is always best to leave them wanting more, the room gradually emptied in a very relaxed fashion.  No one at this gig could have gone home in a bad mood, even though the diet coke was £3.90 a pint! 

It was a really grey miserable Sunday, with drizzly persistent rain all day - not the sort of day fans want to cue outside around the block, but they did.  And what did they get for their dedication? A gig that seemed to bathe the audience in sunshine and a feeling of hopefulness, like a wonderful sunny day in spring – not glaring and biting sunshine that hurts your eyes, but that lovely soft sunshine that makes you want to close your eyes and feel its warmth on your face. They are really looking forward to Glastonbury, although they are a bit scared about the weather and don’t yet have their wellies, but if you have tickets make sure you see them there as the brand of sunshine The Pierces offer warms your soul.



Adrian Brown -
Danny Fella -
Chris Davis -
Claire White -
Francois Lassagne
Tom Wigley
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