Live Review: Cousin Tony's Brand New Firebird, Micra, Sunscreen

23 April 2018 | 3:17 pm | Mick Radojkovic

"It's intricate and delivered carefully, drip-feeding a range of aural sensations through each song."

More Cousin Tony's Brand New Firebird More Cousin Tony's Brand New Firebird

While the season slowly changes from hot to not quite so hot, you'd have been excused for thinking it was still a sun-bleached summer's day at the Lansdowne.

Sunscreen, with their airy sound, filled the room with a warmth that would battle any chill. The warbled guitar of Alexander McDonald and the pinpoint graces of Sarah Sykes' voice held down a group that explore soundscapes that are pulsing and hook-filled. Warm in sound, but not on stage. Sykes battled through the chill of the aircon to present a couple of upcoming releases in a set that would have enamoured them to many new punters in the half-filled room.

For a band that started out as a two-piece, the new six-piece edition of Micra is somewhat overwhelming. Squeezing the group onto the stage was also an effort. With their additional members comes added sound, which lead singer Ivana Kay sometimes struggled to overcome. The band's genre could be described as alt-electro indie, guitarist Robbie Cain occasionally switching from guitar to a little electronic device, adding ambient synth tones. It made the wash of sound a little bit too much at times with what could have been a dreamy mix of textures becoming a confusing storm of noise. There is no doubt there's a quality to the songwriting there, but maybe a smaller venue would reveal the intricacies of their delivery.

It's been one of the best releases of the year from a band that is quickly becoming renowned for it's perfectly rounded combination of musicianship and lyricism, not to mention their name. Cousin Tony's Brand New Firebird have had posters for their debut, Electric Brown, plastered around the Inner West and if it's inspired people to remember the name and look them up, then it's a great thing.

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In a suitable start (considering the date just two days before), Blaze lit up the Lansdowne. It's a track that introduced the band members - Francesca Gonzales on synth and vocals, Kieran Christopherson on guitar and vocals, Nick Reid on drums and Leigh MacDonald on bass - with aplomb. Above the solid backing vocal came Lachlan Rose, a voice that stands out for its confidence and warmth, but also how damn good it sounds.

An older track, Cool Parties, demonstrated Rose's flawless falsetto before Gonzales strapped on the key-tar and we entered another realm with Space Is The Place. Despite the galactic theme, there's an old-fashioned feel to the music. It's intricate and delivered carefully, drip-feeding a range of aural sensations through each song. Rose performed a tender solo track, Head Home, but the Lansdowne decided it was time for loud conversation instead. 

Following a heartfelt thank you from Rose, the band dive into Morning Person combined with an epic outro that really exhibited the quality of the band. An encore of Pray November closed out the set and a solid Sunday night of music from three bands with a lot to like.