At the fourth installment of Cousin Tony’s Brand New Firebird’s residency, it was clear that the flow of their supporters had not abated as The Evelyn was well attended for a particularly cold Wednesday night. Y

Support act Greeves seemed to be seasoned enough to handle an incessant chatter in the room. If there ever was a band that consisted of jazz grads, it was Greeves. Their dynamic set ran the gauntlet of genre inspirations with jazz and funk elements infused into their indie rock sound. The set had some great tracks, yet a few songs felt needlessly complex with distracting key changes and guitar solos. Nevertheless ending a set with ‘Macpherson’s Lament’, a traditional Scottish folk song, is one way to stand out of the countless bands gigging around Melbourne’s northern suburbs.

Cousin Tony’s Brand New Firebird have been on my radar for a while for. Not only are they named after a beloved line from American Beauty but they are responsible for wonderfully written songs with poetic lyrics and interesting arrangements. Their performance is the perfect combination of skillful replication of recorded material while adding lovely new elements and inflections. 

The residency at The Evelyn was to launch their new single ‘Blaze’ which was played towards the end of the set and is indicative of the new direction in their sound. Increased use of synthesizers and a keytar on this track leads to an upbeat 80s vibe which is dance inducing. This track in particular though seemed very polished in comparison to a lot of their set, of which other songs seemed a bit more heartfelt. However, Francesca Gonzales stands out with support vocals creating a beautiful textual element in this song and throughout the rest of the set as well.

Live CTBNF prove that they are all skillful musicians in their own right; the subtle drumming is particularly refreshing while the new track ‘Transient’ shows off the charismatic frontman’s impressive vocal range. In the live performance, personal favorite tracks which are more emotive have increased intensity. The stripped back bridge in ‘Cool Parties  is incredibly moving and the orchestration on ‘Melbourne Bitter’ is intricate and brilliant.

The highlight of the set is an unreleased track ‘Something In The Air’ which frontman, Lachlan Rose explains is about the tendency of some people in Melbourne to desperately pre-empt the start of spring when there’s still plenty of winter weather to go. Like ‘Melbourne Bitter’, this song shows how this local band exactly appeals to Melbournites with small, relatable anecdotes packaged in intricately written yet catchy tunes which appeals to all. After dashing into the Evelyn, a heaving Fitzroy institution on a rainy winter Wednesday, I realised there is no place Cousin Tony’s Brand New Firebird is better suited to playing.

Cousin Tony’s Brand New Firebird are playing as part of the Bigsound showcase in Brisbane, so if you are in the sunshine state this week, this band are definitely worth catching at one of the times listed here.