Last Thursday evening, Winterbourne lit up The Foundry in Brisbane, providing an evening of impressive banter and great music in equal parts.
Opening were fresh act This New Light, playing only their second live show. But if frontman Samuel hadn’t’ve mentioned it, I would have been none the wiser, as they played a tight set, covering a significant portion of their new, self-titled EP.
The folk aesthetic was strong, with Samuel’s vocals channelling a young Vance Joy, boosted by the inclusion of band member Kevin, who played on a flugelhorn.
Samuel began on the acoustic guitar, before transitioning to the electric for ‘Reverie’. The electric stuck around for a cover of ‘Never Gonna Give You Up’ by Rick Astley. It was a decent cover, but having spent years on the internet being Rick Roll’d by Astley, it was both unintentionally hilarious and traumatising for me.
It was back to the acoustic for both ‘Anchorage’ and new, unreleased track ‘Without You’.
The band closed it out with ‘The Mountains’, their most popular track (available to listen to on both Spotify and Unearthed, wink wink).Special mention goes to Ben on keyboard, who used the intermission between songs to drop some lounge piano beats.
If you love a chill folk vibe, give This New Light’s new EP a listen, and if they end up a breakout hit, I am certainly taking credit for discovering them.
My expectation for Winterbourne was a relaxed evening of folk rock, but on this, the Much Better tour, James and Jordan have decided to take a more rock and roll approach.
Opening track ‘Better’ had the folk elements I expected, featuring an electric cello that saw a lot of action over the course of the evening, but it was a rock song performance.
Crowd favourite ‘Cold’ featured a mid-song breakout, launching the song from subdued folk into rock. It was followed up with ‘My Perfect Sunday’, where Jordan played out the song with a big electric guitar solo.
The band then took the opportunity to announce, that after 11 years, their debut album was finished. That Winterbourne may have started with James and Jordan just making up cool sounding song titles, but it had now evolved into something more. ‘Too Many’ was next, the first song they recorded for the upcoming album and definitely amps up their once folksy appeal.
For contrast, ‘Sunrise' was the oldest track they played. Jordan described how he was originally the singer of the band, but after hearing James play ‘Sunrise’ for the first time and having a small cry, he humbly handed over the reins. After all, he isn’t bitter, he joked; he did write one chord for the song.
‘To Get To Know You’ off the second EP, has a real Franz Ferdinand funk vibe flowing through it. I think it is that bass line running behind the chorus. On the night, it was memorable because of a Guitar vs. Electric cello battle taking place towards the end of the song.
The supporting band members then left the stage, leaving James and Jordan to “sit down for this one”. ‘Puzzle’ is set to feature on the upcoming record, and boy, does it have a juicy back story. A tale of Jordan’s woe, as told by James and paraphrased by me.
Imagine you fall in love with a Byron Bay girl in high school. Problem is, she already has a boyfriend. But, you stick it out and eventually win her over, she dumps her now ex-boyfriend and you get together.
Maybe you write a song about it, and it appears on your first EP.
Tough times happen, as they do for all relationships, and you have to work hard to get through it. So, you maybe write a song about that too, and it ends up on your second EP. Unfortunately, it doesn’t work out and you break up.
Then you hear she got back together with that ex-boyfriend from high school. So you if you were to write a song about that, that song would be ‘Puzzles’.
The performance of the song was stripped back, with only a piano, and both band members providing some sombre vocals. This is a straight up heartbreak song.
Then things got real different. Having killed the rock and roll vibe pretty well with the downer that is a far too relatable relationship story, Jordan and James asked if they could do an acoustic track. Next thing, they’ve jumped down off the stage with an acoustic guitar and have walked out to the middle of the crowd. There, they played a one off track they wrote while busking, that won’t appear on any album and didn’t appear on any setlist. Something truly unique.
‘Steady My Bones’ saw the rise of the mandolin, something we had been waiting all evening for. As we were told there “wouldn’t be an encore”, ‘Take the Golden’ was the big finish, featuring more electric cello shenanigans and Jordan’s guitar solos.
Oh, and then there was the encore, ‘Leaves’. This is why I have trust issues.
The goal of the evening for Winterbourne was to take their tracks and energise them. Give them that little bit more oomph live. And it worked.
It sounded cool, their stage presence was cool and the banter was cool. It was entertaining and fun. It was rock and roll.
If you missed it, Winterbourne will be back touring soon. Expect dates sometime later this year. Their 12 track debut record, Echo of Youth, is out on August 23rd.
Check out the Winterbourne gallery here