One of their first gigs together in quite some time, you’d never be able to tell as The Barr Brothers‘ performance last Wednesday at Mercury Lounge was impeccable. Layered guitar textures, glistening harp interludes and heart-pounding percussion encompassed their breathtaking 45-minute set.
The four-piece, made up of brothers Brad and Andrew Barr on vocals/guitar and percussion, classically trained harpist Sarah Page, and multi-instrumentalist Andres Vial, formed in Montreal. A rather serendipitous occurrence, while Brad was working on music at his first apartment in Montreal, Page’s melodies would seep into his adjoining wall, influencing the music he was writing. A friendship ensued and they began recording and performing together around Montreal.
Wednesday night showcased many of the tracks off their self-titled LP, as well as a few unreleased tracks. Compared to The Avett Brothers and Blitzen Trapper, the band impressed. Shortly after 7 p.m., The Barr Brothers took the stage as Page’s transcendent harp interlude filled the room. The band soon joined in, creating an atmospheric mood with delicate percussion and guitar features before Brad’s soothing vocals entered for “Beggar In the Morning.”
The beautiful “Old Mythologies” followed suit with intricate guitar finger picking, wavering harmonica and hand-clapped rhythms before stand-out number, “Lord, I Just Can’t Keep From Crying” was played. A heavier sound than previously heard, the faster paced track impressed with jaw-dropping electric guitar parts and a steady drum build up. An evident crowd favorite, the room erupted in applause once the song was finished.
After performing tracks off their upcoming release, which drops Sept. 27th, the band debuted a few new songs. “You’ll just have to wait about a year if you like the last two songs. They’re not on this record,” Brad joked.
The remainder of The Barr Brothers’ set included Brad and Page riffing off each other on guitar and harp as the packed room danced along before they ended the night in the middle of the stage on acoustic guitars.
For more on The Barr Brothers, visit their Web site. Watch their performance of “Beggar In the Morning” below. If you like what you hear, be sure to pick up a copy of their debut release September 27.