Al Bairre [pronounced Al Bear] is a five-piece symphonic indie-rock band based in the Mother City. They describe themselves as‘aggressively unfancy’ with ‘nice hair’ who like ‘ugly things’. Unconventional and quirky, they are bursting with passion and talent.
Combining the unique sounds of violins, guitars, ukulele, cello and drums has turned a simple indie-rock band into an ‘ice cream of orchestral sounds’.
The members mixing the flavours are Kyle Davis (Guitar, Percussion, Bass Guitar), Tom Kotze (Drums, Bass Guitar), Nick Preen (Guitar, Bass Guitar, Percussion, Vocals) and the identical twins Tessa (Cello, Keys, Melodica, Percussion, Vocals, Bass Guitar) and Julia Johnson (Ukelele, Violin, Keys, Vocals, Melodica, Percussion). They draw inspiration from bands like Vampire Weekend, Arcade Fire, Edward Sharpe &The Magnetic Zeroes and Ra Ra Riot.
Al Bairre’s use of eccentric and somewhat archaic instruments creates a new sound to which everyone can jam. Although every instrument has an exceptional sound, Al Bairre has managed to find a balance in which the cacophony fuses together in buoyantmusical art.
How this band came by their name is a rather morbid tale. Tessa was late for a gig and in her hurry accidently drove over a dog. When she stopped to check if the dog was okay, it was already too late. His collar tag bore the name ‘Al Bairre’. In that sense, they may just be a tribute band.
Since launching in early 2012, they have left a trail of pulsating fans in their wake, all captivated by the catchy, atypical beat. Their self-recorded EP When I Was Tall was also released in 2012.
Al Bairre has since performed numerous shows alongside other local trailblazers like Shadowclub, The Plastics, Dear Reader and Fokofpolisiekar. They recently shared the stage at Cloof Wine Estate’s music mecca – Rocking the Daisies – with international acts such as Alt-J and The Hives.
Shattering the stereotypes of indie-rock bands to create a new brand, Al Bairre is slowly rising above the masses. Just having the twins means kicking the ‘all male’ stereotype to the curb, as does their refusal to only wear skinny jeans and decision to stray from the ‘four-piece rock outfit’.
Their success at both small, local gigs and huge music festivals like Synergy Live Music Festival, Flamjangled Tea Party, OppiKoppi and now Rocking the Daisies shows a promising future for this orchestral band.