Pernice Brothers

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Concert Review by F Piralla

The Borderline, London – 14 August 2003

Once I saw the Pernice Brothers playing at The Borderline I knew the whole evening was going to be rather special and the energy that Joe Pernice and co. irradiated from the small stage of The Borderline was sincere and originated from the sheer determination of having a good time.

Consider this: during its 14 years of life The Borderline has been host to bands such as Oasis, Pearl Jam, REM, Blur, Pulp, PJ Harvey, Lenny Kravitz and many more, when fame for them was still a mere dream. Anyone who thinks that in a couple of years time the Pernice Brothers will follow the same fate and sell out a big arena tour, think again. They have no intention of doing so. They like to keep it “about the music” and personal so their audiences are no larger than a few hundreds people. The evening is sold out which means there are about 250 people in here and Joe Pernice sings to us, talks to us and tells us anecdotes about Sammy Davies Junior.

There’s a fine line between behaving like a rock star and being a rock star, and the Pernice Brothers are definitely the latter. They don’t play like their life depends on it. It’s true their music is not exactly heavy metal but they rock nonetheless. They seem to enjoy every note and the passion and determination they put in it reflects on the audience. At some point someone shouts “We love you Joe” and he replies “I love you too” and we like to think that he means it. Not being a mainstream rock band helps to build up that special relationship with the fans, which makes playing and listening all the more enjoyable.

At the end of their set they say their goodbyes and proceed to leave the stage but the crowd wants more and they get it with three extra older songs. They clearly don’t need to rehearse; they can simply play. These are musicians.