Stripped-back performances and adorable avoidance.
In case you weren’t aware, every Monday last month (February 2016) was very special. This is because one of our favourite acts, Birch, have been running the Birch Living Room Sessions on their YouTube channel. So every Monday, a new stripped-back performance of a song would go live and the band would be talking to fans in the comments section for an hour.
In light of five Mondays of goodness, we’ve put together five reasons why the Living Room Sessions made us love Birch (more).
1. This amazing cover of Tegan & Sarah
It’s an amazing cover in its own right, made all the better by the comments section which consists of awkward Valentines Day stories. Plus the fact that, falling straight after Valentines itself, the song is a great anti-Valentines Day track.
2. The adorable awkward avoidances
Hey, we all know standing in front of a camera is a bit of an awkward experience. But it’s still adorably hilarious to watch the whole series of Living Room sessions and watch every band member try to avoid making eye contact with the camera itself. It becomes a bit of a fun game unto itself: see which one cracks first.
So far: no one.
3. Michelle Birsky
When fronting a band, you’re expected to command attention – even in spite of the bashful avoidance of eye-to-camera contact. Michelle works the camera well, unconsciously, and portrays the very image of artistic integrity and emotion. She’s deep into every track, but then again so are the other band members. Everybody is intensely into the performance.
So why Michelle in particular? Well two reasons really: one being her unusual ability to focus cameras by moving her hair out of her face, and the other being her wrist tattoo. An eternity symbol, which is exactly how long we’d like each of these sessions to go on for.
4. The amazing new song
So it’s not unusual for bands to deliver stripped-back performances of tracks they’ve already released (such as Carolyn). But Birch took it one step beyond and debuted new song Smiling At Devils during their Living Room sessions. It’s an unusual tact, particularly for an emerging artist, because it requires flawless execution to make the best first impression. Particularly on the internet, first impressions matter. A lot.
Fortunately, Birch deliver the best first impression a song could ask for. And the vocal performance is second to none, finding Michelle in a higher register than in other songs. Refreshing, powerful, and a strong sign of things to come.
5. The intimacy
It’s not every day that you’re able to watch a band killing it in their own living room, so there’s a special sense of intimacy in Birch’s sessions. Their songs seem to resonate with a rich tapestry of emotion, always teetering on the confident side of vulnerability, so to bare witness to the performances in an intimate and soothing environment elevates them to a whole new level.
You can view all of the sessions on Birch’s Living Room Sessions YouTube playlist.