Standing outside the Masonic Tavern on Saturday afternoon, the distinctive hum of a harmonica fills the seaside air. It's fast, rollicking melody is irresistable and we are lured upstairs to discover the fresh young talent of The Earlybirds.
Listening to the band's catchy brand of indie pop rock, you're instantly reminded of British chart toppers, The Kooks. The band's confident and polished performance belies the boys' youth and it's hard to believe they are virtual unknowns.
Getting rock fans up and dancing is a hard ask at any time - but at 3.30 in the afternoon it's nigh on impossible. Yet with a simple flick of his hair, frontman Filip Kostovich has the crowd swinging, unable to resist the pure energy of tracks like Valerie and Truly Suzie. Even the oldies at the back can't help but tap their feet to the addictive melodies.
Following on from The Earlybirds impressive set, The Coshercot Honeys took the reins and continued in the same direction. The band's explosive, psychedelic rock added an intensity to the afternoon that The Earlybirds lacked. Reminiscent of pop-rock genius Franz Ferdinand, the band lull listeners with their soft, slightly melancholic sounds, before building to a rabid, fast and dirty rock `n' roll climax. Sometime pop, sometime frenzied rock, the bass-free quintet has a distinctive sound with mass appeal. Definitely one to watch.
Finally, rounding off the afternoon White Birds and Lemons delivered yet another haunting set of infectious blues-ridden rock. Frontman Scott Frantz's licorice-like vocals are simply bewitching and the entire outfit enchants listeners with their raw, psychedelic sound.
Unfortunately, a prior engagement saw us leave the Masonic before the end of the White Birds' set, but we saw enough to know we'll be back again soon.
We came expecting little. We left with three new favourite bands. Not bad for a quiet afternoon on the Shore.
* White Birds and Lemons play with Motocade and Pluto this Saturday, December 23, at the Schooner Tavern on Quay St, Auckland.
Who: The Earlybirds, The Coshercot Honeys & White Birds & Lemons
When: Saturday, December 16
Where: Masonic Tavern, Devonport