Wednesday, 25 August 2010

The Pains of Being Pure at Heart @ Heaven, 29th July 2010

Wow this is late! I've had this review finished for ages, only realised just now that I hadn't posted it! I was doing music reviews for The Music Vent, but that's kind of died down so my music reviews will be back on here for a while, until I find a new home for them.

Anyways, hope you like it, comment if you feel like it and there's more where this came from!

The Pains of Being Pure at Heart with support from Yuck

I’d heard good things about the venue Heaven in ‘gig mode’, in fact only one of my friends didn’t really like it. The main concert area is a long, high-ceiling-ed hall underneath the bridge arches, with the stage at one end and a small bar at the other. There’s an equally long but thinner area running adjacent to the hall, with a longer bar and cloakroom facilites, with about four or five entrance ways between the two areas. A venue with such a layout would perhaps suffer from poor acoustics, but I was pleasantly surprised at how fantastic the sound was, despite the two bands playing having slightly unconventional acoustic arrangements.

We arrive just as support act ‘Yuck’ have played their first song or two, and we quickly take a liking to them. Considering they only have a basic band setup of drums, bass and two guitarists, they’re making a thunderous, astonishing amount of noise. Favouring the feedback-heavy, distorted sound of My Bloody Valentine, Yuck steer the songs from collapsing under the noise by imbuing them with sweet male & female melodies.

Reminiscent of the British fuzz-box pop bands of the C-86 era, this four piece are set for big things, appearing confident on stage but still looking like they’re enjoying themselves. At the end of their set, they prop their guitars up against their amps and leave the stage, leaving ear-splitting feedback ringing out across the venue until a roadie comes out and switches the amps off. A wonderfully brash and nonplussed end to their set. I definitely want to see these guys again!

I last saw The Pains of Being Pure at Heart at last years Dot-to-Dot Bristol Festival, they were pretty much my band of 2009 and I was especially blown away by their first UK show at The Lexington (also last year). At that gig, they had no idea of their popularity in this country, so they were rather taken aback when they were greeted with such rapturous applause and sing-a-longs! We even made them play two encores before frontman Kip announced “I’m sorry, we don’t have any more songs!”

They take the stage to enthusiastic response from the huge crowd, still looking as nervous as if this were their first gig! They break into ‘This Love is Fucking Right!’, and we all start to sing and bop along. New single ‘Say No To Love’, album track ‘A Teenager in Love’, my personal favourite ‘Stay Alive’ and EP title track ‘Higher Than The Stars’ all go down well from the rapt, ecstatic crowd, and its obvious that the band are enjoying themselves - sweet, nervous smiles spread across their faces, like they can’t quite believe the response they’re getting. In between songs, someone shouts out ‘I love you!’ to keyboard/ vocalist Peggy to which she giggles and nervously replies, “I love you, too.” Adorable.

The band are currently in the middle of recording the follow up to their debut album, and we’re treated to a couple of new songs, which shimmer and hook you in from the start. Despite the crowd not knowing the words, we feel as if we already know the songs, the familiar boy-girl vocals of Kip and Peggy carrying catchy, sweet melodies over the fuzzy guitars and beautiful keyboard lines.

They end their set on their self titled song, ‘The Pains of Being Pure at Heart’, a track from their now out of print EP, a welcome surprise, being that I don’t recall them playing it the other times I’d seen them live, with the crowd lapping it up happily. They return for a two song encore including more new tracks, the band obviously very pleased with the reaction the other new material received.

Their set overall did feel a little short, (they easily have enough material to put on a good long show), however the venue had an early cut-off time for the show, something crazy like 10:15pm! Apparently this was because after the gig Heaven was resuming usual programming with ‘Gay Porn Idol’, hence the early finish time. A shame, but not enough to take away the sweet, floaty sensation that typically accompanies a Pains of Being Pure at Heart gig. Another wonderful show from an amazing band, who incredibly, are still adapting to their rocketing rise to fame.

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