PINS + YELLOW BRAIN + NATURE TV – THE HOPE & RUIN, BRIGHTON 20.02.20
PINS were last in Brighton on 4th November 2017 at The Haunt when they were a quintet and we reviewed their concert – read it HERE. They were returning to Brighton this evening courtesy of Melting Vinyl concert promoters.
PINS are a bold post-punk trio who formed in Manchester in 2011. They have slimmed down their personnel since I last saw them and instead of being a five-piece all girl outfit, they are now a trio consisting of Faith Vern, Lois Macdonald and Kyoko Swann. They channel 60’s girl group surf harmonies and post-punk garage their music has drawn comparisons to The Flatmates, The Darling Buds and Siouxsie Sioux.
Their quick selling first release, ‘Eleventh Hour/AA. Shoot You’ on their D.I.Y label Haus of PINS marked auspicious beginnings for the band. This was quickly followed by a gig with ‘Savages’ which brought them to the attention of Brighton’s very own indie record label Bella Union, who released PINS ‘Luvu4lyf’ EP on 10” glitter vinyl to correspond with their first UK tour later that year.
Their UK and European tour for their vibrant debut album ‘Girls Like Us’ in 2013 included support dates with The Dum Dum Girls and The Fall. Their second album ‘Wild Nights’, a pop-injected grunge paean, was released in 2017 to wide acclaim, receiving extensive radio play including BBC Radio 6 live sessions with Marc Riley and Lauren Laverne.
2017 saw the release of limited edition 5-track EP ‘Bad Thing’ which featured the vocal collaboration of luminary Iggy Pop on the track ‘Aggrophobe’ – Both the EP and ‘Aggrophobe’ were released by Haus of PINS as limited edition vinyl. ‘Serve The Rich’ single followed with it’s cheeky sleeve cover.
This evening, as expected, The Hope & Ruin is rammed full of eager punters. The trio take to the stage with the addition of a drummer and work their way through their enjoyable thirteen tune set.
First up is their latest release ‘Hot Slick’ which sets the tone rather nicely. After a short while, they perform their other newie ‘Bad Girls Forever’. Their sound is at times most certainly filled with 60’s surf guitar, (especially on ‘Molly’) but not in a dated way. I particularly like the use of the Korg synth and the tiny Roland SP-404A. The keys on the track ‘After Hours’ are most enjoyable. Mind you it’s not all keys, as the basswork on the powerful tune ‘Ghosting’ is rather impressive and I can’t take my eyes off the instrument as it is plucked. The guitar and drums make the whole package nicely rounded.
Just after half way through their set, they perform my fave PINS track, namely ‘All Hail’, and a jolly good rendition of it is too. The crowd were well up for it this evening, especially on penultimate number ‘Bad Habit’ where they did the arm dance, which is “raise your arm up high above your head and then raise your arm outstretched by your side”.
They ended with ‘Girls Like Us’ and the girls in the audience were invited up on stage to dance with them. I was right up the front, but was not personally invited to step up as I didn’t fit the bill.
It was an enjoyable experience this evening, but I honestly felt that there was more ‘oomph’ on my first PINS encounter back in 2017. It just seemed to have more of a buzz.
PINS setlist reads:
‘Bad Girls Forever’
‘Serve The Rich’
‘Read My Lips’
‘Girls Like Us’
Further details on PINS can be located on their official website – www.wearepins.co.uk
There were two support acts this evening, first up were Brighton based quartet Nature TV. The band consists of Guy, Josh, Zal and Solo and they have adopted the usual vocals and guitar, with bass, guitar and drums format. There is no sign of David Attenborough though.
They begin the evening with their jangly guitar sound, which is coupled with good vocals. It’s relatively mellow middle-of-the-road slightly blues stuff really, you know, Level 42, Crowded House, James Blunt etc. So they were more Galapagos Marine Iguana than Komodo Dragon for me.
Learn more about Nature TV at www.naturetv.co.uk
Next up were Yellow Brain from Manchester. Now these guys were much more to my liking! In fact, I really loved what Matt Burgess, Patrick Neville, Billy Jack Owen and Johnny James are trying to achieve.
I do believe that Yellow Brain are a new creation that last month morphed out of the Afghan Sand Gang trio by adding Johnny James to the fold. I am saddened to learn this as it turns out that I missed them performing with White Room and Strange Cages on 2nd February 2019 at The Haunt, and yet I had witnessed and enjoyed White Room’s previous Brighton gig at Patterns on 15th March 2018.
Tonight the four guys were standing all in a line at the front of the stage as there was no drummer. Their electronic equipment was bang on the money. They were using a Roland Gaia, a lovely mini Korg with Roland TR-8 mini keys, bass and guitar. Thus creating a very retro synth sound akin to the last knockings of the 1970’s and the start of the 1980’s. In fact they have that early 80’s sound that back in the day would have seen bands signed to Rough Trade or Factory Records.
All of their set was great! The intro on the third tune was awesome as was it on track four, which had a nice chugging beat. There were dual vocals going on and at times could easily be likened to The Cure. Their final number with its banging beat was their most perfect tune. There needs to be more bands around like Yellow Brain these days. I would most certainly love to see them play live again and would even be as sold bold to clearly state that they were (controversially) my favourite band of the night!
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