14 February 2013 (gig)
17 February 2013
It may have been a punk gig but the XOYO club was liberally decorated with pretty, romantic red and white balloons, which with streamers hanging down from the ceiling, it felt a like being encased in a stick of rock.
First up were the curiously named The Vestals, who were a little out of place on this bill with their indie/pop songs. Hampered by mic problems from the off, the band never really got to grips with the situation. Polite stuff but if they decide to go in the direction that Songs that Don’t Exist indicates, there may be something worth keeping an eye on.
So onto Turbogiest, who came on and ripped the place up. Opening with the speedy Alien Girl, the band threw themselves into the gig and were as tight as any can ever be – and that’s with a stand in guitarist. They play punk with more than a hint of metal so the sound is fatter than your usual gobby band. That was most obvious on a hyper Mermaid’s Revenge. Also in their favour was the sheer level of musicianship on display. The rhythm section imaginatively underpinning the two guitars while Jimmy Jagger can actually sing. They played at pretty much 100mph for their allotted time but they showed that they can mix it up with the aforementioned flecks of metal and elements of psych too. That the crowd didn’t totally warm to them was a bit of a mystery thought they will have converted some.
Despite the efforts of Turbogeist, it was Pure Love that people were here to see. Already a well established live act, they now have a debut album to perform. Frank Carter’s post Gallows outfit may be more melodic proposition but there’s no let up in gig energy levels, with both guitarist Jim Carroll and Carter crowd surfing at almost every opportunity. A slight detraction were the constant we-are-all-in-this-together/ brothers-and-sisters-in arms statements which while sincere somewhat rendered pointless, when the entire band decamped to the pit, thus excluding 90% of the crowd from their performance.
While some harbour doubts about the musical direction that Pure Love are going, on stage they were white hot. That, coupled with uncompromising support from Turbogeist, made a Valentine’s Day that not many will forget.