Thekla – February 19th | Photo: Patti Aberhart
Surrounded by the usual dimly lit blanket of light which fills the delightful ‘doom chamber’ which is Thekla, there is a familiar Friday night buzz in the air. The thirsty crowd make their presence known – despite expectations – they’re not all one trendy stereotype and under the age of twenty. All ages and characters are splayed out and waiting eager with bated breath, awaiting a stab or two from Mancunian band - PINS.
Introducing themselves onto the stage over a pool of thrashing guitar derived reverb and a crash of cymbals building anticipation, they take their designated places. As lead singer Faith Holgate struts up to the mic, there is a fire and hunger in her eyes; she casually and coolly dips into first number ‘Molly’ taken from their second album Wild Nights.
“Wild nights with Molly, she’s got a hold on me…” Holgate spits with a steady gaze complemented by a simple sliding guitar lead and repetitive bar chord structure to glue it all together, vocals in unison are harmonised to add new texture and depth.
After a short introduction, as their set progresses, the energy in the room lifts, putting worries about feedback issues aside and a few awkward fumbling starts, they seemed to have relaxed a little, letting their guard down, kicking the air and lifting up their instruments in between well timed pauses.
Having declared themselves as fans of Courtney Love’s HOLE, My Bloody Valentine and The Jesus and Mary Chain, their influences are somewhat darker than the light hearted pop rock melodies heard in single ‘Young Girls’ – riffs that are indeed catchy, but I must admit that at this point there leaves a lot to be desired.
To my surprise, there is a shift, a taste of grit and a turn of the tide, as they introduce newer number, ‘Trouble.’ Not yet to be released, it’s a diamond in the rough, a fantastic slap of sleazy bouncing bass thanks to Anna Donigan and steady strong beat working in favour with Holgate’s newly found gravel tone vocal.
As Faith approaches closer to the edge of the stage, eyeing the audience and nailing them to a standstill, her presence is hypnotic and piercing, “I want you down, on your knees (you knew I was trouble)” she growls, almost through gritted teeth. It’s at this point, the atmosphere tranforms – the already dark depths of the Thekla growing darker still.
The group are steering onto more mature grounds and knocking knees with the likes of Iggy pop and Joan Jett, “You can call me anything that you please… but don’t call me sweetheart…” she hisses, whilst turning her back and leaving the audience to catch their breath.
“Are there any girls in the audience?” Holbrook exclaims. Naturally, the women in the crowd push their way to the front… “This one is for you, it’s called ‘Girls Like Us’…” she points to one of the girls in the audience who laughs with excitement and disbelief. Adrenaline fills the air as Holbrook takes regular breaks to join Sophie Galpin on drums and they take it in turns to give the cymbals a good bashing. The crowd is getting rowdy and a few of us have to take a step back in order not to get savaged.
‘Oh Lord’ another track taken from the latest LP, allegedly one of the best “dancing tracks” kicks in enthusiastically and reassuringly as guitarist Lois Macdonald jumps to the front and sways her head back and forth, wide eyed and menacing. They scream in unison “OH LORD!” every time provoking a head bash and screech from the audience. Their set comes to an end with a much loved cover from The Misfits ‘Hybrid Moments’ which is short and sweet and a perfect finishing to a roller-coaster ride of an evening.
PINS will be causing riot in a town near you, or even a country near you. Catch them now on their impressive UK, European & US tour dates where they will joining The Subways throughout April.
Check out ‘Young Girls’ right here: