It can, and certainly has happened, that following a truly exceptional and brilliant gig the next one can feel like something of a damp squib in comparison. However, after that extraordinary gig by Starcrawler at Bedfords Crypt I had no such concerns for this one as I knew all three bands would deliver. This was to be my third time seeing PINS, who have rapidly become one of my favourite bands, and likewise with Yassassin whom I first saw supporting PINS themselves at Norwich Arts Centre. In fact speaking to Raissa afterwards it turns out Yassassin have shared a billing with Starcrawler. We were lucky enough to have a third act on the bill of energising and inspiring post-punk, our city’s current hottest property, the brilliant Sink Ya Teeth, whose second single Glass is getting even more national attention and airplay than the first. Of course I have seen them many times from their very first gig at the Murderers a couple of years ago for Odd Box and they continue to grow and develop all the time
My headspace still feels half French after my recent visit and so it was good to feel the familiar grounding of great, loud, live music. It was Gemma and Maria who opened proceedings at around about 8pm. Their songs sounding strong and powerful and I think I detected an increased confidence about them, completely unfazed by a couple of minor technical issues too. They sounded absolutely fantastic and I was glad to catch their “last Norwich date for a while”. I’m not quite sure what that means but am choosing to interpret it as a period of writing and recording new material. Needless to say, they went down a storm, their mix of bass, electro and percussion sounding amazing.
So too did the irrepressible Yassassin. Their third Norwich appearance and I am pleased to say that I have been at all of them. Their enthusiasm and boundless energy is so infectious but they have absolutely great songs too. I’m not sure I’ve ever seen such an energetic band before, they get totally lost in the music and it is superb to witness. There’s a punk spirit, power and attitude that is so refreshing, as is their joy of making music, they believe passionately in what they do. The recent EP Vitamin Y is a must-have. Mine arrived in the post as a pre-order vinyl recently.
A few days ago the latest PINS release arrived in the post too and the vinyl is already sold out. Serve the Rich, based around the recent anti-austerity protests in Manchester. The first half of the set featured several newer songs which sound as strong as anything else in the set. So much so that there was not even any place for the likes of former set favourites Molly and Dead Souls. PINS sound bigger than ever, slightly more electro and even better for it. They also have that indefinable quality of specialness. Powerful and visceral while being slick and tight at the same time, it’s a great combination. The Norwich audience was a tad shy at first but got going once Faith invited a couple of dancers closer and climbed down to join them. PINS performances are always compelling and they seemed to be having a great time onstage, their traditional gathering of invited audience dancers joining onstage for Young Girls at the end was celebratory and glorious (and one was wearing a GRACELAND t-shirt) but at times PINS were also in the audience too. They have a superb connection with their fans, their new choreographed poses quickly adopted by the crowd was effective and quite a powerful spectacle. It was good to see a much higher ratio of girls in the audience this time too (all tonight’s artists were female) but I still would have preferred the gig to have been at more inviting and homely Norwich Arts Centre. The visible stepladders and clutter at the side of the Studio stage is not a good look – all it takes is a curtain but that’s just a quibble. That said, it was still a very fine gig, all three acts playing brilliantly and with great energy.
It’s also so good to share seeing groups with an audience for whom the bands mean so much.PINS are definitely one of these and seem to grow bigger and better each time I see them but I think that applied to all the bands tonight, they all seem on a steep upwards trajectory and it isn’t difficult to imagine any of them really breaking through to the recognition and success they all deserve. If there is any justice in the music world…
all rights reserved (c) shashamane 2017