In hindsight it’s rather a shame I didn’t take my camera to the Pure Reason Revolution gig last night since it dawns on me that my first attempt at gig photography was at one of their shows, when I broke in my 50mm f/1.4 lens. Since I just purchased a new EOS 7D body, this would have been a fitting opportunity to try it out. Instead, you’ll see its results shortly when I head to the States.
On to the gig itself. I knew Jon and Ian would be there, and — adopting a high vantage point — managed to scout them out along with Philly J. They missed an eclectic couple of support acts. The newly formed Clean Bandit are a bizarre fusion of string quartet, electronica DJ and drummer, fronted by a hip-hop MC. And yet it works in an incredibly fun way, with a vibrant vitality on stage. Mozart’s House is a perfect showcase, with the title alone epitomising their genre-defying sound. I can’t wait for them to record more.
Next up were Losers, a three-piece sporting the increasingly common female drummer option. Rather than blending styles, Losers seemed slightly schizophrenic, channelling in turns like ambient Nine Inch Nails and The Prodigy. Also, electric guitar played with a bow. The final support were Welsh act The Last Republic. Though the most accomplished (by which I mean they’ve actually recorded an album) they were least interesting offering. They produced a decent rock sound, and conceiving a high pitched wail by singing into guitar pickups through a megaphone is undoubtedly novel. But novelty does not necessarily imply a successful result.
Pure Reason Revolution’s set was largely a mixture of their second album and their recent release Hammer and Anvil. Their slightly rockier third release hasn’t really grabbed me yet, though many tracks work better live. On the other hand I’m hesitant to rule it out so swiftly, since Amor Vincit Omnia took a while to grow on me. We agreed, however, the night was fully redeemed by an encore of old songs from their early releases. And, of course, thanks to Clean Bandit there was a string quartet on hand. That rendition of Bullitts Dominae will now be tough to beat. And apparently for pre-ordering at the gig, my name will appear on the sleeve of the live DVD they recorded. Which is a nice touch.
Incidentally the bouncers on the door were evidently pro-student protest. For my part I’m impressed by their tech savvy use of Google Maps to outmanoeuvre the police and evade initial attempts to “kettle” protesters. It seems the tools available to both sides are ever-improving.