Work has been grinding me down over the last few weeks so that every task seemed to take three times longer than it ought. I needed something to reinvigorate me and, while slicing my thumb open a few days ago did not do the trick, such relief eventually came in the form of Pure Reason Revolution. I first saw the band supporting My Vitriol at KOKO last year and was instantly snared by the pop hooks underlying their progressive rock. “The Loft” is the upper floor of The Graduate, a pub on the other side of Jesus Green. The tiny venue is not particularly noteworthy, though it has impressive lighting for its size (Jon tells me this is a common trend amongst the smaller gig locations in Cambridge).
I knew Jon, Philly J, James and Ian would be coming along but they were all late so I ended up chatting to the band’s tour manager while a few rather mundane support acts performed. Our discussion meandered between films and music and in particular the experience of going alone. You are well aware that I strongly oppose the stigma attached by society to solo cinema viewing — I often go with friends but if no one else wants to see the film I’d rather see it alone than drag along uninterested people. Although I have also been to gigs alone, I much prefer company but could not place my finger on the reason for this divergent attitude. Sure, there’s the queuing and waiting which is more pleasant with conversation but more than that is that I find live music an experience to be shared. It stretches beyond music too. While I have no qualms about watching most films alone, the “experience films” like your Star Wars and your Lord of the Rings, I would want to share with others and would be less likely to see alone. Of course for movies like those there is rarely a dearth of willing accomplices.
Pure Reason Revolution took the stage around 9:30pm and produced a great set. We were positioned at the very front, literally two feet from the band. It’s odd to see a bassist take centre stage but Chloe Alper also provides vocals and fills the central position well, with a certain sensuality in the way her pursed lips envelop the microphone. She is flanked by the bands two guitarists, both performing incredibly tightly as they each seem to dance of the tray before them, boasting a spread of around a dozen pedals and switches. Their self-proclaimed perfectionism is swiftly evident. They were, sadly, sans violinist this time.
There were hints at the direction in which the band is moving, though I shall reserve judgement until the new single “Victorious Cupid” is released later this month (as a free online download accompanied by a card slipcase being given to gig attendees who want the full CD experience). Up until now they have essentially been continuously fleshing out the Cautionary Tales For The Brave EP which then grew into The Dark Third album. This received different releases in the States and in Europe so on the current tour they are selling the culmination of everything released to date in a 2-disc version of The Dark Third for a very reasonable £10. Although she admitted they were in progress, their tour manager was coy about future releases. However a scrawled notice in the entrance promised “New album coming sooner than Chinese Democracy”. For the confused it’s more of a Guns n’ Roses reference than a political statement, but also links neatly back to their support for My Vitriol last year. Either way, anything new is more than welcome.