Archive for May, 2009

Gig Review: The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart @ Chorlton Irish Club, 22nd May 2009

We weren’t in the best of moods when we arrived at Chorlton Irish Club last night thanks to a wrong postcode on Ticketline and vague directions from a local which meant that we spent about half an hour driving through the unfamiliar streets of the South Manchester suburb trying to find the place. It also didn’t help that, from the front, the Irish Club looks small and unassuming. Go round the back, however, and the place is huge with a large car park overlooked by usual hordes of smokers and a long line of punters queuing to get in.

After a long wait at a crowded and understaffed bar (which left me pondering why the hell no one in this country even attempts to achieve the incredible speed and standard of service available in just about every bar in Dublin) we settled down, still slightly disgruntled, to watch Dutch Uncles who, under the circumstances, were like a breath of fresh air, their precision math-rock guitar parts tempered by some wonderfully efficient pop tunes and slightly odd dance moves from the lead singer.

San Francisco’s Love Like Fire were up next and, though they had some nice pop tunes under all that fuzzy guitar, they were slightly disappointing. There’s so much of this type of shoegazey dreampop out there at the moment and Love Like Fire didn’t have anything to set them apart from the crowd.

We first saw The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart supporting The Wedding Present at the Academy 2 late last year and were impressed enough to buy a copy of their excellent debut album there and then. They’ve gained a guitarist since then to thicken their sound (it worked a treat) and to make them appear less geeky (did not work so well) and it was a given that their brand of C86-era fuzzy indie pop would go down well in Manchester but, on the 50th birthday of the man whose band kick-started that era, no one could have predicted what happened next.

The opening song saw one punter barge his way to the front and start dancing like a lunatic while those of us around him stood just far enough out of reach of his flailing limbs. The band sounded immaculate and when “This Love Is Fucking Right” followed the place just went nuts and it seemed like everyone else in the packed venue had followed that one guy’s lead. The next forty minutes or so were a total frenzy of sweat, beer, crowdsurfing and small girls, Justhipper included, spilling over the monitors at the front of the stage as the crowd surged in all directions. It helped that the band front-loaded their set with the choicest, poppiest cuts from their album with the brilliant single “Young Adult Friction” following on from “Fucking Right” and then being followed by “Come Saturday”. The band were genuinely taken aback by the reaction of the crowd, that they weren’t just wrecking havoc for the sake of it: they knew the songs and were singing along.  Singer Kip frequently commented that this was the “best night ever”, and it would be hard for anyone there to disagree with them. It’s been a long time since I’ve been in a moshpit of that ferocity and I’d forgotten how much fun it could be as the shoe of a crowdsurfer came down on the back of my head and another pint of beer drenched the back of my t-shirt. I’d mostly forgotten the great sense of communal joy that can rise up from these events.

Something happened in Chorlton last night; something special. Band and audience came together to produce something much greater than the sum of its parts, to create a rare event that came out of the blue and that no one who witnessed will forget for a very long time.

The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart – This Love Is Fucking Right!

The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart – Everything With You

Posted by The Ledge on 23rd May 2009 at 8:24 pm | comments (6)
File under Gig Reviews,manchester gigs,mp3,Reviews.