I must admit that any local band/artist based out of Manchester or the surrounding areas, I have a tendency to be drawn to (I’m actually from Salford if we are getting technical). Supporting local talent and home-grown artists is something I enjoy doing. If they have the chops and are bringing something fresh and exciting to the table for the city’s music scene, that can only be a good thing, and I will be there supporting! You only have to look at our past for some of the music that has made its way from the north to the nation. From Wigan Pier and Northern Soul, to the 90’s and the Madchester music scene, the north has a rich history that can be looked back upon and referenced in many a music conversation.
I will however make it clear that carbon copies of yesteryear’s and days gone by only serve to reflect on the past; not set any kind of benchmark or cover any new ground (Yes Mr Fray – I’m looking at you). That’s why I love it when new bands bring different sounds to the city. Yes, they may have been influenced by a range of artists and musicians alike, but what I admire most is that they are willing to buck the stereotype that is closely associated with the scene. Bands that are not happy with being categorized with what is so prominent and synonymous with the city and its culture.
You just have to look at some of the artists that have come out of the North West recently over the years – not hard to admire the variety on offer. Cabbage, Spring King, Wedding, The Blinders, Shaking Chains, Peaness, Pines, Her’s, Trudy & the Romance – big up t’north!
This epic, slightly biased introduction brings me nicely on to PINS. Ever since witnessing these guys play 3 years ago in Salford Cathedral Church at Sounds From The Other City, something told me to keep an eye on them.
Based out of Manchester (hence the high praise to the north!) but originating from all over the UK, from Wigan to Northampton (I was given the geography lesson from guitarist Lois after the gig), PINS have made a steady rise over the years and have comfortably become a solid act in that time. Championed by the likes Iggy Pop and Josh Homme, it’s clear to see that they have the rock and roll chops to be up there with the best.
However, the bright lights (or should that be dark desert) hasn’t gone to their heads too much. The sober setting of Salford’s White Hotel is tonight’s venue, and it couldn’t be more perfect for the evening’s entertainment. If PINS are the type of band who thrive off the old school heavyweights of music, then tonight’s venue has the hallmarks of the old days of grunge, rock and dirty nights out. It’s a perfect match for a good old Saturday night gig.
The gig started at a frenzied pace. Opening with their stunning single ‘Aggrophobe’, recorded with the master of mayhem Iggy Pop, the gig starts with an almighty bang. Following up with little chat, the first 3 songs are played back to back at breakneck speed. Just from the off, looking at the stage and seeing the comradery between the ladies, you can tell they just love being in this band. They love playing music. And they love entertaining. Another worthy shout out is song ‘Trouble’, that wouldn’t look out of place during the ‘Humbug’ days of the Arctic Monkeys, which is a previous record store day release (tonight’s gig falls on Record Store Day 2017).
A little nod to the north with a cover of Joy Division’s ‘Dead Souls’ gets an outing, and it’s really rather good. Lead singer Faith Holgate, channelling her inner Karen-O/Debbie Harry, encourages the women to push their way to the front for the best seats in the house. By the end of the gig, all hell breaks loose and all are invited to dance away the last song on stage – which pretty much everyone does!
If the band hasn’t reached its peak (which will come no doubt) and the songs haven’t ventured too far out of their comfort zone, they certainly make up for it in raw energy. I feel when watching PINS that they have something in the locker and maybe they haven’t quite grasped it yet. They are a very enjoyable act live and personally I was more than happy with the performance. Comparisons to Yeah Yeah Yeahs is obvious, but these girls deserve more recognition and I feel that they can more than achieve that. I think realising their potential is key to PINS success. Or maybe I’m just a sucker for local talent!?