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Pure Love - The Bodega, Nottingham - 12th February 2013 (Live Review)

Friday, 15 February 2013 Written by Alec Chillingworth
Pure Love - The Bodega, Nottingham - 12th February 2013 (Live Review)

Today’s turning out to be something of an odd one. After commuting from my day-job as a Dinner Lady (or Dinner Man) down to Nottingham, I interviewed Pure Love. There was chitchat about Honey Badgers and music, and then we shook hands and parted ways. Then I realised that the footage we shot had been corrupted, which, in turn, led to me and my mate trying to retrieve any decipherable audio from my prehistoric voice recorder. It took an hour and a half. So, to put it lightly, we’re a bit grumpy.

ImageFirst up is The Vestals. The Vestals are not helping my grumpy mood. Not one bit. It’s not that they’re bad; they’re just not great. Their pseudo-anxious brand of indie comes off as a little contrived and shallow for my liking. The front man switches between two stage personas throughout songs; one minute he’s the shy, emotional boy from the dark corners of your school library, next minute he’s having a bit of a fit and screaming down the microphone. It makes for somewhat uncomfortable viewing, confirmed by the audience’s polite applause. But he does say thank you. Which is nice.

Turbogeist, however, seem to have fired up all cylinders in the arse-kicking department tonight, arriving on stage with as much subtlety as an overweight elephant practising ballet. Churning out their belligerent brand of punk ’n’ roll with cocky, almost casual vigour, this band seems much more suited to the audience’s tastes. Guitarist Luis Felber’s swagger and general weirdness infects the audience with something that was lacking in The Vestals’ set – fun. Front man Jimmy Jagger prowls across the tiny stage like a man possessed, his arm cradled in a sling for reasons not entirely clear. This sense of mystique adds a slightly dangerous edge to the gig, which is exactly what you want from a rock show. The band seems genuinely pleased at the response that they’re receiving; their self-depredating stage banter makes for a thoroughly entertaining support slot.

After doing a Google search on Turbogeist and finding out their singer is, in fact, the son of Mick Jagger, I find myself surrounded by significantly more punters than before. Pure Love are set to arrive any minute. Having had just over a week for the general public to lap up the debut album ‘Anthems’, this tour is the first in which Pure Love’s fans actually know all of the songs. Rapturous applause sidles in as the band start to trickle on stage one by one, but the reaction that Frank Carter receives is obscene. Grinning like he’s just won the lottery, Mr. Carter leads his band into ‘She (Makes The Devil Run Through Me)’, head banging like a man possessed. Guitarist Jim Carroll attacks his instrument with devilish commitment, releasing grandiose solos upon the crowd with an ease unlike any I’ve seen before.

Of course, Pure Love don’t just stand there and play their songs. This is a rock and roll show. A rock and roll show put on by ex-members of notorious hardcore punk bands. As a result of this, the audience might not be getting quite what they bargained for. Instead, they get a hell of a lot more. Frank and Jim are seldom on the stage, opting instead for an endless list of crowd surfing adventures; at one point, Frank performs songs whilst standing atop the bar, demanding crowd participation. The once precautious crowd are lapping it up by this point, carrying their heroes back to the stage and singing along as if their lives depend on it. An inflatable sex doll (female. I think...) also makes a welcome appearance, unfortunately being popped before Frank has a chance to do anything overly deviant with it.

Now, even with all of this, the show would be nothing without good songs. Thankfully, Pure Love have good songs. Fantastic songs, in fact. Airing 9 of the 11 songs from their album tonight, it really is a spectacle to see the audience rallying behind this brilliant band. The reaction to ‘Bury My Bones’ is something that has to be seen to be believed; The Bodega erupts into a minefield of bodies, flailing limbs and gleeful faces being thrown around the tiny venue like sweaty rag-dolls. It’s just a massive celebration of upbeat, damn good rock music.

Pure Love really are the people’s band. Constantly thanking the audience, crew and bar staff, it’s quite obvious that Frank and his cohorts are genuinely humbled and appreciative of the support they’re receiving. There seems to be none of that ‘rock star’ business; they don’t pretend to be above anyone. This all comes to a head when drummer Jared Shavelson actually sets up his kit in the middle of the audience, proceeding to play the rest of the set from the heaving mosh pit. The rest of the band soon joins him, Frank stopping the show at one point to assess the situation. Somebody has actually managed to knock Jared from his drum kit (Well, I suppose that’s what you get for making the crowd create a circle pit around your drummer). Carter humorously quips “He’s only doing his job, bless him. You wouldn’t rugby tackle your bin man, would you?” It’s this sort of wit and charm that’ll hopefully carry Pure Love further than their previous bands. As soon as the gig’s over, Frank and Jim are straight up to the merchandise stall, signing CDs and thanking everyone for coming along. They really are lovely blokes, and they also happen to put on one of the most invigorating, unique shows out there at the moment. So buy a ticket if you know what’s good for you.

‘Anthems' was released 4th February on Mercury Records, check out Stereoboard's review here. Pure Love's headline tour continues on Monday in Brighton.

Pure Love UK & Ireland Tour Dates are as follows:

Mon February 18th 2013 - Haunt, Brighton
Tue February 19th 2013 - Joiners, Southampton
Wed February 20th 2013 - Le Pub, Newport
Thu February 21st 2013 - The Croft, Bristol
Fri February 22nd 2013 - Temple Rooms, Birmingham
Sat February 23rd 2013 - Esquires, Bedford

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