Live Review: Pillow Queens / Teose – Voodoo Rooms, Edinburgh 12.11.2021

The 4 members of band Pillow Queens onstage
Credit: Julia Mason

Dublin’s Pillow Queens self-released their debut album In Waiting in 2020 setting up their own record label to do so. The success of the album has been phenomenal and it was a joy to hear that number 2 has already been written, recorded and is ready to release. But thats getting ahead of ourselves. Tonights sold out gig in Edinburgh had a room full of anticipation for this band.

The support band were Glasgow’s Teose, a 3-piece were who clearly delighted to be onstage supporting Pillow Queens. A trio comprising a drummer and two guitarists their sound was a combination of garage guitars, a thumping bass and a drummer who couldn’t stop smiling. Half way through their set the lead singer had to replace her guitar string but the improvisation by the other two kept the audience throughly entertained. It felt seamless and the crowd were fully appreciative. The guitars were sharp and smooth when required and the shift in pace midtrack showed a real confidence to mix up the pace. By the end of the 30 minute set the crowd were converted to Tesose.

Credit: Julia Mason

And so to Pillow Queens. There was much shuffling forward as the gig approached. The 4-piece came on to a raptuous reception from the Edinburgh crowd. This is the first time they have played in Edinburgh and it definitely won’t be the last. The set opened with ‘Holy Show‘, the opening track from In Waiting. Lead vocalist Pamela Connolly is just wonderful live, powerful and full of passion and from the very start the crowd sang along. The four piece are relaxed and comfortable on stage. Getting to the final stages of their tour they admitted to being “in bits” but it did not show in this performance. Highlights included ‘How Do I Look‘ and ‘Gay Girls’ where Pillow Queens encapsulate thought-provoking personal lyrics with their glorious harmonies and soaring soundscapes to ultimate effect. There was great chat from the band throughout and as mentioned the second album is already finished. Pillow Queens considered asking the audiences on tour for their feedback on the new songs, but then realised the album is locked down so perhaps not the best idea! So we were treated to ‘In Waiting‘ in full and a couple of new tracks.

All good things must come to an end and as we headed to the last track ‘Donaghmede‘ the crowd did not want this to end. Pillow Queens did the profesional thing to walk off the stage and walk back on for the final two songs of the night, and what an end. Current single ‘Rats‘ has a cathartic singalong chorus that had the whole room singing as one, and then it was time for the final song of the night. This reviewer was in tears at the start of ‘Liffey‘, a song which creates the most emotive response. Cathy McGuinness’s lead guitar is given the space in Pillow Queens to play a pivotal role in their unique sound, and in the opening few bars of ‘Liffey‘ the soundscape is overwhelming in its beauty and power.

Pillow Queens are now signed to Royal Mountain Records and are labelmates with the likes of Gustaf, Kills Birds and Pottery, and so like everyone else in The Voodoo Rooms tonight I cannot wait to hear the second album, and for their return to an Edinburgh stage.

For more information on Pillow Queens please check out their facebook and bandcamp.

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