Live Review: PINS – Oslo, Hackney, 23.10.2015 plus Gallery

PINS were at their sharpest for a wild night at Oslo in Hackney.
When the time is taken to strategically place LED filled glowing balloons on a stage, you know the band are getting ready for some revelry. When PINS arrived on stage in front of their shimmering backdrop they lost no time in getting the party started.
Since the release of their second album, Wild Nights in June, this Manchester five-piece have been touring pretty constantly including various festival dates and a support slot with Sleater-Kinney. I’ll confess that I’d been looking forward to this show for some time – having fallen for their post-punk charm when their debut album, Girls Like Us, was released in 2013 – but I’d been consistently unlucky with getting to their shows.
When they come on stage and jump straight into the thumping dirty riff of Baby Bhangs I expect to feel detached from them. However, despite the fact they look and sound effortlessly cool, I feel a connection. Maybe this is in part due to the way they connect with each other on stage. It doesn’t seem like they formed a band, they actually look like they’ve banded together.
The intensity continues into Get With Me. Front woman Faith Vern slowly prowls the stage with a presence that is captivating. She stares out from behind the microphone with the same icy intensity that she delivers the lyrics. Her yelping howls punctuate I Want It All but the backing vocals from the rest of the band are also on show, as they are throughout the set. Watching this band you’re aware that every member is playing a big role in the performance. On the ridiculously catchy and summery Young Girls, guitarist Lois Macdonald shouts the words away from the microphone like a fan. You can tell they’re enjoying this.
After the glam-rock infused Say To Me Vern says “we’re going to slow it down” and they sink into the sway and swoon of Got It Bad before heading into the dark fuzz and reverberating cries of Oh Lord.
A highlight for me is Too Little Too Late, the first single from Wild Nights, with the words of a woman scorned spat out in time with Sophie Galpin’s crashing drums. The anthemic Molly sets us up nicely for Dazed By You with Vern encouraging the crowd to move around, saying “I know it’s Wednesday but if anybody would like to dance then please come to the front…or else we’ll drag you up. Just kidding”. I find it hard to resist dancing along, even when the song reaches its distorted, thrashing conclusion.
There’s no time for recovery before they blast through the punchy call and response of Waiting For The End. Luv U 4 LYF is all drums and Anna Donigan’s throbbing bass until Vern’s vocals and Kyoko Swan’s keys add an almost sinister feel.
The other highlight of the night is the simply glorious song “for all the girls”, Girls Like Us. Vern moves down into the crowd to sing, in a vocal style reminiscent of Siouxsie Sioux, while helping those on the front row onto the stage. The raucous, fuzzing guitars shift into Cyndi Lauper’s Girls Just Want To Have Fun while all those on the now crowded stage join in.
The party ends with their rowdy cover of Hybrid Moments by Misfits and an encore of the echoing vocals and grungy guitars of House Of Love.
This gig has been the celebration of a band that is sharper than ever. The chemistry between the band members translates into a warm energy that you don’t expect from their cool appearance. I realise I’ve been grinning up at them the whole way through.
The next party they throw, I want an invite.

Set list
Baby Bhangs
Get With Me
I Want It All
Young Girls
Say To Me
Got It Bad
Oh Lord
Too Little Too Late
Dazed By You
Waiting For The End
Girls Like Us/Girls Just Want To Have Fun
Hybrid Moments
House Of Love

Photos © Rhiannon Ormerod

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