Friday, October 23

The Big Pink @Camden Electric Ballroom

. Friday, October 23


Since emerging earlier in the year The Big Pink have had the albatross of shoegaze hanging heavily around their neck. Every interview, review and feature with the group has tried to lump the pair in with this years genuine revival typified by bands such as The Horrors and New York's The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart much to singer Robbie Furze's chargrin. As the band take to the stage tonight (Furze plus a bassist, drummer Akiko of the punk band Comanechi and full time Big Pink member Milo Cordell behind a box of noise) the quartet quickly and clearly banish the labels and pigeonholes applied to them amidst a fog of dry ice.

Support comes from the similarly loud and reverb heavy new band We Fell To Earth who have the same moody atmospherics and big walls of sound as the headliners but as yet are lacking an emotional dimension. Songs like 'Deaf' and 'The Double' hint at a promising potential but much of the rest flys by struggling to register to the large audience gathered. The Big Pink however are greeted to the stage like returning heroes. The hedonistic band are clad in black with only the gold studs on the shoulders of Furze's leather jacket showing any signs of ostentation. The aforementioned shoegaze burden is immediately proved to be a fallacy as the pummeling riffs and beats of set opener 'Too Young To Love' kick in. The Big Pink are sonic magpies, picking up elements of different styles and genres and blending them into one big ball of noise. 'Frisk' comes across much more like the industrial seduction of Nine Inch Nails 'Closer' than ever this evening whilst Furze's history in digital hardcore music and touring with Alec Empire ensures everything sounds suitably enormous. None more so than the breakdown during 'At War With The Sun' which sounds nothing short of apocalyptic.

The musical pick 'n' mix continues throughout with hints of Timbaland/ J. Dilla production running through the hip-hop beats on 'Tonight' and 'Golden Pendulum in particular. The third key ingredient to the genre mix is soul music. The band have spoken of their love of Otis Redding and the yearnng passion can be heard in Big Pink tracks such as 'Love In Vain'. This side of the band is perhaps their weakest as with each layer you remove from the stacks of sound The Big Pink supply the results become flimsier- they work best at full volume throwing everything at the wall and seeing what sticks. Having said that there is an excellent a-capella performance of Otis Redding's 'These Arms Are Mine' in the penultimate moment of the set. Taking the title of that song for it's lead chorus lyric is the effortlessly cool 'Velvet'. Having removed his leather jacket and singing "These arms are mine, don't mind who they hold' those gathered can't help but notice Furze's biceps in a Sonic Youth t-shirt slashed at the sleeves- gym workers would describe them as 'ripped' or indeed 'pumped'.

The show concludes somewhat inevitably with 'Dominos' a song slightly spoiled by a pizza company however it is an undisputed solid gold hit. There will not be a better chorus written all year and the song seems to encapsulate all that is great about The Big Pink, its lustful noise over a celebratory beat waves the crowd off into the night staring at anything but their shoes.

Photo: David Emery


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