Komedia, Brighton, Monday 3 October 2011
Just when we thought all existing Indie bands had jumped ship into synth territory, Pete and the Pirates proved us wrong. I myself feared for the existence of simple story-telling and melancholic melodies, but good old fashioned indie-rock was back; back in the form of these cheerful chaps from Reading. Since the release of their second album One Thousand Pictures, Pete and the Pirates have certainly widened their audience; their gig in Komedia, Brighton proved that.
The pirate crew appeared on stage in front of what I'd call a reasonable crowd and opened their set with 'Little Gun'. It was an instant crowd pleaser, a well recognised track to warm up not only themselves, but the crowd too. However, that didn't seem to happen, the crowd remained almost lifeless but I was sure things would pick up when vocalist Tom Saunders introduced their next track, old -time favourite 'Mr Understanding'. I mean, after all it was one of their biggest hits.
Things did progress and with friendly banter and crowd interaction from Saunders, the atmosphere became a little more relaxed. 'Cold Black Kitty' was next, with the drumming slightly more aggressive than the previous tracks, but it went down well with fans and shortly after 'She Doesn't' begun. Already noticeable from the introduction, was the change in tempo but the chorus picked up where 'Cold Black Kitty' left off.
It wasn't until track six, 'Winter 1', that Pete and co introduced themselves but that wasn't an issue as moments into their set it was evident that people knew who they were. As the crowd chanted, they went on to play 'Can't Fish', a fine example of how their music had matured and progressed into a much deeper, sound. After listening, I realised this was no ordinary indie band, no. These guys weren't afraid of options and adventure; exploring music was top of their list and they continued to do it throughout their set.
Heavier, Pixie-style new material was introduced with 'Lost in the Woods', which kept the pace fast. Thomas Saunders delivered some menacing lyrics and continued to impress the crowd with a generous helping of showmanship. After the short encore, they went on to play a Pete and the Pirates classic, 'Blood Cuts Thin', which seem to draw in a slightly stronger response from the crowd. As the night wore on, it became clear that the song selection was very much to the liking of most if not all of the fans present, but I felt the band deserved a more enthusiastic audience than that they were given. It wasn't the adrenalin-pumped crowd I expected; I've never actually encountered a bass player who seems to be enjoying the music more than the audience itself. Rather disappointing.
However, on a good note, the band was great. Between old and new tracks, they played with a variety of sounds and musical techniques. Their song-writing is clearly progressing and their music maturing; Pete and the Pirates are a truly disciplined band and jump right out of an indie -rock textbook. Only two albums into their career yet they played this gig like they were on their third or fourth.
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