Live Review- P I N S @ The Bullingdon, Oxford
The red sequenced background stood out against the monochrome band’s attire. As well as having a cutting yet vivacious sound, the four-member girl group can also pride themselves on image. With album art and haircuts that wouldn’t be out of place in the likes of Daniel Clowes’ Ghost World, you know they aren’t conforming to any pretty-in-pink girl-group tropes. Yet, with the glitter, fur coats and heels they certainly aren’t afraid of a bit of glamour. Forming in 2011 after being tired of the ‘token girl’ band role, they are in line with Savages, having noted influences of the likes of Hole, and a punkesque vibe reminiscent of P J Harvey (the one and only).
The opening lyrics to ‘Molly’ provided a punchy start to their set. There was an expectation of the rawness of their debut album, yet Wild Night has a more polished tone as well as some melancholy edges with songs such as ‘Everyone Says’ and ‘Got it Bad’. However, they didn’t leave behind their first album, continuing with the title track ‘Girls Like Us’, giving us all a reminder of their punchy prowess. As well as looking back, PINS also looked forward with the treat of a new song called ‘Trouble’, which called out “don’t call me sweetheart” whilst the vocalist heralded a red glittered heart shaped tambourine complimenting their banner and adding a splash of colour to their charcoal aesthetic. Seemingly an ironic nod and play on their popular single ‘LUVU4LYF’, which pleasantly centered the set.
Wild night, in spite of the band’s delivery, is a phrase that unfortunately could not be ascribed to the gig. Despite their lively sound, PINS managed little more than a few head bobs, even calling in the plea of the vocalist Faith to “Come forward what is this gap my god … I think I'm talking to myself”. Appropriately the latter phrase is also a lyric to their song ‘Dazed By You’ – a title that could not be applied to the crowd’s reception of PINS. The audience was seemingly impassive to the music, even after Faith’s rock-star styled jump down into the crowd as a symbolic rallying cry. By the penultimate song – ‘Waiting For The End’ – it seemed this was actually what the audience was waiting for. In fact, the wine bottle surreptitiously slid between the members on stage obviously had more of a purpose than conveying a ‘rebel rebel’ image. As they call out in ‘Young Girls’ “we don’t want to be saved”, which is just as well.
As the opening support The Other Dramas stated, it was “a school night” after all, which could explain the sedated response (but if you cast your mind to the crowd of Fun Loving Criminals in the O2 next door this is clearly no excuse). The audience wasn’t easy to please (even after The Other Drama’s vocalist brought her dad on stage for a sax solo – a personal highlight of the night), but this didn’t stop the gig being well executed, it would merely have been nice if more people were there to enjoy it.