LIVE: Pure Love @ Deaf Institute, Manchester (06/02/2013)

Date: February 6th, 2013
Venue: Deaf Institute, Manchester
Support: The Vestals / Turbogeist


Pure Love have mostly been known as a mish-mash of two punk guys writing tunes along the line of classic pop and rock. They’ve confounded, confused and attracted audiences in their numerous support slots over recent times. Now, they take on the UK as a headline act, bringing The Vestals and Turbogeist in tow. With acclaim given to their debut album, ‘Anthems’, and the tour on its three dates so far, now’s the time for the group to shine on this dreary February night.

The Vestals (***) kick the show off with a flair you’d expect from the likes of The Cure and The Smiths as opposed to their touring partners. Vocalist Adam strikes a good balance between energetic and enigmatic, bringing to life both the nuances and the hooks of songs such as ‘Seventeen’ and ‘Perfect Pain’. Indeed, despite an interesting and accessible take on shoegaze-affected pop, the group largely fall flat in a room still largely void of bodies. Perhaps the group are an acquired taste, or maybe Manchester’s just not feeling it tonight.

Up next are Turbogeist (***). Despite vocalist and guitarist Jimmy being hobbled by a dislocated shoulder, the group power through with their zany mix of ‘power-pop and thrash’. It’s a mix that at time manages to capture both theatrics and grit, but other times it falls apart trying to mash together two odd ends. In any case, apart from a few lukewarm attempts at banter and an exuberant show in spite of injury, again the Deaf Institutes proves to be a cruel mistress, wary to the charms of two widely diverging opening acts. It’s seems to be ominous for the main group of the night.

Having toured for a while on the basis of reputation and grainy YouTube clips, Pure Love (*****) have finally arrived as a headline act in their own right. Although appearing in a real sweatbox of a venue, the group treat it as if their reputation depends on it; which is sort of fitting, seeing as debut album, ‘Anthems’, was released whilst the band was still on the road. The group take to the stage and share some laughs with the audience about it, particularly mourning the demise of HMV, before smashing into opening staple ‘She’.

Almost from the get-go, the atmosphere in the room changes as lead guitarist Jim Carroll stage dives into the crowd whilst soloing, directing the audience to carry him up the stairs at the back of the venue. Vocalist Frank Carter gets as involved, entering the crowd on the swooping raucous ‘The Hits’ whilst ascending to the bar on ‘Anthem’. This is the highlight of the show, even through the drums being set up in the floor space on ‘Riot Song’.

Carter, expresses his angst in a way empowering to the mass of hands and writhing bodies hanging on his every word. The track builds to an emotional crescendo with the percussion-assault of drummer Jared Shavelson, before the all involved take a breath to recover. With a new record out, this might just be the start of something special.

Written by Fin Murphy