Pinact, Birdhead, Paws & Eagulls – Live at Sneaky Pete’s, Edinburgh, 31st August 2012

 This review is going to be rather more focussed on the support bands than the main acts, unfortunately, because I have to confess that I managed to get myself sufficiently well-oiled by the time PAWS and Eagulls came to the stage that pretty much all I have to say in retrospect is ‘Yeeeeeaaahh, awesome!’

To be fair, both bands are phenomenal live acts, and you have heard me bang on about PAWS often enough on this site. Eagulls are a different prospect, with the band setting up a cacophonous wall of noise, while the lead singer, unhindered by an instrument to play, prowls the stage and howls vitriolically through the microphone. It’s feels like a quasi-spiritual experience for him, and its hard not to get caught up in yourself.  And on Friday, that’s just what I did – terrifying, tinnitus-inducing bliss!

For those of you who listened to this week’s podcast (Which is everyone, right?  Right? Aww, come on people!) then what I have to say about the first two bands will sound relatively familiar, but I figured it was worth writing down as well.

First up are Pinact, a Glasgow band about whom I know absolutely nothing at all. On stage they sound like what you would get if you bisected a direct line between PAWS and Stonehaven’s rather excellent Dolfinz. Their recorded stuff, which you can hear on their Bandcamp page, suggests a rather smoother sound however, which I personally think could do with some of the fuzz of their aforementioned contemporaries.

With a band this early in their careers, however, it’s hard to tell if they want to sound that little bit smoother, or if that’s just what the engineer where they recorded their first material wanted, as young bands can be a little vulnerable to that sort of ‘help’.  Who knows, though, it may have been exactly what they intended.  Whatever the reason, I think I preferred the rougher edges of the live show, personally, and if that’s the direction they push in then I could end up liking them rather a lot.  If they push in the other, of course, I may like them less but they are likely to have a lot more success, so I suppose my liking for rough music needs to be taken with a pinch of salt.

Finally, the second support act Birdhead are a band I know about already, although before Friday I had yet to see them live. I declined to review an EP they sent me through a while back, but having seen them perform I freely confess I may have made a mistake ignoring that one.  Listening back to the one song on their Bandcamp page, I still feel there is something I preferred about the live show, frankly, although I’d be hard-pressed to tell you what it is. Again, maybe some dirt on the guitar and more emphasis of live drums over processed beats would bring it more in line with the show I enjoyed so much on Friday, but I am no producer, so that may be nonsense.

The presence of a laptop on stage gave the impression of the band essentially playing along to a pre-recorded backing track, but I have spoken to them about this since, and apparently it’s used more as a sampler than anything else. Either way, they were really good live – dark and broody and nicely epic without being overblown – and I will definitely be seeing them again.  And revisiting that EP I passed over earlier as well.  Shame on me.

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