So, World To Me, the debut album from Pit Pony is now out and it’s been well worth the wait. Tonight saw them play their album launch gig to a sold out crowd in one of Newcastle’s newest venues. The Lubber Fiend, open for just a couple of months and just a few minutes stroll from the city centre, could well become one of those cracking little venues where those who seek out new music get to see a whole raft of bands that one day hit the big time. Great staff, a decent, well priced bar and a welcoming atmosphere.
I’m sure those who know me are sick of me saying it but “Always get there for the supports”. Tonight, yet again, proved my point. First up William Denton Wilde, a 3 piece consisting of “one PVC high heeled boot clad human, one bass guitar and a computer” (bandcamp). Song titles such as ‘Jesus got A Gun’, ‘We Are The Virus’, ‘Doom Disco’ and ‘Dead House’ make sure you quickly realise this isn’t going to be a set full of cheerfulness. What it is though is a set of thoroughly dark, electronic, scuzzy bass filled post-punk noise topped with the deep vocal tones of Wilde. Dark but certainly not dreary. Think, if you’re old enough to remember, of those really early days at the tail end of punk when bands like Soft Cell released ‘The Girl With Patent Leather Face’ or Cabaret Voltaire released ‘Mix-Up’ and you’ll get the picture. ‘We Are The Virus’ especially has a particularly uplifting, catchy beat despite it’s foreboding title and ‘Paradise Lost On Leith’ would rival almost any of Numan’s recent industrial output. Throw in a Springsteen cover and some pop trivia and you really couldn’t ask for more. Fantastic stuff.
Want to see a band chucking out a perfect pop-punk noise, packed full of youthful energy, full of seriousness yet full of joy and determined to have the best time possible then look no further than BigFatbig. Mixing grungy guitar riffs with a pop sensibility songs such as ‘Blame Me’, ‘Science’, ‘Don’t Wanna Be Sad’ and ‘Lets Get Married’ bring the sounds of established acts like Brix Smith, The Subways and The Primitives, load them with a 21st century attitude and drop them right at the heart of youth culture. Infectiously energetic this is good time music that still manages to put two fingers up at the ills of the world and the difficulties of ploughing through life’s ups and downs. Well appreciated by a rapidly growing audience bigFatbig have set the tone perfectly for the headliners.
Tonight belongs to Pit Pony and the release of their tremendous debut album World To Me. Recent gigs and a couple of pre-release reviews have only served to whet the appetite and create a real sense of anticipation for tonight’s sell out show. World To Me – 12 tracks of sonically charged garage noise that has that rare ability to be both a complete assault on the senses yet at the same time blend catchy melodies, high spirited guitar riffs and drum beats that together make it the perfect set of songs for leaping around your living room, stamping your feet or simply bashing out the rhythms on the nearest table.
World To Me is full of punk attitude, anger, pent up frustrations and it yells about the real world, the things we’ve been through and the things many are going through every day. Live, whether they feel it or not, Pit Pony ooze confidence. Buoyed by the reception they receive from this sell out home crowd they open with Osaka and from the opening slices of guitar that are quickly joined by a deep rumbling bass and pounding drums they have those present locked in to an atmosphere where little else matters. Overlaying it all, Jackie Purver’s vocal delivery, packed full of purpose, anger, assertiveness and a sense that this is someone who rarely loses sight of exactly what she wants.
There’s no let up as Osaka gives way to the insanely rapid, driving noise of Black Tar and the feeling of it giving everyone permission to release all pent-up frustrations, anxiety and fury that’s been eating away at them. Sinking slows the pace slightly but is still sonically huge, the twin guitars of Andrew Jones and Garth Purver combining to deliver a complete wall of noise that then suddenly gives way to a gentler strumming as Jackie Purver sings a softer “You come around, but you don’t get close”. But there’s really no let-up in the power of Pit Pony’s delivery of hard hitting sounds. Garage rock n roll would be a lazy way to describe them. There’s so many subtle variations in their output. The noise of the guitars is a constant, as are the chugging bass riffs and thunderous drums. But it’s those variations that allow Pit Pony to really stand out. Catchy, almost funky rhythms run through See Me Be but it’s no less menacing for it’s slower delivery. Likewise Cold, it’s slow(ish), repetitive beat suddenly exploding into furious punk. Best Is Yet shows how well Pit Pony, and Purver’s vocals, can sum up the vulnerable, delicate, yet untouchable feeling of youth. Knowing everything yet knowing nothing. It’s anthemic and at the same time provides a moment for real contemplation. A perfect interlude before the raw, turbulent, power and pace of Underwater and Just That haul us right back to reality.
It’s probably fair to say that if you only ever saw Pit Pony once then you’re unlikely to ever forget Supermarket. Live or recorded it’s an absolute gem of a song. Hypnotic, haunting and a song that just builds and builds, reaching an intense crescendo that you never want to end. For a gig so rammed with energy and noise Supermarket should be the perfect closing number. But this is Pit Pony, they have a new album to showcase and they haven’t yet shown us just how much they can stir up emotions. World To Me, tonight’s final song, is graceful, intricate, exquisitely beautiful. Music can stir up many, many feelings and those feelings can be so different depending on the person. Pit Pony tonight have been cathartic, exciting, rowdy, raw, melodic and, just occasionally, mellow. Not for one second did I think it’d end with a tearjerker.
A crowd so into the music they’re singing the lyrics back, words that are so on point with tales of relationships, human emotions, teenage mishaps, fear of the future and the confusions of life regardless of age from a band who, if there’s any justice in the world of music, will soon be packing out venues much bigger than tonight’s. World To Me is certain to be one of the best albums of 2022 with tonight’s performance emphasising just how much Pit Pony should be at the top of everyone’s must see list of bands.
Photos and Words by Steve White