I arrived at The Live Rooms at around 7:30pm and made my way to the main room, Kate Bush’s ‘Running Up That Hill’ was playing as I walked in and the room was dark, smoky and really looked the part. I’ve been to The Live Rooms once before to watch Doves’ frontman Jimi Goodwin in action and I must say how much I like the place, definitely my favourite local venue.
At 8:00pm the first support band took to the stage, Wrexham’s The Revolutionary Spirit. After hearing a lot of good things about the group I was looking forward to seeing them for myself, unfortunately for them, at this point the show was not very well attended. The Revs filled the room with a cacophony of feedback before showcasing their brand of 70’s style psychedelic-rock. The 4 piece delivered a great set, recent single ‘Sunshine’ and a slow burning bluesy number (a song I don’t know the title of) really impressed and it was easy to see that the rest of the audience were diggin’ the Revs’ sound.
Next up was The Pains’ tour support, Los Angeles 3 piece Ablebody. The group play a sort of garage-pop and deliver it with a real air of confidence; with softly sung vocals and catchy melodies that reminded me of English pop-rock band Prefab Sprout but with more of an energetic rawness. Stand-out track came in the form of the set closer, a song the singer described as being “a new one, slightly rough round the edges”. I will most certainly be checking out the band’s recordings when I get chance.
The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart’s frontman Kip Berman led out his recently re-shuffled line up onto the stage, the group consisted of the 3 members of Ablebody along with Fear Of Men’s Jess Weiss taking up keyboard duties. No introductions were needed as the band immediately erupted into latest single ‘Until The Sun Explodes’ and I must say, the sound throughout the night was great but it was fantastic for The Pains. The band were full of energy and even though the audience size was unfortunately still quite small they all seemed in good spirits. A few songs into the set it was Jess Wiess’ turn to take up lead vocals for one of my favourite songs of the year, ‘Kelly’. Without this sounding disrespectful to original keyboardist Peggy Wang I feel Jess Weiss brings something more to the band, her harmonising and obvious ability and confidence as a vocalist really add an extra dynamic to the band’s live performances.
Berman made a shy introduction 5 songs in, thanking the audience for coming to the show and revealing that he “didn’t know that Chester was a real place” before the group launched into the super catchy ‘Simple and Sure’. The set was made up of songs mainly from the band’s new album Days Of Abandon and their self titled debut, with only 2 songs from their sophomore LP Belong being included and to be honest that suited me just fine.
As the band ploughed through the set I noticed how much Kip Berman puts into his performance, I have seen The Pains 3 times now and each time he has been no different. Berman never stops moving, he obviously enjoys playing live and by the time he struck the last chord of the pounding song ‘The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart’ he was dripping with sweat. The group then left the stage and the audience awaited the encore.
Berman returned to the stage alone and played a beautiful stripped back version of B-side ‘Ramona’, his guitar was loud and crunchy and his vocals cut through perfectly, a real highlight. The rest of band then returned to the stage and concluded the show with rousing renditions of ‘Everthing With You’ and ‘Belong’. Kip once again thanked the audience and shot off stage right to man the merch desk.
I make no secret of how much I like The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart, I have followed their music ever since I heard their 2009 debut album and every time I see them live they get better and better. The band only have a few more UK dates left on their tour and if they are coming to a venue near you I recommend you take a chance and go and see them.
The Pains’ Full Setlist
Until The Sun Explodes
Heart In Your Heartache
Higher Than The Stars
Simple and Sure
Young Adult Friction
Life After Life
This Love Is Fucking Right
The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart
Ramona (Kip Solo)
Everything With You