Pure Love: The Duchess, 9/2/13

Since 2005, Gallows have been building up a reputation as one of the most talented, exciting and energetic British hardcore bands of the last 20 years. Which is why it was a surprise to most when fiery-haired front man Frank Carter announced his retirement in the summer of 2011. However, that was not the last we saw of Carter. In the same year, Carter teamed up with Hope Conspiracy and ex-Suicide File guitarist Jim Carroll, another legend of the modern hardcore scene. What they created, however, was not hardcore, but their own original hybrid of punk, rock and blues that is so perfectly represented on their debut record ‘Anthems’.

It’s not easy for the first support act The Vestals tonight. As they walk on stage confidently, they are being watched by the best of 25 people. Nevertheless, they put on a very respectable show. Their style seems to sit amongst those of The Smiths and The Cure and is executed very effectively on stage. There doesn’t seem to be any pretence amongst the band and each member seems to be genuinely enjoying the music, as well as being pleased to be there. It’s a shame there aren’t more people in the room.

By the time that main support Turbogeist hit the stage, the room has filled out slightly. The set starts with a slight technical difficulty, but this seems no problem for the band who have a quick “jazz fusion jam”, as they put it, avoiding a somewhat awkward situation. The stage show is as lively as the music, and although not quite as refined as The Vestals, the energy that they create on stage and in the room is electric. Despite an injured arm, vocalist Jimmy Jagger still manages to throw himself around the stage, perhaps taking a leaf out of his dad’s book (yes, he’s Mick Jagger’s son). The bands DIY sound comes across effectively and the music was solid punk rock, but what really made Turbogeist’s set was the pure energy that they relentlessly spilled on to the crowd. A very solid performance indeed.

Pure Love are, without doubt, the headlining band tonight. The second they come on stage, they own it. With the music being more tame than Carter and Carroll’s previous projects, you’d think that it may be less lively. How wrong you would be. Within minutes, Carter is in the crowd, surfing on a giant inflatable banana. Indeed, the re-born singer spends most of his time off the stage and in (or on top of) the crowd. The crowd is in the palm of the band’s hand, opening the floor up for Carter to perform on and creating a gaping circle pit around him. You can’t help but feel sorry for the rest of the band though. They stand on stage and play their hearts out, with just as much energy as the next. But tonight is Carter and Carroll’s night, up until the drum kit joins Frank in the crowd half way through the set. All of a sudden, Pure Love are playing a floor show, showing their hardcore roots, making an exciting and already incredibly intimate performance just that bit more exciting. Most importantly, unlike during his time in Gallows, Carter seems happy. He takes pictures with the crowd during the show, makes banter with the audience and just seems to be having the time of his life. Make way for Pure Love, because if their live show and debut album are anything to go by, they’re going to be huge.

Jack Adams