Pinegrove play Cambridge – Live review

live reviews "It's love and tragedy in modern day America to its finest calibre"

“Angel’s beauty parlour, I think it was called?… anyway, I’d recommend them. They may not have fixed my leg, but they did something to fix my soul”.

Before sponsoring the local masseuse, Evan Stephens Hall explained how he’d come to hurt his leg whilst on tour. This is Pinegrove’s second trip across the pond in support of their latest record ‘Cardinal’, and it’s vital that he maintains peak performance level. They’re less than halfway through the European (pardon the pun) ‘leg’ of this tour, and he can’t afford to neglect any minor medical or physical queries.

Pinegrove live at the Portland Arms in Cambridge – UK, touring their debut album Cardinal. 26 Feb 2017

Hall is certainly one to maintain the crowd’s approval (not just out sympathy for tonight’s limb accident). His anecdotes charm spectators across the world, for he’s equally humble and honest. Like the leg injury story, he treats incidents with an astute outlook. Always positive, looking forward. It’s refreshing in today’s news climate.

It’s also refreshing to see someone who believes that being a good person can reflect into his ability for being a good artist. Just his simple shout of thanks to tonight’s support act, Lomelda, was genuine. Her sultry, dulcet tones captivated the room. It was reminiscent of acts like Florist and Best Coast, but far more delicate. She was rightfully thanked for her spellbinding performance.

The band swell in and out of tempos, creating subtly powerful waves. They have a satisfyingly slick live sound, and ‘Cadmium’ swaggers deep, behind the beat. Never pompous, never pushed. Ultimately, it’s rich in harmonies, with minimal effects. Just good reverb and good dynamics.

‘Waveform’ and ‘Aphasia’ are when things slow down. The overall dynamic of their set builds from slow and muscular, to the ferocious and static blasts of tracks like ‘Visiting’. Evan takes time to perform two without the band, proving that he can hold his audience in the palm, with everything stripped back to it’s root.

What gives this band its human side? Fundamentally, it’s emotionally raw. Evan’s lyrical narrative is wise beyond its years, holding an intellectual weight that travels further into the soul, past general angst. It’s love and tragedy in modern day America to its finest calibre. Long may he continue to delight, enthral, mesmerise and taint his pleasant crowd. There’s something very special about Pinegrove. Cambridge understands.

Words from Jack Stevens
Image from Valerio Berdini

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