Puressence – Live in Machester – Review

Puressence & Exit Calm
Sound Control, Manchester
Friday 16th December 2011

This is the first of 2 homecoming shows for Manchester’s Puressence. For those of you not in the know, Puressence have been together for over 20 years now & are one of those great best kept Manchester secrets, massive in their home town, big in London & huge in Greece (there are even Greek people who have made the trip tonight), headlining Greece over the likes of Brett Anderson. Six albums & some 20 singles in, they’ve chosen not to play The Ritz (headlined earlier this year) or The Apollo (headlined in 2009), but to play 2 nights at the relatively small Sound Control. It’s a former music shop off Oxford Road with a state of the art sound system & a lighting rig you could land a spaceship from.

Support tonight comes from Barnsley’s excellent Exit Calm. Fitting somewhere in between early Verve & shoegaze, they have quite a big following in Manchester too & soon get the crowd going. Set opener “You’ve Got It All Wrong” is led by Rob Marshalls soaring stereo guitar sound, majestic stuff indeed. Nicky Smith’s vocals are particularly strong tonight, shown off well in new song, Albion. Live, they are a great cacophony of sound particularly on “We’re On Our Own” & “Hearts And Minds”, singles from last years “Exit Calm” album, driven ably by rhythm section Simon Lindley & Scott Pemberton. Catch them live early next year, there’s an album and 4 eps available on Club AC30 records, with a new ep to follow early 2012.

Exit Calm setlist:
You’ve Got It All Wrong
The Rapture
We’re On Our Own
Hearts And Minds

The Puressence set tonight consists of rarely or never played B-sides & album tracks picked by the fans, alongside a few more familiar tracks.
Showing that they have a sense of humour, tonights intro tape is “Ho Ho Fucking Ho” by Monty Python, definitely not one to play your granny. This leads into Tony Szuminskis pounding drum beat on “Swathes Of Sea Made Stone” from the recent “Solid State Recital” album starting tonights well received set. Next up is crowd favourite, & early single, “I suppose”, led by Kevin Mathews thumping bass intro, which gives way to Lowell Killens dreamy guitar work & the voice of an angel lead vocalist that is James Mudriczki. “Never Be The Same Again” & “It Doesn’t Matter Anymore” both get the crowd going, but its great lost B side “The Drone” that really hooks me in, nice swirling guitar and more powerful vocals once again from James. Great single that never was (Island Records refused to put it out), “Make Time” sounds fantastic, but is missing some samples. Then they rip intro to another B side, the beautiful London In The Rain. Proving that they have B sides better than most bands have A sides.

Puressence – Live in Machester – Review

Before “Pallisades”, complaining about his lighting James quizzes “Who’s doing the lights?… You’re sacked!” it promptly goes dark, his next comment is “Not that quick!”
They end the set with 6 straight singles, showing off different sides to Puressence, “Pallisades” slow and moody, while “India” & “Sharpen Up The Knives” are hard and fast. Ultimately it’s all about the guitars & the vocals. James Mudriczki has a truly unique, beautiful, high voice, & Lowell Killens soaring guitar lines are fantastic. They deserve to be much bigger than they are in Manchester & Greece. Check them out live next year in Wolverhampton, Preston, Liverpool & York.
Latest album “Solid State Recital” is out now, or if you need an introduction to the band, there’s 2009’s compilation album “Sharpen Up The Knives”.

Puressence – Live in Machester – Review

Puressence setlist:

Swathes Of Sea Made Stone
I Suppose
Third Degree
Never Be The Same Again
It Doesn’t Matter Anymore
The Drone
Make Time
London In The Rain
Heart of Gold
Water’s Edge
In Harm’s way
Walking Dead
This Feeling

Don’t Forget To Remember
Sharpen Up The Knives



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esteemed collector of aural artifacts of Manchester musicians and barometer of musical greatness since ancient times...knows a man who knows Mark Smith


  1. What do you mean by that Ian? Poor turnout by fans, or poor performance for fans?

    Certainly I would have expected a few more people, but I suppose it’s always hard at this time of year for a band whose general fan base isn’t exactly 20 any more; people have other commitments with families and works dos and stuff or are just skint. Thought the band played magnificently.


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