The Railway Venue, Bolton
22 January 2016
Purson played The Railway Venue Bolton on Friday, Louder Than War’s Nigel Carr (words) and Melanie Smith (photographs), were there to cover the show, and conduct an interview with Rosie, which you can read here.
It’s not often that I am blown away by something unexpected these days – I usually get what the deal is. You know that word Indie? played out across the music mags, over worked and overdone to the point of overkill? So how about something new, something that isn’t introverted, nervous, agitated ‘indie’ at all, whatever the hell that means any more.
Dripping in feedback, acid phase and backward guitars you’d swear they’d dropped in through a wormhole from the late 1960’s. They certainly look the part – fronted by Rosalie Cunningham, prodigious lead singer, songwriter and multi instrumentalist, they’re the epitome of that decade’s psychedelic style, crushed velvet flares, crocheted waistcoats, long hair and tie dye tops.
The killer punch is the intertwining of 70’s progressive rock, (prog.), into their sound. Think Hendrix squeezed into a liquidiser with The Small Faces, The Nice, Genesis and Deep Purple! Piercing, rock solid riffs, swirling organ and a meandering, thumping back beat that would have your once hip granny tripping out! Somehow it manages to sound totally fresh and vibrant – the confidence of Rosie’s vocals riding effortlessly over the top of this swelling maelstrom is completely captivating. She commands centre stage, looking like Joan Jett in the darkness but sounding like Grace Slick at her absolute best, her band rocking out around her.
The Railway in Bolton is a small venue on the edge of town but it’s rammed tonight, standing room only, shoulder to shoulder. Purson have played this place before and the crowd know what to expect.
They open with Desire’s Magic Theatre, the title track of their new album which comes out at the end of April. It sets the scene with a huge, thumping Glam beat that drifts off into pop/psych, freak out heaven before slowing elegantly to a close. Moonage Daydream from Ziggy Stardust is played in honour of Bowie’s recent death and sounds truly amazing. A fitting tribute, it’s tough and chunky and all the riffs are in the right place!
Danse Macabre is the stand out track off their Ep ‘In The Meantime’ – it’s a big song with a huge charging bass and back beat – a great big slab of prog. with an arching lead guitar and Rosie’s trademark, Grace Slick style vocal penetrating the storm.
The slightly poppier Mr Howard is another rock solid track with a huge hook and chorus that has me whistling it all the way home. It’s immediately followed by Electric Landlady, the band’s current single and album taster. The track is pure Hendrix, (are you surprised?), It’s Foxy Lady with a dreamy vocal, psyched up with an acid soaked middle eight that propels it forward before breaking in to an ear splitting riff courtesy of George Hudson. Nothing is quite as it seems, the song is lush and expansive like a lot of Purson’s stuff, fleshed out with a warm squelchy wash, all acid tinged, fresh and zesty.
They finish up with Wanted Man off the EP, In The Meantime – it’s a big swaggering number with drum solo to boot; a huge show tune that ends in an extended psychedelic freak-out, whipping up the crowd – a fitting end to an amazing show.
A lot of bands these days sound good but just don’t make the effort, they lumber around the stage in tatty jeans and t-shirts and whilst there is nothing particularly wrong with that, it is pretty dull and uninspiring. It’s not just about what they wear either, it’s the whole package – Purson’s unique sound, the lighting, the way the band commands it’s surroundings and that look – it’s a proper show, engaging, theatrical and thrilling and if I was a kid seeing them for the first time I’d be rushing out trying to look like them!
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UK HEADLINE TOUR DATES
WED 09 BRISTOL, THE LOUISIANA
THU 10 NOTTINGHAM, ROCK CITY
FRI 11 NORWICH, WATERFRONT STUDIO
SAT 12 MILTON KEYNES, THE CRAUFURD ARMS
WED 16 LONDON, 100 CLUB
THU 24 EXETER, THE CAVERN CLUB
FRI 25 PLYMOUTH, THE JUNCTION
SAT 26 SOUTHAMPTON, JOINERS
SUN 27 BRIGHTON, THE HOPE & RUIN
WED 30 BIRMINGHAM, THE SUNFLOWER LOUNGE
THU 31 MANCHESTER, NIGHT & DAY
FRI 01 GLASGOW, AUDIO
SAT 02 LEEDS, THE BRUDENELL
New Album: Desire’s Magic Theatre is out April 29th on Spinefarm / Machine Elf
Purson – Rosalie Cunningham, George Hudson (guitars), Samuel Robinson (keyboards), Justin Smith (bass), Raphael Mura (drums)
Photos by Melanie Smith. More work by Mel on Louder Than War can be found at her author’s archive. You can find her on Facebook and Twitter. Photography portfolio can be found here:mudkissphotography.co.uk.