By seemingly singlehandedly holding up the helium business, London’s trendy underground haunt XOYO is looking more like a set for a 1950s teen romance or the prom scene from Carrie than the location for Pure Love’s first anniversary gig. Everything about tonight screams “stylish” – from the abundance of red balloons to the variable choice in pre-band music and the complete removal of any barriers. Even the audience represent a cross-section of trendy East London; the range representative of the new and old audiences attracted to Frank Carter and Jim Carroll’s punk-rock’n’roll outfit.
As support bands both The Vestals and Turbogeist further personify the disparate nature of old and new. Despite battling with some hefty sound issues – the fury evident in frontman Adam Parslow’s eyes – The Vestals deliver a suitably camp take on the goth-pop of the 1980s. Their unashamedly indie mannerisms support an affection to the softer side of alternative music, albeit one that remains askew to the mainstream.
Conversely, Turbogeist embody the alter ego of tonight’s headline act, delivering a deluge of fast paced punk with spitting vocals from injured frontman Jimmy Jagger. The energy is infectious and their sound a balanced mixture of obscured melody and ferocious noise. Producing a performance more akin to Frank Carter’s previous crew, it is easy to decipher why Turbogeist have found themselves on this bill.
As Pure Love take the stage – the crowd visibly animated by the appearance of Mr Carter after the other band members have taken their respective places – the pace of the night drops, yet the energy remains high. Although the music may not inspire the violent reaction that has followed the frontman for the past eight years, Pure Love expertly engage the crowd while delivering ten tracks from their recent ‘Anthem’ full-length plus a cover of the John Peel favourite ‘Teenage Kicks’. The cover choice proves a direct demonstration of the crossover power the band has accumulated in the past twelve months.
Consistent audience interaction ranging from crowd surfing to on-stage banter and the signature removal of the drum kit into the fans serves to further blend audience and band together. Undoubtedly proving frustrating for those further removed from the action (sorry guys at the back!), these efforts twist the atmosphere from a gig to a trendy London underground party. It may not be to everyone’s taste, but Pure Love are becoming the hipster’s new sweetheart – and their infectious blend of nostalgic rock’n’roll and DIY punk attitude means they can just about get away with it.