LIVE: PVRIS @ Electric Brixton

By Catie Allwright

In the wake of Storm Dennis, London is cold and bleak. But step inside Electric Brixton and there’s a warm energy; pink-haired girls purchasing pints of red wine at the bar, groups chatting on the sofas inside the women’s bathroom and ‘indietronica’ support act Joywave finishing off their set with ‘Tongues’, an infectious track featured on the FIFA ’15 soundtrack. 

The venue has an intimate feel – smaller than its nearby neighbour, Brixton Academy, who hosted PVRIS two years ago – and the freedom for guests to walk around the balcony and seating areas is a luxury on a Thursday evening. A friend of bassist Brian MacDonald has come to show their support and comments on PVRIS’ ‘badass’ rise to fame; a group of musicians from the ‘middle of nowhere’ in Massachusetts selling out a headline European tour.

PVRIS take to the stage at around 9:15pm to the dark and progressive ‘What’s Wrong’. Photographers are clamouring to shoot vocalist Lynn Gunn, who is effortlessly and iconically cool in leather trousers and a black tee. In fact, the whole set is stripped back with minimal theatricals, just a few lights to set the tone and let the three-piece band’s talent shine through. The crowd cheers, but is a little stiff to begin with though it doesn’t take long for the piercing vocals and groovy melodies to loosen the room until we’re bouncing, clapping and oscillating as one entity – a feeling that’s no more palpable than during ‘You And I’, for which Gunn asks that everyone puts away their phone and is present in the room. 

PVRIS have some incredible songs and the setlist could easily become a greatest hits album, dipping in and out of the 2014 ‘White Noise’, the 2017 ‘All We Know Of Heaven, All We Need Of Hell’ and the new 2020 EP, ‘Hallucinations’. Each band member regularly changes instruments – MacDonald and lead guitarist Alex Babinski move seamlessly from guitars to keyboards, supported by energetic touring musician Denny Agosto on drums – to fulfill a performance that straddles multiple genres that make your feet move and your heart ache. The show culminates with an explosive encore featuring ‘Death Of Me’ and ‘My House’, with Gunn coming down to greet the front-row fans. 

The lights dim and Lizzo’s ‘Juice’ plays – bringing a smile that sees people on the Victoria line home still humming along. For a headline show, PVRIS’ performance comes in fairly short at just over an hour. It’s a shame as there’s no shortage of material from two studio albums and three EPs, and honestly – we were left wanting more. There have been murmurs of new material later this year, which we’ll eagerly await in the hope that next time PVRIS hits our shores, it’ll be even bigger and better.