After seeing Pumarosa earlier this year at Manchester’s Soup Kitchen, I was somewhat surprised to see the band playing a venue as large as Gorilla seeing as they are still relatively under-the-radar. Their stunning debut album The Witch was released earlier this year via Fiction Records to widespread critical acclaim, so they have certainly earned their right to play a venue this big.
The band were delightfully warmed up by the completely bonkers VÏSTA, who burst onto the stage wearing a Christmas jumper, which he later removed to reveal a turquoise gilet. He then claimed that the stage was too dirty and coincidentally happened to have a broom with him to clean up. The pinnacle of his craziness was when he started a song by pressing the space bar on his laptop using a huge plank of wood. One of his songs, Whisper, featured the lyrics: “This bitch was Skyping me daily / stopping me from living my life / I want to do a Tom Daley / come out and do a 100ft dive”, which would sound equally at home on a grime track. He ended his set barefoot stood on top of a barstool… which is I’m sure is how many middle aged Mancunian revellers doing karaoke ended their night too!
Then, the venue was rapidly filled with a thick fog of dry ice, before Isabel Munoz-Newsome and co. took to the stage. Pumarosa began their set with Dragonfly, one of my favourite tracks released this year, featuring her hugely underrated, iconic guitar beating (if you’ve ever seen Pumarosa live, you will know what I mean…)
They really are an effortlessly cool band, so it’s not difficult to see why Depeche Mode chose them as the support act for their European tour early next year, or why Interpol invited them to be their support act in Mexico. Honey sounded brain-pummelingly, mindbogglingly incredible in a live setting. Lyrically, it discusses climate change and the politically turbulent time we are living in and musically, it is so euphoric and genuinely gave me goosebumps because of its sheer intensity.
Barefoot showcased Munoz-Newsome’s unique, hauntingly beautiful vocals and during The Witch, she danced around the stage in a ritualistic, ceremonial fashion. I have never witnessed a band other than Pumarosa who can so perfectly make their music sound like the end of the world and to put it simply, I want to see them headline Brixton Academy and there is no reason they can’t reach that level of success. Their music is dark, euphoric, sexy, mysterious, industrial, post-apocalyptic and so much more… certainly the power of their music felt far too much for the four walls of Gorilla.
Tracks such as Red and Priestess encouraged everyone to dance and people were visibly getting really into it and moving uncontrollably. Snake sounded cosmic with a hint of 90s and funk influences. For the encore, things took a classic rock turn for My Gruesome Loving Friend. Sadly, the band chose not to play Cecile, but then again, Pumarosa don’t play by the rules. And I love them for it.
Review: Conor Giblin