Manchester band PINS have been gathering attention in their home city and across the UK. Composed of four-piece lead singer Faith Holgate, lead guitarist Lois Macdonald, bassist Anna Donigan and new drummer Sophie Galpin, the band are a reliable festival favourite, and it didn’t take much to pack out the Shipping Forecast basement venue during LIVERPOOL SOUND CITY on its opening day.
We arrive to a rammed venue with low ceiling and barred up windows. The crowd is practically leaning over the band filling the tiny stage. Faith looks fierce, having now mastered her don’t-give-a-flying-bacon-butty ice queen routine, Lois comfortably provides the glassy guitar strokes, Anna is her usual slick bassist self, and multi-instrumentalist Sophie proves her worth as the new drummer with steely drumbeats reverberating around the venue – she’s wearing an AUSTRA t-shirt, so she’s already won our vote.
The size of the venue works for them and they’re the most electric band we’ve seen yet today. The photographers crouched down off the edge of the stage are in danger of being trampled on as the crowds bounce to the sounds – they’re in good spirits with this being the first day of the annual festival.
“Shoot You” is a massive crowd-pleaser in its simplicity and grunge-pop fashion and really seriously needs to be on a soundtrack already. “Eleventh Hour” remains the band’s strongest and most honed track and is always a welcome interlude in the set. Rolling crescendos colour other tracks, comfortably smashed home. Faith begins “LUVU4LYF” with her back to the crowd with Sophie pounding out the intro for this bold creation: “They wanna, they wanna, they wanna take me / down…” I really still don’t like the squeals on this one though, because it actually dilutes the track and potential stage power of the all-girl setup, but I suppose that’s a matter of taste. As we get to the chorus, the venue is practically on fire.
The set is a mixed bag of tunes, styles and pace, showing that this band are still finding their feet, but that is a very good thing – having come up the buzz band ranks so quickly, the fans are certainly enjoying hearing their range and experimentations, many looking forward to the inevitable debut album to see how they package themselves. Will they go the sexy-flirtatious-commercial-angry-girl-band route, or the edgy-fiercely-focused-independent-musicians route? Maybe they will surprise us. Only time will tell.