Pinegrove pay their dues in impeccable fashion to an adoring, sold-out London crowd.
Not only did this feel like a long time coming, it felt like a homecoming. In February of last year, Pinegrove graced the stage of London’s Scala to conquer what was, at that time, the largest show that they had ever performed. Aside from the impeccably proficient performance, that show marked the first ever review on this here website. Much has changed since then, amidst numerous artists finding themselves faced with various sexual abuse allegations, Pinegrove’s Evan Stephens Hall was amongst those in question. This article from Pitchfork best documents the fallout from such controversies. After a year’s radio silence, Pinegrove are back at doing what they do best – playing music.
Opening with Rings to a thunderous ovation, this marked the beginning of an entire playthrough of their new album, Skylight. Intersected only by Cadmium and Then Again, their latest release was rattled through track-by-track. It’s a curious move, and perhaps a reshuffle would have given the set more of a balance. Of course, the lyrics to untouchable mainstays such as Angelina and Aphasia were marvellously bellowed out by the audience to the point where you’d struggle to hear the songs’ authors.
Cries for The Metronome rang out from a handful of audience members to which Stephens Hall sincerely responded that they’ll definitely play it next time after not having prepared it for this particular show. Other notable omissions came in the form of Need 2 and Problems which are, arguably, two of the band’s more recognised hits. While Skylight is a terrific return to form for the New Jersey outfit, perhaps their live show could benefit from trimming the fat ever so slightly.
Setlist aside, the performance was predictably prodigious. Pinegrove’s proficiency as musicians is no secret and continues to astound. Particularly impressive is their flexibility and ability to adapt alongside their ever-tweaking line-up. Despite having been a prominent feature in the band’s dynamic, in addition to affording her talents to Skylight, Nandi Rose Plunkett is no longer a full-time member of Pinegrove. The fact that the band can overcome potential setbacks such as this with apparent ease is further testament to their musicianship. Simply put, this is because they create honest to God, authentic, raw, unapologetic music. No bells, whistles or frills. Just music. Long may it continue.