Appearing from stage left, sporting a pint-a-piece, Dinosaur Pile-Up strolled into the Boston Music Room spotlight in unceremonious fashion. After all, turning up to shred in front 250 people at the London release show of your fourth studio album – which has already received mass critical acclaim, despite not even having aged a week – is pretty routine for a trio of seasoned professionals.
Unphased, but totally ready, the band shared a moment of ‘here we go’ eye contact with one another before leaning straight into one of their greatest hits, Arizona Waiting. Unconventional, right? For most bands, the announcement of an ‘In-Store’ release show for their latest album – Celebrity Mansions – would be, well, what it says on the tin: a showcase of new songs, in a slightly shorter format, to show fans the fruits of their labour. However, the decision to open with one of their most-adored tunes set the tone for the evening, the band were ready to have fun.
This attitude is echoed throughout Pile-Up’s entire discography but seems to reach its apex during the highlights of Celebrity Mansions. In spite of the record being the band’s first major-label release, this album feels to sport a sound that is more liberated than anything they have released before. Pile-Up have coined their craft from writing no holds barred riff-fests that bring hoards of fun lovers to low-lit rooms to bounce about in pools of their own sweat – but there is something different about this release.
There are no moments in this album where they seem to take themselves too seriously. The record – as a whole – is incredibly slick, and the movements from its harder riffs to the more melodic flashes are very impressive, but there is something lip-curling about the whole affair. This attitude was echoed throughout their show, as the band smiled together as the odd note was dropped or they took moments in the middle of songs to riff into others, because ultimately, who cares when you’re having fun? Their performance at Boston Music Rooms showcased the self-awareness of Celebrity Mansions aptly.
Once Arizona Waiting had completed its usual shift of turning the room into a head-nodding choir, Round the Bend was up next on the setlist. Having heard the single, it seemed to take most audience members by surprise. Not quite as unflinching as its peers, Thrash Metal Cassette and Back Foot, Round the Bend seemed to be the least suitable of the three to help keep the tempo of the evening up. However, with its clean verses and melodic chorus, this tune was punched home by Bigland and co. emphatically. Slamming the “keep your hands on the wheel, because I’m going round the bend” into the microphones, the song was met with a choral response from the audience. In that moment, it felt as though this song cemented its place in the setlist for years to come.
Among the tracks from the record that were unlucky to miss out on the setlist, Stupid Heavy Metal Broken Hearted Loser Punks is one of the best. The song has a jovial tone to it and feels to pay homage the ‘golden years’ of skater pop-punk made popular by the likes of Sum 41 and The Offspring. The chorus is sing-a-long, but it still has moments of individuality – such as the lightly off-kilter vocal slicks – that make it a more engaging listen. This sentiment is further echoed in K West, which is another tune which provides a slapstick insight into the lifestyle of a Rock ‘n’ Roll superstar.
With moments that sound like they could be off-cuts from The Colour and the Shape Foo Fighters-era, Pouring Gasoline blends a nostalgic 90s sound with a catchy chorus that sticks with you. First-time listeners to DPU are in for a treat during the record’s middle portion, as the album then transitions into Black Limousine – which is its perfect partner in crime. The vibe continues with this tune as it showcases the gritty underbelly of the band that they have been proudly flaunting for years.
My Rock ‘n’ Roll and Traynor to the untrained, unsuspecting audience members were, again, odd inclusions for an ‘In-Store’ performance for their latest release, but the trio proved their expertise once more. These songs were met with elation by the crowd as the room instantly burst to life – with the breakdown of My Rock ‘n’ Roll, in particular, standing out as a takeaway moment for the way it induced utter detonation. These songs – as well as the obvious 11:11 – acted as a reminder that while their new music may be exciting, DPU have been writing utter bangers for almost a decade.
The crowning jewel of this performance, and perhaps the record too, is undoubtedly the strength of singles Back Foot and Thrash Metal Cassette. Sure to be staple tracks for years to come, the audience erupted as if this was everything they had been waiting for – and who could blame them? The larynx shredding chorus of Thrash Metal Cassette ripped through the room before seemingly everyone plunged into a ‘flash-mob’ of hip shimmying hoodlums during that breakdown. Back Foot then effortlessly closed the show, as if it had been doing so for years. Undoubtedly the band’s most unique song to date, it is sonic proof that they are onto a winner with LP 4.
The magic of Celebrity Mansions can be found in the embellished sound of the record and the way it embodies the caricature lifestyle that the masses expect of the ‘Rocker’. While the lyrics on offer may only address the issues at the surface, this shallow exploration into the world of fame is fitting for the subject matter at hand. The high points are unerasable, game-changing and deserve to be heard by millions. Naturally, in true Pile-Up fashion, these hits were hammered home in their live set – reinforcing that they are in the upper echelon of British artists on the road.
The only criticism in the room felt to be the short nature of the performance, but with a full-length UK/EU tour teased to be on the horizon, it won’t be long until fans of the band get their next fix.
Celebrity Mansions: 4/5 Bytes.
Live @ Boston Music Room, London: 5/5 Bytes.
Listen to Celebrity Mansions.