THE PINEAP­PLE THIEF

Prog - - Take A Bow - POLLY GLASS

VENUE SHEP­HERD’S BUSH EM­PIRE, LON­DON

DATE 06/10/2018

SUP­PORT LIZZARD

Tonight is kind of a big deal. It’s the last night of The Pineap­ple Thief’s tour, in sup­port of new al­bum Dis­so­lu­tion (their first to make the UK Top 40), and their big­gest ever head­line show. Oh, and main man Bruce So­ord is set to be­come a father again – like, im­mi­nently. This an­tic­i­pa­tion is re­flected in the waves of pun­ters in T-shirts from var­i­ous Pineap­ple Thief tours (in­ter­spersed with other Ks­cope-y names) ex­cit­edly jostling from bars to stalls and seats.

By con­trast, it’s fair to guess that most peo­ple here don’t al­ready know LizZard. It is fair to say, how­ever, that they’ll re­mem­ber them af­ter this. The French trio ped­dle a con­tem­po­rary, hard-hit­ting fu­sion of artrock and meaty pro­gres­sive rock, with nods to the more or­ganic end of Muse in up­beat in­stru­men­tal pas­sages.

Ul­ti­mately, how­ever, it’s all about The Pineap­ple Thief, who stride out and dive straight into the em­phatic, mood­ily sharp

Try As I Might, fol­lowed by Your Wilder­ness favourite In Ex­ile – all flanked by big lights and much ges­tic­u­la­tion and gui­tar-bran­dish­ing by So­ord (a singer with the ca­pac­ity to both break your heart and shake you into life).

Their abil­ity to move from lo-fi in­ti­macy to heavy 21st cen­tury Floy­dian rock is fan­tas­tic, as on the likes of Alone At Sea and All That You Got.

Much has been made of sticks­man Gavin Har­ri­son’s new role in their sound, and jus­ti­fi­ably so. Tonight his highly orig­i­nal yet poised ap­proach to the drums is ex­tra­or­di­nary, and pro­pels TPT fur­ther into jazz­in­fused dy­namism. But to over­look ev­ery­one else in­volved would be in­ap­pro­pri­ate. Guest gui­tarist Ge­orge Mar­ios brings a level of Malm­steen-meet­sSa­tri­ani flashi­ness, while long­time bas­sist Jon Sykes adds gor­geous vo­cal har­monies to songs such as Far Be­low.

And then there’s So­ord. A big part of his and the band’s ap­peal lies in their re­lata­bil­ity, along­side the blend of very ‘hu­man’ lyrics and oth­er­worldly mu­si­cal qual­i­ties. So­ord man­ages to be a like­able, warm stage pres­ence with­out say­ing a great deal. Be­tween-song chat sel­dom veers beyond “we’ll play an­other song now…”, un­til the en­core as he thrusts his beer to his gui­tar tech with the res­onat­ing com­mand: “gui­tar slave!”

About half of the set draws from Dis­so­lu­tion, and is all the stronger for it; proof that they’re get­ting bet­ter, rather than trad­ing ex­haus­tively from past glo­ries. Say­ing that, some of those past glo­ries are un­de­ni­ably good, as shown with a bril­liant Noth­ing At Best (prob­a­bly still their most ‘sin­gle-y’ sin­gle to date), be­fore they close with an acous­ti­cally rooted Snow­drops. Tak­ing a fi­nal bow the band look tired, but gen­uinely de­lighted. It’s taken them a while to get here, but from where we’re stand­ing it was worth the wait.

“BRUCE SO­ORD IS A SINGER WITH THE CA­PAC­ITY TO BOTH BREAKYOUR HEART AND SHAKE YOUINTO LIFE.”OUT WITH A BANG: IT’S THELAST NIGHT OF THE TOUR…

MAIN MAN BRUCE SO­ORD COMMANDS THE CROWD.

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