THE PINEAPPLE THIEF
VENUE SHEPHERD’S BUSH EMPIRE, LONDON
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.