Review // Partybaby + Pines @ Soup Kitchen

Words & Photos By Ged Camera.

The crowds are milling, the shops are filling, the pockets are emptying, all because of Christmas. The brass band is playing. No, wait. That was the sampled sound that introduced the final song from the excellent Pines.

It was just past 8pm on a Thursday night when Pines lined up on stage at Soup Kitchen with a minimum of fuss. It’s the type of introduction that makes you wonder if the band are having a late sound check or actually beginning their set. Either way, the silky, warming sounds were very welcome.

There are no histrionics or grand entrance from this Manchester based group who have some roots in Salford. They prefer to let the tightly layered songs stand up for themselves. Sam Jones’s keyboard sounds and the solid drumming of James Hands set the structure for the other members to feed into.  Apart from the occasional need to select an effects pedal, Dan Holmes stood rooted in one spot, hunched over his guitar with his face concentrated on extracting pitch perfect notes, as Greg Holmes just behind him bounced his bass sounds out.

Linking all the disparate elements together was the voice of Chris Cooper, something ethereal, sometimes more earthy. Not until the set approached its closing moments did signs he was covering up traces of a vocal strain start to appear. A debut was given to a new number, ‘All In Your Own Sweet Time’, initially a slow burning number that fizzed into a typically climatic finale.

Why a bunch of Californians would want to give the sun a miss and tour the UK in the depths of winter is a bit of a mystery to me, but Partybaby bounce onto the stage like they’re still filled with vitamin C. Their energy is infectious and though the crowd has diminished significantly after the departure of the Pines, they are not doing things by halves.

Seasonal Affective Disorder isn’t a concern of Jamie Schefman, judging by his livewire performance. They were loud, frantic and boisterous in a good old, let’s-literally-have-a-party manner, as Schefman displayed the energy and sound of a young Jon Bon Jovi or Whitesnake. Combine this with their origins of collaborating on writing a song for Christina Aguilera and you have a sense of not really taking things too seriously, as the name of their album, The Golden Age of Bullshit, implies.

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The show took place at Soup Kitchen on Thursday 1 December, 2016.

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