After seeing Pumarosa earlier this year at Manchester’s Soup Kitchen, I was somewhat surprised to see the band playing a venue as large as Gorilla seeing as they are still relatively under-the-radar. Their stunning debut album The Witch was released earlier this year via Fiction Records to widespread critical acclaim, so they have certainly earned their right to play a venue this big.
The band were delightfully warmed up by the completely bonkers VÏSTA, who burst onto the stage wearing a Christmas jumper, which he later removed to reveal a turquoise gilet. He then claimed that the stage was too dirty and coincidentally happened to have a broom with him to clean up. The pinnacle of his craziness was when he started a song by pressing the space bar on his laptop using a huge plank of wood. One of his songs, Whisper, featured the lyrics: “This bitch was Skyping me daily / stopping me from living my life / I want to do a Tom Daley / come out and do a 100ft dive”, which would sound equally at home on a grime track. He ended his set barefoot stood on top of a barstool… which is I’m sure is how many middle aged Mancunian revellers doing karaoke ended their night too!
Then, the venue was rapidly filled with a thick fog of dry ice, before Isabel Munoz-Newsome and co. took to the stage. Pumarosa began their set with Dragonfly, one of my favourite tracks released this year, featuring her hugely underrated, iconic guitar beating (if you’ve ever seen Pumarosa live, you will know what I mean…)
They really are an effortlessly cool band, so it’s not difficult to see why Depeche Mode chose them as the support act for their European tour early next year, or why Interpol invited them to be their support act in Mexico. Honey sounded brain-pummelingly, mindbogglingly incredible in a live setting. Lyrically, it discusses climate change and the politically turbulent time we are living in and musically, it is so euphoric and genuinely gave me goosebumps because of its sheer intensity.
Barefoot showcased Munoz-Newsome’s unique, hauntingly beautiful vocals and during The Witch, she danced around the stage in a ritualistic, ceremonial fashion. I have never witnessed a band other than Pumarosa who can so perfectly make their music sound like the end of the world and to put it simply, I want to see them headline Brixton Academy and there is no reason they can’t reach that level of success. Their music is dark, euphoric, sexy, mysterious, industrial, post-apocalyptic and so much more… certainly the power of their music felt far too much for the four walls of Gorilla.
Tracks such as Red and Priestess encouraged everyone to dance and people were visibly getting really into it and moving uncontrollably. Snake sounded cosmic with a hint of 90s and funk influences. For the encore, things took a classic rock turn for My Gruesome Loving Friend. Sadly, the band chose not to play Cecile, but then again, Pumarosa don’t play by the rules. And I love them for it.
Review: Conor Giblin
Among the countless gigs we went to during 2016, we were lucky enough to be photographing as well as reviewing many of them. In the name of nostalgia (or something!), we thought we would pick out a few of our favourite shots of the year. Hope you like our little selection slideshow – and if you do, please follow us over on Instagram where we put lots of our other photos from gigs… and there are plenty more of those already in the diary for 2017.
2016 has been a bit of a breakthrough year for Pumarosa. The alt-pop five-piece from London have been showcasing their talents on the road both with their own tour and also during some high-profile support slots for the likes of La Roux, Everything Everything and Glass Animals.
We caught the band live in London earlier this year (see photo gallery) and can testify that their live show is atmospheric and totally engaging. The debut album is still awaiting a release date, but will be emerging in 2017. In the meantime, we still rate Cecile as their best track so far, earning its place in our top 5 tracks of the year.
Pumarosa – Cecile
East London five-piece Pumarosa have been making waves recently, being tipped in a number of quarters as a band to watch. It’s easy to see why. Their support slot for Everything Everything‘s Somerset House Summer Series gig was probably their biggest gig to date but they took it very much in their stride.
Frontwoman Isabel Muñoz-Newsome is mesmerising on guitar and vocals, but the whole band – comprising Nicholas Owen (drums), Henry Brown (bass), Tomoya Suzuki (saxophone and keyboard), and guitarist Neville James – is slick and solid in performance of a brooding yet lively sound that they describe as ‘industrial spiritual’.
Highlights of an all-too-brief 30-minute set were probably the singles Cecile and Priestess, with Muñoz-Newsome’s vocal range and stage presence coming to the fore for the latter track.
The beauty with this band is that there is no knowing in which direction they might choose to take this intriguing music in future. It’ll be fun finding out.
- Pumarosa appear as part of a stellar line-up at this month’s Blue Dot Festival at Jodrell Bank, Cheshire, alongside Everything Everything, Dutch Uncles, NZCA Lines, Phoria, Caribou and Public Service Broadcasting.
There’s an even more eclectic line-up than usual on this month’s Sync List. Among the highlights, it kicks off with the finely-crafted Cecile from hotly-tipped Pumarosa, followed up with more indie brilliance from Marsicans, Swimming Tapes, and Bristol newcomers Cousin Kula.
There’s also a chance to rock out a little with Suzerain and Partisan, as well as some sublime chillout from Leo Kalyan, Tora, Capyac and Kidnap Kid.
Hope you enjoy the latest selection – and do keep sending your suggestions for future inclusions.
The Sync List 4
Pumarosa will be supporting Everything Everything at their forthcoming Somerset House gig next month and will doubtless pick up some reinforcements to their rapidly growing fan base.
The East London five-piece, led by singer and guitarist Isabel Munoz-Newsome, are busy working on a debut album set for release later this year. In the meantime, enjoy single Cecile, and see also the brilliant Priestess.
Pumarosa – Cecile