Pins at Belgrave Music Hall

The first sign of the Pins gig starting was Abbi alone on stage starting a very cool solo beat: part drum kit, part trigger sample machine.

It became more and more infectious as she played, the sound of which really got the crowd buzzing. A few bars in, and all the heads in the crowd are going. Then Faith, Lois, Kyoto and Ailís all walk on stage from the wings, cue the packed crowds excitement spilling into cheers and woops.

Ailís was the first sign of vocals, repeating a beautiful falsetto. Her voice, along with the beat, very reminiscent of Donna Summer’s I Feel Love; it sounded absolutely awesome. Kyoko’s bass line then absolutely grooved it right out, then Lois created some haunting feedback on guitar. All this soundscape then looped, making the crowd move even more.

Faith stood there, back to the audience, looking over her shoulder a little, so sultry and commanding. Then her singing filled the hall, with serious panache. Her voice and stage charisma varies in range and style, from the powerhouse of Karen O (Yeah Yeah Yeahs), to the delicate softness of Hope Sandoval (Mazzy Star). All these layers of sound are…well, they’re just Hot Slick aren’t they! A seriously cool pounding electronica-esque song to open a gig with, it really gets that tingle going down your neck.

They played their post-punk anthems such as Ponytail, Serve The Rich, Bad Thing and the beautifully harmonic Molly amongst others, all of which were played with passion and aggression. Lois really does command your attention. Whether she’s playing her guitar or synth, she’s locked on the audience, totally connected and loving it. Even in soundcheck when she was only checking Kyoko’s bass by playing a few bars on it, she had a big beaming smile, knowing she’d be playing live soon. She’s a gig volcano.

But then I heard a few songs I’ve not heard before, songs which aren’t released yet, so I don’t even know the titles of them (and Pins won’t tell me!). My favourite of these has serious attitude in it. Faith sings it in a very strong, forget you kind of way. Each line was repeatedly sung to a catwalk stomp-tempo of drums and synth. With a single staccato guitar pick on every beat building up to the chorus, it totally hooks you in. A few lines stuck in my head straight away:

With my hair in the air, I couldn’t care
I see one hundred of me, dancing over you
So you think you’re better, you were never better
Write it in a letter, post it to whoever
Don’t make me say it, don’t make me say it
Don’t make me say it again
Whatever HEY!

Wait until you hear this song – it catches you big time; forces you to move.
Yes, Pins are a very cool, powerful sounding band, with stunning clothes, drop-dead shades, and damn fine hair!  Following a photoshoot for them last Friday, every single location, every single pose, they just nailed it.  They know exactly what they’re doing as a band, to the finest detail.  But putting all that aside and spending a fair bit of time with them, I found out they’re genuinely kind, generous, and completely authentic in how they are. No pretentious cheese and certainly no divas.   Faith, Lois, Kyoko, Abbi, Ailís….and Ost, I had such a laugh with you. Thank you so much!


Pins play Fulford Arms at York Saturday 29 Feb.  Use your spare day wisely and get there.  

All photographs by Mark Wheelwright.

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