Pumarosa at The Brudenell on 22 November

Sometimes you get to a gig and you hang around having a few drinks, eagerly anticipating what’s about to unfold – you know the drill: stage lights down low; it’s almost time – all the rest of it.  

You hope what you’re about to experience will make it a special night to remember.  Well, in the case of Pumarosa, all I can say is, the eager anticipation was completely justified and mind-blowing.  Right from the outset, it was spellbinding. The crowd were transfixed (I always take a good few seconds to stare at the crowd early on). Isabel then eased into the start of what was to be an incredible set.

‘I See You’ for me is a personal favourite.  Live and in the flesh, it’s truly awe-inspiring, shivers down the spine with the chorus, so mesmerising.  Again, seeing the crowd hypnotised like little lambs hanging on every beautifully sung word was something very cute.

Tomoyo delivered a consummate acid rendition of ‘Priestess’, too. I couldn’t help but shout well done to the good man ‘GO ON TOMOYO!!’ for creating such a powerful twist on a classic track in its own right.  Gets me every time this one.  The driving beat forces you to move and feel every vibe of the track – I was powerless but thankfully moving within a safe radius!

Isabel was so lost in the joy of her performance she actually leapt out into the crowd to dance for a few moments – such was the amazing atmosphere of the night.  Pumarosa are full of style, prowess and downright earthy chic.  In particular, this is exactly what I get from Isabel Munoz-Newsome as a performer. Yee gods, she commands the stage big time.  End to end, she keeps the whole crowd captivated.

She’s definitely a Phoenix from the ashes, too – no doubt in my mind that Isabel is an incredibly gifted woman, prolific in expressing her deepest thoughts and feelings, however painful it may have been for her to do so, especially given the past two years. Off-loading is key, and Isabel does this in exquisite style, both in the studio….and does she do it on stage!  Pumarosa are ascending very quickly as a powerful live act.

There’s the well-known list of eclectic, uncompromising artists that Isabel’s constantly compared to.  Well, I’m not going to list them, purely for the fact that she’s her own distinct artist, with her own distinct style, which works beautifully.  So all these media-induced artist comparisons and genre hungry types can jog on!!!  The mesmerising performer Isabel Munoz-Newsome is exactly herself, beautiful and unique – end of.

The love bounced back and forth all night between band and crowd and it was truly great to see.  Genuine – not contrived – love for a spellbinding sound that Pumarosa have put together in the latest form of their captivating ‘Devastation’ album.  The crowd were swept away, the band read it and reciprocated.  All in all, a very very special gig.  If you’ve not seen Pumarosa yet, make it a priority.  You’ll be truly blown away.

I’ve listened to this album several times now and as much as lyrics are open to interpretation, I get the feeling Isabel is to some extent clearing away some trauma, whilst also celebrating sexuality, and good for her.

Then, of course, post gig there’s the chance to get some of the bespoke screen printed Pumarosa shirts and bags.  I couldn’t help myself so bought a couple and gave Isabel a cuddle just to say how impressed I was with what she’s achieved personally over the past two years, against some serious obstacles for her, and yet look at her, a total genius performing to the best of her ability.

Yes, here we are, Pumarosa are at the absolute top of their game.  Their live performance left people ecstatic, no exaggeration. The depth of emotion captured in every set track was something I’ll personally cherish for a long time.

There’s also a part of me that wishes I could have a two month euro-rack modular lock in with Tomoya, but you can’t have everything, ey??

All photographs taken by Erin Cooper Jones, who is working with Mark Wheelwright from ISO Photographic as a photography intern. 

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