Pete and the Pirates @ Scala, London 04.10.11

They’ve been around the UK three times this year, but Tuesday’s gig at Scala felt like something of a homecoming for Pete and the Pirates. They played their album launch show at Heaven back in May to a warm reception for their new material, but this time, with a couple of months’ worth of familiarity under their belt, the new songs really took centre stage.

Oct 4th, 2011 at Scala, London / By Jim Pilling
Pete and the Pirates Tuesday night saw the sold out Scala stuffed to the brim with Pete and the Pirates fans as the band brought their energetic live show to their eager and now seemingly devoted following. Wasting no time they launched into the show with an up-tempo first few songs including first album favourite ‘Mr Understanding’ and ‘Cold Black Kitty’, which steadily builds to an irresistible peak. Said peak, thanks to the immaculate delivery, saw everybody finding it nigh on impossible to stand still, which was no doubt the desired effect.

From the reaction to some of the newer songs it soon became clear that Pete and the Pirates have not only widened their audience since the release of the second album, but also connected with it more intimately. The gig was heavily weighted towards the newer material from the band’s most recent offering One Thousand Pictures, and it was clear as the night wore on that the song selection was much to the liking of the crowd. There are some really endearing and captivating songs on the first album – that’s been established for a while – but without taking anything away from those songs they were outshone during the performance by the likes of ‘Come To The Bar’ and ‘Half Moon Street’ from the second record. The latter of these two songs provided a sincere and touching moment during the gig as frontman Tom Sanders serenaded the room with his half-sung, half-spoken heartfelt lines. ‘Can’t Fish’ was yet another example of how the band have grown into a much deeper sound than the more jangly arrangements associated with the first record. The song meanders at a considered pace and is melodic and atmospherically rich both vocally and musically. Again, the band far surpassed doing the song justice and in the same vein as the rest of their set they really brought the song to life, delivering it in what’s rapidly becoming their trademark ‘tight, but loose enough to be charismatic’ style. The night was a triumphant one for the band and fans alike, and as the sweaty, smiling faces marched out of the Scala doors there was a chatter of excitement about what people had just witnessed – a band on the up, becoming more innovative as time goes on and flourishing into an impressive live spectacle.