When they left Boston to join the Lower Than Atlantis tour, it was their first ever visit to Europe. In the three weeks PVRIS were in the UK, a growing swell of buzz has enveloped the electro-rock trio, so much so that their name appeared to be on every tastemakers lips and talk of frontwoman Lynn Gunn was all over Twitter. By the time the tour hit Brighton, such was the hype around them that you felt PVRIS could have headlined the gig themselves. That they were third on the bill showed how quickly you can go from someone few have heard of to someone everyone’s clamouring to see.
Whatever the hype, the truth was we got to witness the emergence of a band who are undoubtedly going onto bigger and better things. Watching them struggle at the soundcheck – when everything seemed to go against them – you wouldn’t have put money on their producing much of a performance. Indeed, they were still fighting the tech gremlins when the audience rushed the stage. A few minutes later, they were back on – and, as if by magic, whatever equipment issues they had experienced miraculously disappeared.
Right from the off, it was obvious you weren’t just watching another support band. Even with just one album’s worth of material, PVRIS have got more than enough good songs to impress and, perhaps even more importantly, they have a distinctive style. But even more than that, what they’ve got in Lynn Gunn is a captivating and charismatic focal point. At times you have to remind yourself she’s just turned 21 for she comes across as a seasoned pro and there’s no mistaking she’s the centre of attention and central to what PVRIS is all about.
As well as her vocal gymnastics, she pens the band’s above average lyrics and is responsible for how they sound and what they look like. Visually, it must have hurt to play in front of someone else’s backdrop, but that’s what happens when you have three bands on the bill. Time dictates everything and support bands inevitably get compromised.
Even so, she and the band must have been pleased with the reception they got. It’s almost unheard of for a support act to draw more photographers than the bill-toppers and have so many in the audience singing along to their songs, but that’s exactly what happened here.
There was only time to play six tracks and their choices were perfectly judged. They opened with ‘Smoke’ and then went straight into ‘Mirrors’ one of their strongest songs. But there was no smoke and mirrors about the performance, this was the real deal as the trio – augmented by drummer Justin Nace who on this powerhouse performance really deserves to be made a full-time member of the band – more than proved their musical chops.
Sonicly, as well as having a keyboard-caressed sound that’s simultaneously fresh and familiar, a common feature of PVRIS songs are their intense soundscapes and their regular forays into light and shade. This works well on record, but even better live, the current single and soaring title track ‘White Noise’ being a perfect example.
Sadly it was over far too quickly with the band rounding out their set with the album’s two heavy hitters ‘St Patrick’ and ‘My House’. Having won over the audience with a near-perfect slam-dunk, there’s no doubt PVRIS will be back headlining. With their self-proclaimed ambition of being the biggest band in the world and their being added to this year’s Reading and Leeds bill, such intentions might not be beyond them.
As they sing on ‘St Patrick’ “You give me something to talk about.” And they left everyone at the Concorde 2 with a lot to talk about. Easily one of the most exciting and compelling new acts out there, next time they return to Brighton they’re gonna need a far bigger venue. With more stage time and a bigger production, one can only imagine just how good they can be. Forget everyone else, it’s PVRIS who’ll soon be all the rage!