8th November 2012, Apollo
It’s a question of which countless music journalists have spilt litres of ink over: in a music world dominated by pop-R&B and club hits, who will be the saviours of modern guitar music? Many bands have promised to fit that mould in genres ranging from indie rock to grit-pop (who remembers that?) but few people claim it with the conviction of Pure Love, an earnest, transatlantic rock-n-roll revivalist duo.
Taking to the stage of the Apollo as the first opener to an act of the magnitude of Lostprophets is a daunting proposition for any band, let alone one that doesn’t even have an album out. If there are any nerves, they don’t show; the group burst into ‘She’ with the tight interplay of seasoned veterans, not the stand-in members who make up the rhythm section and guitar/keyboard. This is to say nothing of frontman Frank Carter. He imbues the upbeat jams with a fervour and crowd relation that harks back to the dangerous days of rock, only without the menace which dogged (or made, depending on your view) his tenure as singer of hardcore punk band Gallows. This newfound good nature is evident in his response to an audience member shout of ‘ginger prick’ of which his reply is to laugh compare the heckler to ‘Justin Bieber’- where once he may have gone for a slap.
His energy is matched, and often rivalled, by lead guitarist and collaborator Jimmy Carroll. Carroll is a figure seemingly born to rock; this is evident in his guitar theatrics, from soloing to thrashing it around in front of his amplifier for feedback. To say that the group only gets by on being a spectacle would do them down, however. Whilst Carter may cajole ‘snail pits’, arm-waving and Freddie Mercury-style vocal displays out of his audience, they have no problem displaying their moody, soulful side on ‘Anthem’. Prefaced with a dedication to every worker in the room, the sombre tune has every right to be called a ‘classic’, a rarity considering the fast-paced nature of modern music.
Leaving the stage to applause from a crowd who doesn’t even know the lyrics is a good omen for a young band with eyes firmly set to bigger things. Saviours of modern rock? Maybe so.