A cold and rainy Saturday evening in Brum played host to an inarguable amount of talent. Reigning from Montclair, New Jersey, stateside indie rock outfit Pinegrove headline the evening, with possibly one of the best releases of 2016 in their back pocket. Joining them, Texan gem Lomelda, along with local talent Robert Craig Oulton.
Oulton takes the stage first, and within minutes, the potential this band possesses is apparent. Oulton’s vocal range is captivating, taking on a Ben Howard-esque style. He sings of a break up in acoustic-feeling "Cold Hands", that contrasts their biggest hit "April Showers", which is light and refreshing, allowing the nostalgia to flow through the elegant riffs. Oulton’s stage presence is essentially, what wins this crowd over; the typical brummy accent, paired with his playful personality has the crowd applauding long after each song.
When Hannah Read, aka Lomelda, takes the stage, the venue falls silent, in awe of her vocal ability. She sounds undeniably passionate, making this performance as emotional as can be. Taking on a minimalistic approach, Lomelda’s tone screams melancholy, with each word seeming more heartfelt than the last. Personal favourite "Columbia River" is the highlight of the set, embracing the art rock in its purest form. A captivating set, filled with poignant moments, which seemed to touch every single person in the room.
Chants of ‘Evan’ fill the room in preparation for Pinegrove’s entrance, and it’s easy to understand why. Frontman Evan Stephens Hall is the epitome of charismatic, embracing the chants as soon as he steps foot on stage. Before ploughing into their part-country part-emo set, the band take a second to clap and thank the undeniably enthusiastic crowd. Their humble approach fills the room with good vibes. Showcasing an array of material across their two releases, the obvious fan favourites were bound to be set free. "Old Friends" gains the biggest roar from the crowd, with the nostalgia in the room seemingly overwhelming. "Aphasia", "Cadmium" and "New Friends" also get strong admiration for this band. Older hits such as "Angelina" also receive a warm welcome, with the older fans singing along in unison.
As a voice bellows ‘PLAY TOAST’, Evan’s face lights up. Seemingly a personal hit, he proceeds to play a hit based on the universal love for toast. A personal highlight from the set further emphasized Hall’s charismatic edge.
Pinegrove’s passionate stage presence is what undoubtedly catapults them into competition for one of the best live bands to see this year. An incredible performance from each member only strengthened my admiration for these guys; a truly breath-taking set.