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Pastel, Band on the Wall. 4th May 2024

I’ll be honest, I’ve not yet made my mind up about Pastel. Some days they make perfect sense to my ears. Others I find them a bit too retro. There is of course only one way to make a proper call and that’s to get in a room with them. So welcome to a sold out Band on the Wall where it’s clear that the kids who missed out on the 90s are out in full force. Well, them and a load of old blokes. They kick off with ‘Your Son’, after a projection of Gene Wilder getting freaky in the Chocolate Factory has built the room to fever pitch. It’s a ballsy move to lead with this though, probably one of the best known songs, but they strike me as ballsy. Singer Jack has a touch of Billy Gillespie about him for starters. This really isn’t my favourite though with its lad rock bravado bollocks. It’s a shame they don’t go with the Andy Bell remix, which is much more interesting, with its Moroder synths and whiff of ‘Wrote for Luck’. It’ll get better though. They’re a straight up 5 piece, not breaking any moulds, but not trying to. They wear their influences proudly and they’re pretty tight. I’m by no means a die hard fan and it’s nice to hear some stuff that’s not on Spotify. Whether I know the songs or not, live the sound is much beefier. They really come alive on the more groove based stuff though. If you’re a Roses fan, you’ll find stuff to like here. It’s this mellow pace that keeps what I was expecting to be a raucous crowd in check. Everyone is very well behaved. I was expecting a riot. Things do start heating up though with ‘S.O.H.O.’ at the half-hour mark. It’s a bit of a riff fest, but keeps that baggy hook and the woman next to me is doing her best Ian Brown dance. ‘Deeper Than Holy’ takes things up another notch. Everyone knows this one it seems, singing along, arms up, people on shoulders. Definitely feels like a moment. After plugging the after party and the merch, with it has to be said expert comedy aplomb. They ask “Is it Ok?”, to which there’s a resounding approving roar. Before they close with the stratospheric ‘Isaiah’. I feel like they’ve skipped some of my favourites, but it’s a decent set, a lovely crowd and the night is young. I don’t go along to Night & Day as instructed and I’m still slightly in two minds about them, but I enjoyed this and look forward to the album. I’d say that’s job done.


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