Review: Purson – Audio, Glasgow

It was a wet and windy Glasgow that awaited Purson as their recent tour turned onto the home straight, but no ­one was about to let the weather dampen (sorry..) the evening.

Kicking things off were Crosa Rosa, a young three piece from Nottingham who play Garage Rock with the fuzz set to stun. First impressions were of Bleach era Nirvana. A total guitar driven wall of noise which proved that you can sound like Nirvana without actually being a tribute act. Current single Simper Smiler (available on Bandcamp) is a short snapshot of what these guys sound like, fuzzy guitars with a psychedelic interlude before the thumping drums come back in. Live it’s a wall of noise as guitarist and vocalist Joe Weatherall batters his Fender into submission. So much so that at one point he takes his guitar off and drops it to the floor, no histrionics though just a broken guitar string that’s all.One quick dart through the crowd to get a replacement and we’re back underway. Another surreal moment is when Joe asks if anyone can put the band up for the night as they have nowhere to stay. Happy to report that they indeed found somewhere to crash as posts on social media showed them playing card games in someone’s front room. Crosa Rosa are three young guys passionate about what they do and have caught the eye of BBC Radio along the way. Hit them up on Bandcamp with two tracks for a measly quid! Soon you won’t be able to get a can of coke for that!

Coming off of the back of a well received support slot on the recent US tour by Grammy winners Ghost, Purson continued this momentum by producing a highly polished 70 minute set despite some hiccups (drummers don’t need mic’s anyway do they?) Beginning with the title track from the new album ‘Desire’s Magic Theatre’, check out our review here, it’s quickly established that the months over in America have paid off. The band seem overflowing with confidence as they know that they’ve produced something special but are confident without being cocky.’Desire’s Magic Theatre’ is a slow burning multi-faceted song which comes complete with a Kazoo solo from singer / guitarist Rosalie Cunningham. It has a great swing to it and live the guitars are pushed way to the front, the keyboard fills from Samuel Robinson also give the song another dimension. Despite feeling under the weather, Rosalie manages to hit the high notes but the grimaces show that she is struggling.

The set is a great mix of material from debut album, ‘The Circle and The Blue Door’ and the stop gap EP, ‘In The Meantime’. A handful of tracks from ‘Desire’s Magic Theatre’ are also aired even though the album isn’t actually out yet.’Danse Macabre’ is a gorgeous floating four minutes of psychedelic pop which has some great interplay between Cunningham and fellow guitarist George Hudson. Of the new tracks featured in the set, current video ‘Electric Landlady’ is the most recognizable with great riffs pouring from Cunningham’s Gibson SG, as the song settles into it’s groove and the way that both guitarists take turns to solo is mind­blowing. Live,the song gets you slap bang right in the solar plexus. Purson are quite a theatrical band (without the actual theatrics) and the imagery of the band is refreshing. They are definitely a band that demand your attention onstage. Rosalie Cunningham is a strong presence but it would be churlish as well as impossible to ignore the other band members. Samuel Robinson is a striking figure behind his keyboards and the simple act of standing side on and raising his guitar to the sky means that George Hudson creates quite an impression. But it’s the pair of Justin Smith on bass and drummer Raphael Mura that create some of the more memorable visual moments. At times Smith plays his bass like a lead guitar before going back to finger picking while Mura is a blur of hair and flailing arms, mesmerizing to watch. Would it be rude of me to call them a pair of groovy fuckers?…too late. As the evening progresses two things become evident. Rosalie is obviously struggling with the dreaded lurgy but carries on regardless. If this is her feeling under par then what the hell must she sound like when she is fighting fit? One of the most atmospheric and enthralling voices that I’ve heard in a long time. Favourites like ‘Spiderwood Farm’, ’Leaning On A Bear’ and ‘Wanted Man’ sound incredible but it’s when the newer material is aired that the expectation levels rise. ‘The Window Cleaner’ and ‘Dead Dodo Down’ go down a treat considering most people are hearing them from the first time. But the pair of ‘Mr Howard’ and ‘The Sky Parade’ are simply majestic. The latter especially memorable with it’s acoustic guitar intro from Cunningham. On a larger stage with a full production behind them this song would kill as it’s five minutes of trippy bliss. Nice. Purson are the band that a lot of people have been waiting on. The plethora of bands playing 70’s Retro Guitar Rock has reached saturation point so the time is right for a band like Purson, strangely familiar but yet uniquely different.

Review by Dave Stott

Images by Ritchie Birnie

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