Photo: Sam San Roman Photo/PVRIS’ Facebook
Just under a year ago, PVRIS(pronounced Paris) played a one-off headline show at The Barfly in Camden. Since then, the Massachusetts alternative rock band have gained widespread recognition and expanded their fan base to a global scale. Now, a year on, they’re already performing to a sold out Kentish Town Forum on the sixth date of their sold out UK headline tour.
The gig kicks off to a powerful start from London’s energetic punk duo, Bones. Channelling a riot grrrl sense of self-assuredness and a sound similar to that of Bikini Kill, Bones gets the crowd going instantly. Addressing issues they’ve faced as females in a band with their songs ‘Pretty Waste’ and ‘Girls Can’t Play Guitar’, Bones hit back at comments that it’s “biologically impossible” for females to play guitar as well as males. Proving that this comment is far from true, their set is packed with perfectly performed guitar solos and heavy bass that set the standards high for the rest of the night.
Following on from Bones, California based K.Flay jumps onto the stage with a husky and upbeat alternative, electronic hip hop combination that gets the whole room moving. During song ‘So Fast, So Maybe’, PVRIS’ lead vocalist and guitarist Lynn Gunn joins the singer and is met by a roaring response from the crowd. She takes over the drum kit for the second half of the track before running back off stage and leaving the atmosphere thick with excitement.
Packed with one in every five girls appearing to be imitating Gunn’s staple undercut, the Forum is stuffed with fans that have been waiting hours upon hours for the chance to see PVRIS up close. As the venue becomes engulfed with thick smoke and the lights began to dim, the screams of excited fans become as piercing as something you’d hear in a horror film. With the backdrop of the mirror from their debut album White Noise lighting up, they run onto stage one by one, playing their track ‘Smoke’. With Gunn having the audience wrapped around her little finger from the moment she appears, she uses every opportunity to interact with them, getting everyone jumping and clapping along with the music.
Following an upbeat run of tracks, they strip back the set with ‘Only Love’ and Gunn’s flawless vocals glimmer with a sense of angelic sincerity. Followed by an acoustic version of ‘Ghosts’, the room resembles an ocean of anglerfish as hundreds of phones are held in the air. Reminiscing back to the band’s earlier days of going to gigs, she talks about how they used to “just be in the moment” and asks everyone to, for just one song, forget about their phones and enjoy the music and the sense of family. The absence of phones creates an atmosphere that has been long lost since technology took over and after that moment, people tend to hold back on their overly obsessive recording addictions. The band exudes passion and it’s clear the crowd are feeding off of it.
The band end the night with an encore of recently released song ‘You and I’ and one of their most popular tracks, ‘My House’, but due to the early stages of the band’s career, they don’t have enough material to keep the set going on for much longer and it feels like the night has been cut short.
In an industry where females are frequently overlooked, the representation of female talent in alternative music over the evening was extremely refreshing. The support acts each complimented each other perfectly and performing an incredibly tight set, PVRIS really displayed why they deserve to be here. Genuine, enthusiastic and passionate, PVRIS definitely have the potential to keep on growing.