The Nude Party + Pinky Pinky
31-33 Spear Street, Manchester
Monday 20th May 2019
I only had one gig in the diary for May, so I was naturally hoping it was going to be a good one.
My initial interest in the night was in Pinky Pinky, a trio from LA comprising lead singer and drummer Anastasia Sanchez, bassist Eva Chambers and guitarist Isabelle Fields.
Their sound can best be described as 60s Psychedelia, with catchy tunes that sound light and upbeat until you listen to the lyrics and realise they are as dark as Nick Cave’s finest! That said, the band don’t take themselves too seriously and it’s all very tongue-in-cheek.
The band are all about contrasts, for example the name “Pinky Pinky” sounds very twee and lightweight, but in fact it apparently comes from a South African legend about a Monster who would attack girls on the toilet if they wore pink. Their logo uses a font which looks like a metal band, not what you’d expect for a band called Pinky Pinky!
In any band, the front person tends to be the focus, yet sometimes the most interesting performer to watch in a band is the drummer, but they tend to be hidden away in the shadows behind the lead singer. So combining the role of singer and drummer has a lot of potential on paper, and works spectacularly in reality. Anastasia was absolutely on fire, like she was possessed as she attacked the drumkit with gusto and sung, screamed and yelped her heart out. Her vocals remind me a bit of the ladies in the B-52s. No bad thing in my book!
Whilst Anastasia seemed totally at home and relaxed, Eva and Isabelle sometimes looked a little nervous – it may be part of the act, another contrast, or perhaps they were genuinely nervous. It must be equal parts exciting and scary to do a world tour in your early 20s. But they were impeccable musicians and I’m sure their self-confidence will develop in time if real.
I suspect most of the people in the room were there for the headliners, I don’t think there were many of us who knew Pinky Pinky, yet they went down a storm and I’m sure they’d gained a lot of new fans by the end of the set.
To entertain a roomful of people who don’t know your songs is a challenge for any band, but one that they pulled off with aplomb. All the more impressive that they managed to pull it off as a 3 piece with no keyboard, laptop or gizmos.
Indeed my only disappointment was that I couldn’t buy their album on the night as it’s not out until next month!
If you are going to Dot-to-Dot this weekend, go and see them, and thank me later!
I could have gone home after their set a happy man – totally worth the trip to Manchester on a Monday night. A half hour set full of killer and absolutely no filler, it was a pure joy to behold.
It was going to take a very special band to justify headlining this night!
Googling The Nude Party can bring up some very odd results indeed! After a couple of days of digesting the “Other” results, I thought I’d best check out the band 😉
Joking aside, they instantly caught my attention.
They originally met and started gigging in 2012 whilst still students in Boone, North Carolina. The name allegedly comes from the fact that they used to play in the nude at campus parties. With a capacity crowd and all the dancing going on in the room generating so much heat, I’m surprised they didn’t reprise this idea!
Ok, so one song sounds a bit like Velvet Underground:
One sounds a bit like classic Bob Dylan:
Another The Rolling Stones:
The next Tarantino soundtrack:
You get the picture, their influences are very much in your face, so I concede that pure originality is perhaps not their strong suit, but when a band is this good, does it really matter? Why reinvent the wheel when they can write and perform such brilliant original songs that should appeal to people who avoid Originals bands because they prefer the familiarity of covers bands. This is exactly the kind of accessible yet exciting band needed to bring people back to grassroots gigs!
They opened for The Arctic Monkeys in the US and were on Rolling Stone’s “10 new albums you must stream” list, so clearly we are dealing with A-List rising stars here. I’ll be surprised if they aren’t headlining their own stadium shows in a few years.
My one concern when checking out their youtube videos was that in this live recording, they sound amazing but their performance is a bit subdued, perhaps because it was recorded in a studio with no audience.
Any such concerns were laid to rest tonight, from the moment they strutted out to “Stampede” all 6 members of the band were on fire, and it was infectious!
Their 45 minute set was over too soon, and after their 3 song encore, the atmosphere in the room was electric – a mix of smug people who’d seen them before, telling their open mouthed friends “I told you they were good” and a real feeling going around the room that we’d witnessed something very special indeed, a rare breed of band who command the audiences attention as soon as they take to the stage, and don’t let go until they’ve left.
If you see any phone footage from the gig, they already sound impressive, but live they were phenomenal.
Their most popular song (according to Spotify and YouTube) is “Chevrolet Man” which they finished their set with. It tells a tale of a young band touring in a van whilst elders tell them to buckle down and get a proper job. The video cleverly shows an “original lineup” gig in 2069 with older people playing the members of the band, still playing little clubs.
As someone who’s knocking on a bit, my advice to them is keep on doing what you’re doing lads! The world needs bands like you more than ever!
If you’re only going to attend 1 gig in a month, it had better be a good one, and this one had everything!
Finally, a quick mention for the venue, Soup Kitchen. With so many music venues having closed in the past decade, it’s great to see a venue packed out on a Monday night. It’s a format that seems to be a new breed of venue, like Yes Manchester, it has an efforlessly cool, laid back but trendy bar/eatery upstairs, with a relatively compact (I’d guestimate 100 capacity) music venue in the basement. This seems like an ideal combo to me – with gig audiences so variable, having a popular pub and place to meet and eat upstairs presumably helps to sustain it if things are quiet downstairs. And if people are regulars at a pub who have bands on, sooner or later they will hopefully pop downstairs and check them out. Perhaps venues like this will spearhead a revival in grassroots live music? I certainly hope so!
Words + Pictures by John W. King