There’s a massive buzz around Pvris at the moment, something only heightened by the matter of minutes it took for this show to sell out. This may only be their second UK headline gig, but it already feels like the Massachusetts trio are set for big things; all in all it’s rather exciting to be seeing them in the sort of size of venue they’ll no doubt be leaving behind very soon.
Opening things up are British four piece Twin Wild, who also – judging by the power of their anthemic choruses – look set for bigger rooms. Sounding like You Me At Six mixed with slices of pop licks and the odd Soundgarden-influenced nod to some grungier parts, they have a pretty strong offering and go down well with the already packed crowd. Their live show is polished, they know how to get the crowd involved and they look like they’re having a lot of fun to boot. In short, they’re everything you could want from an opener and do a grand job.
Next up are local pop punkers Light You Up, who instantly up the energy with some sunny tunes centred around bouncy choruses. Frontman Tom Napier leads the charge, first while strumming an acoustic guitar and then, after removing his instrument (and his shoes), while bouncing around the stage and even in the crowd for the incredibly catchy single All We’ve Ever Known. Again, this lot seem set for bigger things and it would be great to see them on a bigger stage where everyone in the band has the space to move, as the Academy 3 stage is somewhat intimate. That said, you can always end the set in the middle of the crowd bouncing along along with your fans, which is exactly how Napier brought things to a close – another band that exudes fun when it plays.
As the lights dimmed and the background music faded to announce the arrival of tonight’s headliners, you could taste the excitement in the Academy air – which turned into gleeful cheering the moment Pvris took to the stage and launched into Smoke from their excellent debut album White Noise. From the off, Pvris have Birmingham in the palm of their hand and they play with effortless style and huge grind on their faces. St Patrick and Mirrors quickly follow and the room is very much having a ball.
What is really interesting with Pvris in a live setting is hearing the extra edge they have on stage – while the electronic elements of their sound are the driving force of their album, when played live they add something raw and organic that, mixed in with the electronic parts, gives a full sound that shows just how hard Pvris can rock. The sheer driving force of the chorus of Fire underlines what a fine modern hard rock outfit they are, and the whole room shows its approval by bouncing in unison. Seeing them live, you also see just how close to their fans Pvris are and how much they appreciate their support; the band’s smiles stay fixed throughout their set and they regularly lean forward to high five the front row.
The entirety of their short, explosive set is a triumph but one of the most enduring moments was one that wasn’t supposed to have happened. During Pvris’ previous show in London, the band had played an acoustic version of Eyelids but, by their own admission, messed it up and as such had scratched it from tonight’s set list. But vocalist Lynn Gunn felt inspired by the Birmingham crowd to give it another go and thank goodness she did; of all the songs played tonight this one was the best platform for Gunn’s incredible voice, which ebbed and flowed over some gentle guitar licks. As she sang, the whole room was captivated and it was one of those moments where you start to see just how big Pvris could be. As if to emphasise their potential, they then return to full volume for a rousing finale of My House, which again has the room rocking and hints at very big things to come.
The only downside of the set was its length, as nine songs is somewhat shorter than you might expect from a headliner. But this a band taking baby steps towards what should be a very special career and no one seems too bothered when the set does come to a close. Besides, it’s always best to leave them wanting more and, if you’re heading to Slam Dunk next month, more of Pvris is exactly what you can get. If you can catch them then do so – this is a band that is going places.
Review and photos – Dave Musson