The Hop, Wakefield
8th July 2011
Last year Rhubarb Bomb ran an article on Pylon under its ‘Lost Bands’ header. The case for the prosecution to them being ‘lost’ was that they never completely fulfilled the potential they seemed to have. They were adored in Wakefield. They were part of a tight collective of amazing musicians and friends who made Wakefield an interesting place to be. They influenced a whole range of bands, as well as record labels, promoters and fanzine writers. But after the release of their debut album (proceeded by two EPs) they split, with a farewell gig pencilled in for Out of Spite Festival, 2007. As often seemed to be the case in those last few years, it fell through. Next week they play that final gig at Out of Spite. But tonight we have the amazing honour of seeing them in Wakefield and, goodness me, I’m excited.
It has been interesting talking about Pylon recently, as RB has on its Long Division Podcasts. I’m just old enough to remember seeing them at what was perhaps their prime during my late teens - the right age to be hooked. But to some of the bands coming through now they are just a name, partly mythical perhaps. So it was pleasing to see a real mix of people in the crowd. Those hot young things and those who remember it the first time round. One of my first gig experiences was seeing Pylon at Players – it was in that same venue around that time I was given a flyer advertising a coach trip to Joseph’s Well, Leeds to see the band that eventually became The Cribs. It’s good to see 2 of the Jarmans down to pay their respects.
Which makes it sound terribly austere. It wasn’t. It was fucking awesome.
Apologies are due to the support acts – I didn’t bother. I was here for one band and one band only. I was right down the front. The band looked a little nervous setting up. Rob Taylor is tootling on his Hammond and that classic sound (to these ears) takes me way back. I can see the setlist at the feet of singer Joe. There’s plenty to get through.
Pylon kick things off and instantly the sound is huge. I think the new PA in The Hop might be slightly too loud. Though to be fair I’m stood RIGHT NEXT TO IT. The sound is immense and the energy instantaneous. They kick off with a couple of earlier EP tracks, ones I’ve not heard for a while. But, somewhere deep in the recesses of my mind lie those words and melodies and I’m singing along. How much useless rubbish rattles around our brains? By the time they launch into ‘Name In Lights’, opener from their debut, the whole room is in rapture. The band are having a great time, there are smiles all round. There’s banter from the crowd and I’m sure I saw the raffle guy from the old ‘For The Love Of The Game’ nights.
About half way through it feels like they’ve played all their songs. But they keep digging out the ‘hits’, every one a gem I’d half forgotten. The pure power of Pylon is in their melodic abilities. Through the ear ringing howl the vocal hooks shine through. Every song over flowing with some shining, optimistic beauty. Because I’ve only had their recorded output to enjoy over the last FIVE YEARS I’d forgotten the power of them as a live band.
There’s something amounting to perfection in these songs, some untouchable glimmer of a singular, complete moment. Standing there I feel like I could actually be watching the best band that has ever existed. Now I know that sounds ridiculous but rather than a comment on their songwriting or WHATEVER, I’m really getting at the ideas of what makes a band ‘great’. Pylon are so unknown in the grand scheme of things but watching them inspires because it backups what you already know; that ‘local’ bands, ‘obscure’ bands, LOST bands can mean the world – and in this case they have the tunes to back it up. Pylon write such amazing, anthemic music they could be huge. But they don’t need to be huge to be amazing. Out of every band playing in the world tonight, Pylon could be the greatest but the only people who will ever know are the 100 or so in this room. That’s a good feeling.
So anyway, yeah, I quite enjoyed myself. I’m glad I got to see them again before they disappear for good. In a week where RB has also seen Pulp come back from the dead, it naturally leads to introspection and the nature of all this band malarkey. But looking back, as much as I love Pulp and they are one of the most important bands EVER to me – I FELT MORE hearing ‘Yo Yo Blue’ than Disco 2000 – because Disco 2000 feels like a point in time, wonderful nostalgia. ‘Yo Yo Blue’ and the rest, have something to give TODAY. I hope they manage to play more shows and even make more records. But the magic they had, and have again tonight, lives on in Wakefield and if that torch continues to be passed on, we have nothing at all to worry about.
Pylon play their last ever gig at Out Of Spite on July 17th
Pylon’s music is available here: http://pylon.bandcamp.com/