For all of you out there who know me, it will be no surprise that I enjoy an over the top statement from time to time. The next statement is not over the top; rather it is both accurate and considered:
Puggy were the best live support band I saw in 2013
In testament to that statement, the 5 of us who saw them support Vampire Weekend together, all immediately signed up to see them again tonight. So when presented with the fact that the first show of 2014 would be this Belgian 3 piece (technically a 4 piece on the night) I was assured that this year would kick off with a bang.
Not only was this the first concert for the year it was also the first show in the small room at Paradiso for possibly a year, and having seen Puggy own the stage at HMH whilst supporting Vampire Weekend, I was surprised when this “sell out” show wasn’t moved onto the large stage. But there you go, what do I know about music promotion?
Standing there consuming a refreshing beverage pre-show, it was pointed out to me that on stage and the surrounding area, the band were incorporating 42 microphones. Bloody hell - what would they all do I thought? Not to mention a ridiculous amount of Guitar pedals, and I guess in hindsight the answer was they would be produce a bloody good sound.
The band is made up of a Swede on drums (who looked French), a Frenchie on bass (who looked Swedish) and an Englishman on keys, guitar and vocals (who looked pretty English). Add the fact that the band is “from” Belgium and it has all the makings of a good joke, but that is the last thing that these guys are. They are professional and very good at what they do, and what they do is rock-the-fuck-out!
Now what I hate to do is say that this is what a band is and to pigeon hole them into a particular sound. For these guys that is not really a problem because they sound like a lot of great bands. There are moments of Vampire Weekend quirkiness, then Phoenix rock melodies, and then there is a real epic Muse sound. But my favorite sound was the voice of Matthew Irons, and how he sounds like Freddy Mercury and towards the latter part of the set when the band were sparing with the crowd and getting a lot of crowd participation it was fantastic and to be completely honest I am sure Freddy would have been proud.
I don’t think over the course of the evening I saw any of them hit a wrong note. I mean I am sure they probably did but they all come across as super talented, swapping instruments at the drop of a hat and playing each of them with such precision that I nearly found myself in genuine astonishment more than once.
A lot of the songs ended in a good rock and roll jam style ending and one may have been done so a little too well as about a third of the way through the set the Bass player fried his amp, very sad also but very rock and roll.
And whilst this set appeared to be pretty similar to what we had seen them play previously it was still pretty bloody good. And the intertwining of the Chariots of Fire theme song and some Gershwin did make it a special performance. The three of them took center stage together for the last track of the evening “I’m Happy” ending the night on a very special note for all in the Paradiso. I mean you show me one person who didn’t leave “Happy” and I will show you a dead set bloody liar.
Fun, energy, musical ability, and all-round performance specialists were at the core of this team of musicians, what more could you ask. I mean even when their amplifier burst into flames they didn’t really stop to lament a fallen comrade rather they said a prayer and moved on.
I think these guys are destined for bigger and brighter things and it is only a matter of time before all good things come to these guys who wait.