I’d asked twitter #harrogate if anyone had heard of the PIPS last night – they were billed to headline a free gig night at the Zoso late bar, Harrogate. Among the ensuing trickle of info I got back was a link -to a review from AMZ1981 which notes that PIPS are a “three piece outfit that are painfully difficult to describe” Intriguing. Challenge accepted.
Just before the gig, I bumped into CJI (metal.dubstep.alt DJ and Waking Theo front man) who also struggled with the description when I quizzed him but gave them a positive glowing approval… the bit about “they’re really good” continued to resonated throughout all pre amble, in parallel to the ‘hard to describe’ theme.
I only caught a glimpse of the last warm up band -as I was involving myself in general chinwaggery, downstairs in the venue’s bar. The attic room which is the first floor of Zoso is a cracking venue, there was a good amount of people in there – not so rammed that you couldn’t move, but busy. Atmosphere inducing.
The gig though – BANG – instalike. Their first number hooked me. The set up was 3 guys, 3 mics, a drummer, guitar and electric bass all brilliantly played. They oozed natural ability and were so very tight as a unit. Their stage presence was absorbing and charismatic – all three of them (when not singing 3 part harmonies) were grinning like the proverbial Cheshire cat. I was lucky enough to get ringside, on a chesterfield sofa (turned out nice again) with my mate Al. Several times we did that thing at a gig where you turn to you mate and nod, very approvingly. Their set was varied and every number was a winner. I particularly liked the addition of a female sax player for a couple of songs – another dynamic on top top of an already head meltingly complex sound. What gets me is, how come I’ve missed such a huge local talent until last night?
I’m in total agreement with the rest of the ‘hard to describe’ camp – but I’m going to have a go.. Red Hot Chili Peppers – particularly the Flea bass tonking, mixed with the Roll part of Rock n. I’m going to stick some early B52s in for quirky reference, and the way complicated patterns and unobvious melodies gelled together reminded me of Frank Zappa and perhaps the amount of hours these guys must have poured into getting it just right – also very Zapparish . The vibe was funk, the energy was punk. of An air of Beastie Boys in the way they bounced vocals about. I cheated though by asking Petch, a textbook cliche question : where would you say you draw your influences from? His reply included Chilli Peppers (no surprise there) and Rage Against The Machine and Primus (which makes a lot of sense).
Their own description of what they are wins the describe prize hands down though : “PIPS are a funk rock medley best viewed through a 1990s style pair of disposable sunglasses” Nailed.
I’m going to make a concerted effort to keep an eye out for future gigs – but I’ll have to wait 3 months or so as the drummer is off to Hollywood to teach drum for 3 months. He’s agreed to take an Adventure Club T-Shirt with him, so every cloud and all that.
They are playing tonight though – Carpe Diem in Leeds, if you’re out and about in L-Town – well worth a look.