On Saturday 23rd February 2013, after 30 years, The Pulse released their debut album to the world with a special, potentially one-off, show at The Fermain Tavern with support from Last of the Light Brigade.
The Pulse originally existed for a couple of years in the early 1980s in which time they built up a dedicated fanbase and wrote an album’s worth of material they never recorded. Following a supposed one-off show last year to mark frontman Chris Dean’s ‘retirement’ from live music they reconvened in the studio to lay down the tracks and that has led to this.
Last of the Light Brigade have also been away for a while (though not quite as long as The Pulse) and were back on their old storming form with the indie-rock-mod-punk explosion.
Nostalgia can be an odd thing, many times looking back on the past is done through heavily rose-tinted spectacles that leads to newcomers just not getting it, I’m sure I’m guilty of this with some thing as much as anyone else.
Before I get to the subject of this particular nostalgia though we have the evening’s ‘support act’ (a phrase I still find odd in a musical community like Guernsey’s where we are pretty much all enthusiastic amateurs, albeit at different stages of our development), Last of the Light Brigade.
It’s been a while since Last of the Light Brigade took to their stage in full force, in fact I think i we’ve seen these boys playing their original set since the end of their UK and Channel Island tour last autumn, so I was certainly looking forward to reveling in their indie-mod sounds.
Taking the time off from Last of the Light Brigade and playing a few gigs in their cover band mode of Stratosfear, as well as heading into the studio again, seems to have reignited the fire under the band who played what was one of the best sets I’ve seen them deliver.
Playing second fiddle at the gig like this is always going to be a challenge when it comes to engaging with the audience but, as their set went on, the applause and cheers grew for LOTLB and rounding off the set with a few songs featuring Andy Coleman on keys saw them really finish things on storming form and more than set the scene for the evening’s headliners.
With a new EP out in a month or so it seems Last of the Light Brigade are getting back into their stride at just the right moment and I for one am looking forward to hearing their new recorded material and seeing them live again soon as they support Wilko Johnson in March.
After some great selections from DJ SilvaVespa which really upped the feeling that we’d somehow slipped back in time 30 years or so, it was time for the real nostalgia to kick into its high gear as The Pulse took to the stage for their first full set in possibly 30 years (their last show was about a year ago as part of frontman Chris Dean’s retirement show).
Having been only three months old when the band split on New Year’s Day 1983 I never had a chance to experience The Pulse first time round so, while most were reveling in nostalgia, things were a bit different for me and, going in, I will admit to being a bit worried that the hype, enthusiasm and general raving I had encountered would fall flat when I actually got to see the band.
Thankfully, this wasn’t the case, and from the start of their set the band were on top form.
Playing a set of songs written 30 years ago there were a few that had a certain, understandable, hint of the 80s in terms not only of style, but subject, while this did make them feel a little dated it never effected the energy of the songs which built and built across the set and, songs like Recession and Fashion, have come round to be perfectly suitable to the modern world again.
If The Pulse started their set well they only got better as they were soon joined for a few numbers by their brass section ‘The Blue Vein Shuffle’ (I’m sure the joke was funnier in the 80’s, but what the hell, it’s all in good fun even now) which upped the funk element of their electro-pop-punk sound and really brought out the extra dance-y elements of the music.
While the whole band were on top form it was, as I guess is fitting, frontman (and birthday boy) Chris Dean who stole the show as he not only seemed to be having the most fun I’ve seen someone have on stage in a very long time, but also showed off his own musical acumen switching from guitar to bass to keyboard and back to guitar several times with apparent ease and his rapport with both his bandmates and the crowd goes to show why he still retains such a high status, in some circles, as one of the island’s best frontmen.
With Red Day In Dallas (one of my highlights from the band’s new album), The Pulse took things into higher gear as they neared the end of their set and I think it is testament to their songs that, 30 years after many in the audience last heard them, they were still singing along.
As the packed out Tav brought the band back on for an extended encore which saw them reprise of few of the tracks from earlier in the night, The Pulse’s potentially one-off show ended on a real high with both the band and audience joining one another in a real sense of celebration.
While I may not have been riding the wave of nostalgia that most in attendance were, its safe to say the gig was great fun and both bands were playing at the top of their game.
Whether this is the last we see of The Pulse always remains to be seen, but, if it was, it was a more than suitable way to go out!
Guernsey Gigs were also on hand at the show and got video of The Pulse’s entire set!