Pure Love – The Zanzibar
Pure Love are the hopes and aspirations reformed of Frank Carter, former Gallows lead singer, and Jim Carroll, former Hope Conspiracy/Suicide Fire guitarist. Tonight is just their ninth show as a band, they don’t have an album out yet and in fact they’ve currently only released one single, 'Bury My Bones'. Both of their backgrounds lie in hardcore punk but Pure Love is a complete departure from their former sounds. The new approach is straight up, fast paced dance-your-ass-off rock. Most of these factors could easily lead to a non-descript performance and a disappointed audience; that however is not the case with Pure Love.
The Zanzibar is a tiny venue, with a miniscule stage pretty much on floor level, and raised seating around one edge of the room; and tonight the venue is packed. Pure Love open the show by stalking through the crowd to get to the stage, where they proceed to pass out free beers - obviously an instant hit with the crowd. Without further preamble they launch into 'She', it’s a huge rock song and anyone that doubted Carter could sing is silenced within the first thirty seconds of the show. Carter takes the opportunity before the next song to remind the crowd that they’re not in fucking London now and that they’re here to have some fucking fun!
And fun is definitely on the agenda, especially when Carter decamps from the stage at the beginning of third song “Beach of Diamonds”. He saunters out into the crowd; which instantly forms a respectable circle around him. The calm lasts for about half a minute before the crowd goes insane, Carter becomes the epicentre of a whirling frenzied mosh pit. Despite the chaos around him he remains centred and delivers a spectacular performance. It's clear the crowd are now entirely on board and loving every minute of it, and the band feeds off of their energy. Despite the fact that their singer has been absent from the stage for quite some time the band remains tight and synchronised, you almost have to wonder if telepathy isn’t another talent in this bands enviable bag of tricks. 'Bury My Bones', the bands first single, its an awesome track with catchy lyrics and great riffs. Everything about this band is solid and huge, from the driving guitars, to the pounding drums, to Carroll’s ferocious hair whipping, the whole band is a joy to watch and listen to. And whilst the band may have left behind the musical stylings of their hardcore punk former lives, the energy of their performance and the crowds response to it certainly haven’t.
'Handsome Devils Club' is delivered from on top of a bench in the raised seating area, Carter leaning out over the crowd and clearly reveling in the very special atmosphere created by the band and crowd in this tiny venue. This track has already had a significant amount of airplay and will have been released by the time you're reading this, the crowds familiarity with the song escalates the energy in the room yet higher, a sing along ensues accompanied by much jumping about. Raucous is perhaps the best way to describe it, it’s around about this point that I find myself having some kind of bizarre 'yoga at a rock show' moment, executing a less than perfect upward bow over Carroll’s amp thanks to the surging crowd. 'Burning Love' follows next and towards the end of the song Carter crowd surfs his way back to the stage.
Reunited with the rest of the band Carter implores the crowd to cuddle up to someone during the next song, proclaiming “Let's get some poeple pregnant tonight!”. 'Riot' closes out the set with Carroll taking a turn in the audience, leaning back and letting the front row support him whilst he wields his guitar with deadly skill. Before you know it the show is over, one minute their playing and the next Carter has stalked through the crowd once again, exiting the room before they’re even fully aware he’s left the stage.
Pure Love doesn't feel like a band just starting out, there’s no awkwardness and none of the insecurity that normally accompanies a band still in their infancy. Instead they feel like a stadium rock band playing an eagerly anticipated one off club show for their diehard fans. They could easily hold their own on huge stages, but its clear that small intimate venues, that lend themselves to Carter’s wanderings and close contact with the crowd, will always be where they shine. If there’s one thing that detracts from tonight's show its the fact that its all over and done with by 9:30, it's somewhat disconcerting to walk out into the dusky streets of Liverpool and realise that it's barely past the watershed but the show’s over. Somehow it felt like it lasted a lot longer and the night was much older whilst still inside the dark, sweaty confines of The Zanzibar.
If you're going to Reading or Leeds make sure you check them out, and when those October tour dates go on sale snap up a ticket fast, you won't be disappointed!