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Purson / Crosa Rosa (live at The 100 Club)

16 March 2016

I had not been to the 100 Club in many years, so had forgotten what a strange space it is. The fact that the stage is put against a side wall so there is actually more standing space either side of than in front of it is kind of odd. But in the end none of this mattered as I was there to witness Purson play again, and this band would be great wherever they performed.

Support tonight comes from Crosa Rosa, a band I had not heard of before, a three piece out supporting their new material “Simper Smiler” and “Pantophobia”. They are certainly energetic performers, giving every song an exploding amount of passion. Their sound reminds me a little bit of Blue Cheer meets some of the bands from the Pebbles albums, but it also has a touch of Nineties grunge about it. Most of the tracks seem pretty short and were clocking in at under three minutes. With track titles like “Butter Churn”, “Little Leper” and “Sheathe Your Teeth”, you can get the gist of what type of psychedelic world they inhabit and it will be interesting to hear a full album from the guys. They give a great blistering performance to get the audience warmed up for the headliners.

Purson live at the 100 Club March 2016

It’s almost exactly four years since I did my first review of Purson. At that point they had just released their first single and were third on the bill on a support slot for Comus. A few years later and with the odd member change they are about to unleash their second album Desire’s Magic Theatre, which is a leap forward in their sound and some of the most wonderful songs that singer/songwriter Rosalie Cunningham has yet penned. So no wonder tonight’s show is packed, as people want to hear the delights of what has been keeping the band in the studio for all this time.

The band look like they want to enjoy themselves tonight, especially drummer Raphael Mura, who seems to be having the time of his life while playing some wonderful fills and beats. Samuel Robinson sports an Eno-esque beret as he sits sentinel behind his keyboard. George Hudson and Justin Smith play fluidly and still manage to pull the odd rock’n’roll pose as they run through some fantastic licks, while Rosalie stands by her microphone, Gibson SG guitar slung about her neck and singing impassionedly as her voice somersaults over the songs.

Purson live at the 100 Club March 2016

Tonight the band give us a good selection of old and new songs, and it was interesting to see which oldies (but goldies) they had kept in their repertoire. Opening with the title track from their new album, the band storm in to their set with a take no prisoners attitude. New songs like “Electric Landlady” and “The Window Cleaner” enrapture the audience and shows off the band’s ’67 British psychedelic edge with aplomb; in fact, I detect a little bit of The Pretty ThingsS.F. Sorrow among The Beatles-style ambience.

But it’s when the band launch into classics such as “Spiderwood Farm”, “Leaning On A Bear” and their first single “Rocking Horse” that the audience begin to move and these songs are greeted with the loudest cheers. It’s interesting to see that they are still keeping “Well Spoiled Machine” from The Circle and the Blue Door in the set too.

Purson live at the 100 Club March 2016

The night moves at an effortless pace and you can hardly catch your breath between numbers before the band launch into another wonderful tune. My only complaint (if you can call it that) is that “Death’s Kiss” is left off the set list, so I hope that they will return to it at some point soon. Then we have “Tragic Catastrophe” to finish the evening off with, a song that blends all the great elements of Purson but gives an almost Ziggy Stardust-era Bowie twist to the whole affair. It’s proof that the band take on board all these influences and turn them into something that’s quite unique and very much their own sound.

There is not another band that really quite sounds like Purson around at the moment, so cherish their amazing music and catch them live if you can. Hopefully there will be some more UK dates added later in the year to support the album. I will leave the last word about the evening to a friend of mine who had not seen them live before and not really heard the albums when I asked him what he thought; he simply said “marvellous”.

-Words: Gary Parsons-
-Pictures: Dave Pettit-

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