[click pics for larger versions – photos by Esau Laniado]
This past Monday at the Casbah proved once again why it’s a good plan to arrive early for shows and catch the opening acts. Your worst case scenario is that you get to hang out, have a couple of beers and socialize, but more often than not, if you give these support groups a chance, you should find something to enjoy about them. PINS, who, like headliners The Subways, hail from England, provided strong evidence to support my theory. The way I see it, if you can’t enjoy an act as good as PINS you probably don’t really like rock ‘n’ roll that much!
PINS may be from Manchester, but if they want to move to San Diego they would fit right into our local music scene. Their mix of noisy but melodic guitar-led music, with influences as wide as shoegaze, surf, riot grrrl and lots of garage-rock would feel right at home here. The band, featuring Faith Holgate on lead vocals and guitar, Lois McDonald on lead guitar, Anna Donigan on bass, Sophie Galpin on drums, and Kyoko Swan on keys, were quite dynamic and could go from a soft melodic passage to a ferocious wall of sound. Some of the best moments came when all the PINS would sing together – sometimes in unison with gang vocals and at others with layered harmonies.
PINS were also adept at getting the crowd involved in the show. The Casbah was filling up nicely for their set, but San Diego audiences often take a wait-and-see approach before giving it up for bands they don’t know. Holgate decided to just take things into her own hands, though, and went out into the crowd – as she was singing – and took the hand of a girl near the front and started dancing with her. This, of course, got everyone moving, and by the end of the set the crowd was completely engaged. If someone had walked in right then, they might have thought PINS were the headliners!
I had a chance to speak with Holgate after the show and she told me that they had just played the Casbah recently and that this show went a lot better for them. I took that to mean that the crowd was larger and more active during their set. My prediction is that by the next time they come through town they’ll be able to count on San Diego from the start!
Here are a couple of videos I took from the show:
Both songs are off PINS’ 2013 debut album, Girls Like Us. I haven’t heard that record yet but I did pick up their second LP, 2015’s Wild Nights, at the show and can confirm this record is going to get a lot of play! Apparently they recorded it at the famous Rancho de la Luna studio in Joshua Tree (that’s the location in the Palm Desert that Dave Grohl featured in his Sonic Highways series) and their producer, Dave Catchling, managed to keep PINS’ distinctive character while also helping them achieve a bigger and more varied sound.
You can check out more about PINS here on their website: wearepins
All photographs are by Esau Laniado at www.instagram.com/esaulaniado.