Pumarosa at Academy 3, Manchester, UK – 21st November 2019

Posted by Bianca on Thursday Nov 21, 2019 Under Alternative, Indie

Review + Photography by Frank Ralph

The wealth of options available to music lovers of Manchester on this particular Thursday night with the likes of Yonaka, Tokio Myers and Mancunian legends the Happy Mondays all playing within a ½ mile radius you’d be spoilt for choice if you wanted to see a gig. I opted for London based Pumarosa and boy was I glad I did.

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Their 2017 album The Witch was one of my favourites of the year and with this year’s Devastation also being a gem of an album I was excited to see them live for the first time.

Manchester’s Academy 3 may not be the most glamorous of venues but it’s dark and smoky vibe suited this show perfectly, and even three quarters full it felt like we were about to see something special as the five members of Pumarosa took the stage.

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They don’t sound like much out there, but with echoes of familiar sounds including nods to Portishead and even Foals at times they create a wonderful layered sonic wall that you can easily get lost in. The subtle rattlesnake shake of a tambourine adds to Isabel’s multi-layered vocals, which float over some seriously catchy bass lines, trippy beats and warming saxophone.

With most of the band rooted to the spot throughout the performance, the frenetic movements of Isabel were amplified and the light show emanating from the back of the stage made everything feel bigger than it was.

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Now, I’ve seen many great shows and heard many great bands over the years, but I can count one hand the number of times that I’ve experienced anything near as glorious as the 8 or so minutes that Pumarosa were playing Priestess tonight. The whole band were locked into a deep hypnotic, trance like groove that just transported the whole room to a completely different place.

They’re way more than a one-track wonder though. Everything that preceded it was great and everything that followed it was great too but there was just something about that track, three quarters of the way through the show that just marked it out as special.

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If I were told I could only relive 8 minutes of my life over and over again I’d be hard pushed to think of anything to choose that would be more enjoyable than that. If you get the opportunity to witness it you should take it.

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