Before this gig we’d never been to Scala before, and to be honest weren’t wasn’t massively impressed with it to begin with and not just because of the band. You can never really be in the best frame of mind for a weak gig, but on the night we ended up kind of walking through the crowd like a ghost. The whole place had a kind of distant feel to it on the night and with little in the way of good live action it just fell flat for us.
The support band to The Pains of Being Pure at Heart – an uninspiring, shouty band called Male Bonding – sounded crap and if we’re being honest we couldn’t really be sure if that was because they were crap or if it was to do with the crappy sound setup. Our guess is that it was a little from column A and a little from column B, but whatever the case, they definitely didn’t connect with the crowd, or us, in any real way.
After a long pause, POBPAH sort of slunk on stage as if they were testing the instruments for the real band, who would actually be putting their heart and soul into the shindig, but of course they weren’t. With the bad sounds and the seeming disinterest on their part, they looked more like ghosts than we felt like. It was the last night of their tour over here, and it seemed like they were definitely ready for home. In among the songs, they stopped for extended guitar tune-up moments, in which they mumble incoherently to us like they were talking to us from far far away.
Their songs were a blur, almost indistinguishable from each other, far too alike for a bad sound setup and a disinterested performance. Their singles Young Adult Fiction and Everything With You are the only stand out pseudo-stompers in the set, but sadly the rest were muted. Come Saturday was probably the low point of the night. The crowd had come with their oo-ooooh-oohs ready and the POBPAH didn’t really step things up enough to really grab them, leaving things pretty sour.
A few “wooo”s (mainly from blokes, bizarrely) later, and they trot off stage only to reappear after a short, lacklustre appeal for more. We don’t doubt that the audience of POBPAH fans had a good night, but if The Pains are ever going to win many more people over then they need to be a bit more into it than they were at the Scala. They seemed to have forgotten that they were living the dream, which meant the set was flat and uninteresting.
The Pains of Being Pure at Heart live at Scala review: 2.5/5`