The Big Pink / 2:54 @ Thekla, Bristol 08.02.12

Tonight, Bristol's floating venue, The Thekla, is reminiscent of an icebreaker treading through Arctic waters. It's so cold, that even in the bustling bar area you can see your breath condensing. This does nothing to deter opening act 2:54 though, who saunter on stage just after 8pm to perform their spectral psych-rock set. Garnering massive attention of their own, and with a headline slot at this very same venue already booked, 2:54 are making waves. Tipped as ones to watch for 2012 by critics everywhere, the sister act sky-rocketed with the viral reblogging of their only recorded song (at the time), 'Creeping'.

Feb 8th, 2012 at The Thekla, Bristol / By Larry Day
The Big Pink There's a faint essence of The xx in their sound as it ricochets around the room, echoing in every corner; and elements of Warpaint sidle across as the group spin hollow and yet somehow claustrophobic tracks to the growing audience. Meshing shoegaze-influenced indie with a dollop of classic rock bravado creates an intriguing blend of aural pleasures, and something fresh in the stale climate of cookie-cutter electro. The intense intimacy of the set is only heightened by the darkened lighting which keeps them just elusive enough to warrant a closer look. 2:54 glisten tonight, setting a high bar for their next Bristol showing in April.

After a minor technical hitch involving a missing microphone cable, The Big Pink wander onstage to near silence. If it's at all possible, the crowd seems to have unfortunately dwindled since the support act left. Opening on a cyclic bass-driven number, the London pair - backed by touring musicians - drown the crowd in expansive sound. Rolling from song to song without so much as a pause for thought, their feedback-rife psychtronica pummels all listeners. The bass levels tonight verge on the painful, and the drums are needlessly doubled - making the live drummer near obsolete. Vocals are dislocated from the music and the guitar is inaudible. Their sound engineer needs a stern talking to after tonight's shambolic levels.

Despite technical issues, massive singles like 'Velvet' and 'Stay Gold' are velvetine and golden, shining stark through the untameable chaos to provide a saving grace from the totalitarian bass. Synthmaster extraordinaire Milo Cordell rifles off liquid licks on 'Stay Gold', prompting fist pumps and wild pogo bouncing. The poppier numbers from The Big Pink are flawless, going down a right treat like wine at a 'book' club. Art-films are projected over the band and onto a blank canvas, images of flighty girls pirouetting and burning celluloid envelop the band, who are playing with a trance-like fervour.

Although The Big Pink have been blighted by sound problems, they still manage to pull back a damn enjoyable set. The recent album Future This is well received and the near frozen audience have a cracking time despite the temperature.