2nd November | The Crofter’s Rights
Pixx’s music has the transcendent ability to transport you to a different place. Conjuring evocative and cosmic sounds, The Age of Anxiety explored ambiguous penchants for differing genres, moulding each definitive element into distinctive and intriguing pop that let you fly but not too far from the ground. Within the close confines of The Crofters Rights this evening the atmosphere should be just right for the idiosyncratic subtleties of Pixx’s sound – the small, warehouse like room a focused setting for the rhythms to be explored. Unfortunately, due to various elements, such deserved expression can’t be reached, something made worse when it’s out of the hands of the artist performing.
South London’s Sorry have been the subject of constant anticipation over the last few months, the sudden release of their first mixtape Home Demo/ns Vol I last month rounding off a year of gigging insurmountably around London. Now outside of their comfort zone on this tour with Pixx, the sound doesn’t quite match up to the excitement. Where on record their timid complexities break through wonky, minimal electronics and yearning guitars, live they lose their distinctiveness, a low distracting hum emanating from their grungy rhythms rather than the considered fluidity we know they possess as a group. It feels like they are perhaps trying too purposefully to sound rough, attempting to find spontaneity within the muffled noise, sadly though that is lost.
To be fair to both Sorry and Pixx, the sound tonight is poor, both acts unable to hear anything through the monitors, with both consistently asking for them to be turned up without much success, making them unaware if things are even playing at all. It’s at this juncture where Pixx’s set is undeservedly compromised, leaving a bitter taste by the set’s end.
At this point, it feels important to mentioned the behaviour of select members of the crowd. While they in no way represented the whole number in attendance, the disrespectful behaviour of some at the show left a cold and disappointing atmosphere, and when considered alongside the sound issues left a lot to be desired. To those select attendees, if you wish to come to a show in Bristol and mock and tirade other people, in particular friends within the Bristol music circle, please do not come, as you will not be welcome.
So to Pixx, who grace the stage with high spirits and colourful glitter to boot. It takes a couple songs into the set, through deep album-closer ‘Mood Ring Eyes’ and the atmospheric ‘A Big Cloud to Float Upon’ to realise that the whole synth section isn’t actually being heard, the keyboards, laptop and additional synths a massive part of Pixx’s sound. It leaves the guitars, drums and Hannah Rodgers’ vocal to carry the set, and sadly it only shows the paint-by-numbers session playing of the rhythm section, their lacking personality in playing a distinct constraint to Rodgers’ music. It begins to pick up in earnest for the latter half of the set, the salvo of esoteric pop that informs ‘Waterslides’, ‘Grip’ and ‘Romance’ showing the wealth of craft there is within the songs, Rodgers’ understated vocal a powerful and sharp draw. Closing out with the bracing and emotive ‘I Bow Down’, it’s a pleasingly emphatic end to a sadly hampered performance, the work of Pixx deserving a crystalline sound for which to explore the depth of its possibilities.
Watch the video for “I Bow Down” below.