21st February, The Waiting Room
To celebrate the release of their new album Distance, Canadian trio Pick a Piper are currently in the midst of a European tour. Fronted by percussion maestro Brad Weber who also plays in the Caribou live band, theirs is a near seamless masterclass of cohesive performance; colourful, engaging and bursting with energy.
We arrive in time to catch the latter part of South London four piece Groves’ set. An awkward telling off from the sound engineer mid-way through their show leaves them visibly thrown, and their interaction with the crowd between songs feels slightly nervous. They look to each other with encouraging smiles of reassurance and I instantly warm to them. They have an aura of endearing togetherness. Groves’ summer-apt guitar riffs layered with dreamlike synth and hazy harmonies are reminiscent of the likes of Tame Impala. As they close with their upcoming single ‘Savour’ there’s no doubt that their vibrant textures and laidback vocals would be perfectly suited to a festival setting and it’s a fitting warm up for what’s to come.
Pick a Piper take to the stage and despite a few sound check stumbles their slick unity is immediately evident. No surprise there as Weber’s bandmates are lifelong friends Angus Fraser and Dan Roberts. They’re set up to face one another in a way which allows the crowd to watch the manipulation of their instruments in fantastic detail. For this the decision to use The Waiting Room with its limited capacity is a perfect choice. With a sound that’s so driven by percussion it’s captivating to see their performance in such close proximity.
Weber’s energy particularly is contagious. He leaps up and down decked out in a multi-coloured Tetris t-shirt, occasionally pausing to swig from a coffee flask. He’s visibly having fun in excess as I spot Dan Snaith watching with appreciation from the back of the room. Opening with xylophone heavy ‘Flood of my Eyes’, Pick a Piper make their way through much of their new LP Distance, including ‘Further and Further’, ‘Nikko’ and ‘Geographically Opposed’. As Pick a Piper continue to develop it would be great to see the vocalists that feature on the album (LLLL, ShadowBox) join them on stage.
The show comes to a close with a victorious crescendo of drumming as electric blue strobes flash across the enchanted crowd.
Buy: Pick a Piper – Distance.