The Old Blue Last – 10th January

Puma Blue. A Google Search that will throw up pages of shit trainers and one unique band from Southy Easty. Puma for the cagey, twitchy power of singer/head-honcho Jacob Allen. Blue for the feels you get when listening to his sexy falsetto mingle with what Brainchild Festival’s precis astutely described as the downtown saxophone present across their music.

Frontgeezer Allen has an emotive, fragile voice that you feel could go anywhere, but mainly sticks around the middle-C of your heart strings, strumming away in the Lauryn Hill-approved manner. The band seem to have a strictly no-dancing policy, despite hitting out some very groovable tunes, and the jazzy/soul influences of the group give the whole thing a Chet Baker ‘Big-City-Lonely-Little-Boy’ vibe that makes you look back on the night as if it all happened in black-and-white. Would be good sex music for sure.

The show was part of DIY’s annual ‘Hello <insert year>’ promotion, which is like a “Come and see these bands we think are gonna be big this year!” kinda deal. This great series of shows is free (so go to the next one!). But the fact there’s free entry can in no way be used to detract from the fact that this was the most packed venue I have ever been to. Seriously, you couldn’t move enough to throw up some ironic gang signs, it was rammed.

Even more impressively for Puma Blue, when I managed to un-sardine myself at the end of the set, there was a queue stretching all the way from the front door of the building to the venue entrance upstairs.

Have you ever seen people queueing inside a pub? It’s disconcerting. Pubs and queuing are both proud British Institutions, but they certainly don’t mix naturally. It’s not normal behviour. If a band can get people excited enough to make an orderly queue inside a pub, then something big must be happening.

Listen: Puma Blue.

Photo by Reuben Bastienne Lewis.