The Loft, Southampton


So Pip Blom in the Loft, Southampton. Pip Blom are one of “those” bands, a band that you see on an undercard, in a small venue and are blown away by. Go back to 2017 and Transmission has put on an event with Surfer Blood, Pip Blom, and Honeymoons. In the pre-gig write-up, Pip Blom don’t even get a mention, but on the night, they steal the show. Then you spot them playing locally a little while later, this time courtesy of the excellent We Broke Free team and they’ve managed to get them to Bournemouth’s 60 Million Postcards for Independent Venue Week, they’re every bit as good in March 2019 as they were in 2017. Then they play the Southampton prestigious venue the Joiners in May 2019, with all this constant touring and a new album to promote, they’ve kicked on and you’re blown away, they play bigger shows, they play the John Peel stage at Glasters. Then Covid hit us. There’s no escaping it, Pip Blom’s route towards the top tier has hit a bit of setback. Through this period, they’ve reached out to fans, delivered LPs by hand, set up Backstage group, and worked on some new material in UK isolation, in Ramsgate. They’ve pushed on. And so, Pip Blom in the Loft Southampton, with the Bug Club in support.

The Bug Club are a sharp minded, tight three-piece guitar (Sam Willmett), Bass (Tilly Harris) and drums (Dan Matthews) and play out an eclectic sound that plays around with jangly guitars and delicious bass and then hit the distortion pedal to garner some feedback out of the Vox amp. Perhaps the best piece of smiley drumming I’ve ever had the pleasure to witness as Dan Williams taps out his intricate beats, the smile only disappearing when he goes into full-speed mode and the band power out their top-edge songs. (Ted score – 5.7)

The Bug Club
The Bug Club 123456

The Loft is an old-school music venue, a bit of space seemingly borrowed amongst an 80s night-club development, all manner of bars appealing to all types of night-goers, the Loft is for the music types. Dark, low lit, low ceiling, sticky carpet, smallish and wide and shallow to the stage, perhaps a strange choice to re-unleash Pip Blom back into the South. Onwards, they walk on stage to a great “welcome back” type, expectant cheer and get straight into it with “You Don’t Want This” their new release from the forthcoming Welcome Break album, and now playing on the BBC 6 Music playlist. The mixed crowd, young and old jiggle and wiggle to their crisp, clever jangly indie-pop. Once in a while three or four keenies break into a mini-mosh, it’s not an Idles scale mosh, and it soon calms back to a more inclusive, energetic movement.

Pip (Blom) drives her way through her vocals, Darek (Mercks) bounces energetically up and down between pedaling effects and keyboards sounds, I think he’d be really at home in a 70s Mark Walberg film. Gini (Cameron) is amazing on the drums, how she keeps going with that intensity is amazing. Stand-out performance of the night has to be Willem (Smit) on guitar. Tender Blom has been taken ill ahead of the tour, some dates are rescheduled, and Willem has stepped in a pretty last-minute move to keep the tour on track, playing guitar and providing backing vox seamlessly, letting loose with the pedal and giving it extra-large on the wig-outs.

Pip Blom
Pip Blom 123456

The band smile towards each other, give each other positive vibes across the stage, and plough through both the hits we know and the new songs that we will come to love. I saw the final Oasis tour in a similar vibe, where the new album wasn’t yet known and the old tracks were. On reflection, this gig had that similar vibe. It was new, so curious to explore with them. The world-wide shortage of vinyl has meant that the album that this tour was meant to coincide with, hasn’t, it comes out after the tour.

Pip Blom have come over from Amsterdam all earnest, clever, right on it, full of clever, catchy pop tunes that have a little extra edge live. But a little something missing, that little extra spark. Sometimes it does come from one of the band not being there, sometimes it comes from the crowd not quite being right there, sometimes it’s the inescapable fact that this enforced break from live music has knocked some of the stuffing out of some of us. Perhaps coming out of lockdown we want more, we crave more, we expect more. Don’t get me wrong, Pip Blom is a top, top, band, and one to watch in the coming year. If you get a chance you should definitely see them.

The final hurrah of “Daddy Issues” and “Keep It together” prove the fact, completely at home with these songs, band, and crowd are at one enjoying the feeling of being back in a live music gig with a great band. And something special that Pip Blom do that more bands need to do, they come out say hello to us and sign anything we want, especially if it merch. I get a chance to say thank-you to Willem and tell him what a great job he’s done on the night, he can’t wait to tuck into the three Red Stripes he’s carrying from the rider, I think he’s deserved them and I can’t wait for them to come back to us again.

Set List
Pip Blom
You Don’t Want This
Don’t Make It Difficult
Sorry
Tinfoil
Pussycat
Ruby
Come Home
Tired
School
Demo-2
I Know I’m Not Easy to Like
Daddy Issues
Keep It Together

Links
https://www.facebook.com/pipblommusic
https://www.facebook.com/thebugclubband

Words by Ski Daddle.
Pictures by Matthew Rayner.

Pip Blom

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