Live Review: Pupil Slicer – Birmingham

Pupil Slicer - Devil's Dog - Blossom - Birmingham

Live Review: Pupil Slicer - Devil's Dog, Birmingham
10th April 2024
Support: Coilguns and God Alone.
Words: Matt Noble
Photos: Tim Finch

First up at the Devil's Dog is Cork's God Alone., who entertain with a jaunty, cacophonous take on math punk with flavourings of spacey prog. Playing mostly instrumental music, with dual vocal screams occasionally breaking up the frantic intricacies and FX-heavy musical lines, God Alone. jump and dive around the stage with unbridled enthusiasm yet watertight synchronicity. The drumming in particular is highly technical and polyrhythmic, with an impressive range of influences and beats that really serves as the beating heart of the music. Sometimes there's even a dancey, disco feel to what's going on. It's weird and wonderful and feels very appropriate in opening this tour.

Photo Credit: Tim Finch Photography

Second up are the Swiss Coilguns, whose impassioned, emotive performance keeps the energy flowing for almost an hour. Drawing from a smorgasbord of quirky influences, mostly in the vein of noise, punk and math, their presence is eccentric and their songs are unconventional - yet suit tonight's show perfectly and leave a good impression on the audience. With three on the mic at times, the vocal presence is seriously potent, with lead vocalist Louis boasting a thunderous roar.

When not leaping around the stage or preaching heartfelt social messages he sometimes doubles up on guitar for extra shoegazey effects. The drumming is also effective in creating atmosphere, particularly over the tom-heavy 'Venetian Blinds'. The techy 'Featherweight' takes on a heavier, guitar-centric tone towards the end, which is notably well received.

Photo Credit: Tim Finch Photography

Tonight belongs to Pupil Slicer, on the first night of their first headline tour - where last year's excellent 'Blossom' is to be played in full. The gentle intro to 'Glaring Dark of Night' makes way for its frenetic mathcore song body, and the energy in the room suddenly spikes in response. 'Departure in Solitude' goes on to spark the first pit of the night the first time it's ever played live. It really is electric on and off the stage.

Pupil Slicer sound professional and tight, operating at a high standard, expertly navigating the complex, blistering mathcore they're known for. There's lots on Blossom, though, that shows their evolution and maturity on their sophomore record. 'Language of the Stars' is especially dreamy tonight, and the softer post-rock sections allow Kate's soothing falsetto voice to soar when not attacking with a crisp, piercing scream.

Photo Credit: Tim Finch Photography

Kate fronts with real passion and zeal, and Pupil Slicer's new bassist is confident and self assured with his technical runs and percussive slaps on what must be one of the first (if not the first) performances with him in the band. It's an impressively strong start to the tour from one of the biggest breakthroughs in the UK post-pandemic that cements them further on the live circuit.

Photo Credit: Tim Finch Photography

Photo Credits: Tim Finch Photography

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