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Tuesday, 3 April 2012

Live – Pugwash, The Borderline, London

The Borderline, London, Saturday March 31st

Waiting outside for my pal and hearing music that sounded like Madonna's chirpy ’80s pop I was filled with horror. Was this the wrong night? Apparently not, I wrongly assumed that the music from the gay bar next door was the support act. All the same, we headed off to The Pillars Of Hercules for a couple of  swift Timothy Taylors before we entered that dark, dank subterranean venue for music and over priced lager.

On our return a very jolly chap called David Myhr was entertaining a throng of older people. His band of sprightly all ages Swedes sounded like The Boo Radleys and Dodgy sprinkled with an air of ’60s bubblegum and clean, Eric Carmen pop. Goddamn it, it was just so bleedin' happy, they were so annoyingly bouncy. I almost had to puke. One can only take so much sunshine without a hat and shades.

Thankfully when the modish Tosh Flood entered with his Fender Jazzmaster and a jovial Thomas Walsh with his vintage Burns... but hey, let's forget the guitar anorakism, I'm just making a statement...  it was apparent that Pugwash meant business. Playing material from all of their albums with a big focus on the latest and best, The Olympus Sound, these lovely Irish fellas upped the stakes, playing with a tougher edge than on the records: Thom's vocals, the band's accompanying harmonies and, notably, Tosh's psychedelic guitar moves created a controlled, yet forceful dynamic.

They should have been Oasis and have more fun and energy than the Fannies – yes, they're fucking great. If the blend of XTC and ELO that comes across on the albums may be too tame or produced for some ears, in the live arena they take the best elements of guitar driven pop, amp it up a bit and prove what a brilliant band they are. My pal, myself and a horde of comedians loved them. Deservedly so.
Jon 'Mojo' Mills

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