Live: Pengilly's + The Vagabond Trills at Brudenell Social Club, Leeds (28 Jan '11)
The first thing that struck me upon entering the Brudenell Social Club was how busy it was. It was clear that Pengilly’s, recently profiled on BBC 6Music (and this very blog), are starting to get the attention their talent deserves.
First though, was the support band, The Vagabond Trills. Their four female singers’ delicate harmonies were not quite given due deference by the audience, and thus suffered somewhat from the background chatter, fading into the hubbub somewhat.
Perhaps too, their songs lacked a little structural punch, and whilst their set was enjoyable enough, the band didn’t stand out as anything particularly special, but perhaps in a more intimate setting their strengths, barely glimpsed here, would shine through, for their performance still indicated they are a band of not inconsiderable talent.
Following a gap which was impressively brief, considering the number of instruments the band have to set up, Pengilly’s took to the stage, and frontman Ric Hollingberry’s strong voice immediately impressed during their as-yet-untitled opener. Throughout the set, their on-record strengths, such as the intricacy of their harmonies, and the careful instrumentation, were all spot on, testament to the skill level of all members of the group.
But as well as these qualities, which a listener to their music might expect anyway, the rhythm unit in a live setting proved itself to possess quite a groove, which underpinned the music terrifically. This particularly came to the fore in an exuberant version of R Kelly’s 'Ignition', which got the whole venue dancing and singing along.
However, despite having highlighted this cover, the original material of the rest of their set was by no means inferior. Tracks such as single 'Ode VIII' were melodious and catchy and heartfelt. Having seen the band before, it has sometimes been the case that their songs sprawl slightly into pleasant but not necessarily very focused noodling; but this flaw has almost been completely banished now, and the newer songs they performed showed the increasingly first-rate nature of Hollingberry’s songwriting.
Judging by the rapturous response from those present, I was not the only one to be impressed by this confident performance.
'Ode VIII' is out on iTunes now. For more details about Pengilly's, click here and for The Vagabond Trills, click here.