Piroshka @ Brudenell Social Club, Leeds, 31 Mar

The new band from former members of Lush and Elastica, Piroshka play it safe tonight at Leeds' Brudenell Social Club

Live Review by Jemima Skala | 05 Apr 2019
  • Piroshka

To introduce Piroshka is to unveil a slate wiped clean. It's a new musical beginning for four old hands of the music industry: former Lush frontwoman Miki Berenyi, former Moose guitarist K.J. ‘Moose’ McKillop, Modern English bassist Mick Conroy and former Elastica drummer Justin Welch. The relationships between them are intertwined, and they go so far back that it's difficult to untangle them from one another. With such a past, expectations are high as to what their performance will bring to the well-trodden stage at Leeds’ Brudenell Social Club.

As Piroshka start, it's clear they play very much for themselves. The band are insular, looking in on themselves, or fiddling with guitars and amps rather than at their notably blokey audience. Rather than isolating them from the crowd, it's fascinating to watch how a band can stay so in sync and connected with each other: testament to their long-standing and deep-rooted relationships.

Piroshka are at their best when they are angsty. Songs like This Must Be Bedlam and Everlastingly Yours are swampy and with a drum line that sits back on the beat, conveying a real couldn’t-care-less attitude. Aside from this, their live performance feels rather like safe territory for such experienced musicians. What with each of their former bands being such pillars of their own scenes, they evidently know what works for them. When translated to a live setting, it feels like déjà vu, and something just isn’t quite connecting. That's not to say that each new band needs to reinvent the wheel, but it's a shame, in having every musician playing all the time, that the intricate layering of their recorded material is lost.

Ending on a cover of The Au Pairs’ It’s Obvious, Piroshka stay true to their musical roots throughout the performance. As the lights come up, it feels like rather than utilising this to their advantage, they've instead played it safe, not quite allowing themselves to push it. Of course, this is their first tour together as an outfit, and one cannot expect perfection. Maybe the second time around they'll have cemented a performance that's more confident in itself rather than using old tricks for self-preservation.