The Pineapple Thief at O2 Institute 2Support: O.R.k
March 23, 2019 at O2 Institute 2
Promoter: Snapper Music
For want of a better word, the English progressive rock scene is a bit inbred. There are many bands that tread the line between heavy and soft, between conventional and quirky, and there are many that share band members. Since Porcupine Tree went on hiatus, The Pineapple Thief seem to be the poster boys for this scene. It is rather fitting that percussionist Gavin Harrison belongs to both acts. The Pineapple Thief also manage to maintain a consistent cycle of recording and touring, and in their current rotation, they are touring last year’s Dissolution.
Opening the night was O.R.k, whose make up (fitting with the theme) includes Colin Eldwin from Porcupine Tree, and Pat Mastelotto who currently plays with King Crimson. If anything, the band sounded almost too pure. Each beat was perfectly placed, and each note was so well balanced, it was hard to believe it hadn’t been touched up in the studio. Lorenzo Farnasari has a great range, offering the low bass notes one might expect in a gothic-rock song, with the raspy high notes famed by the late Chris Cornell; ‘Kneel to Nothing’ probably exemplifies this best.
On their latest album, Serj Tankian of System of a Down provides vocals on ‘Black Blooms’; live, guitarist Carmelo Pipitone performs Tankian’s parts. Other notable songs included ‘Signals Erased’ and ‘Beyond Sight’. The songs were filled with ambience, progressive licks and heavier thumping tones, the latter driven by Eldwin’s bass. It was great to see such well-known prog-elites sharing a smaller stage and exploring similar, yet new ideas together.
The Pineapple Thief entered to ‘Try as I Might’ off their latest album, amidst an array of cool blue lighting. Following ‘In Exile’, the subtleties were washed away with the powerful ‘Alone at Sea’ from 2014’s Magnolia. Whilst the music is always interesting and memorable, it can be forgotten just how good these guys are as musicians. Gavin Harrison needs no introduction, but session guitarist George Marios lets rip on his guitar at just the right time without taking away from the songs. There is no virtuosic masturbation, rather a beautiful demonstration of song writing and musical poetry.
The set carried on with other songs from Dissolution like ‘Shed A Light’, ‘Threatening War’, with an encore of ‘Not Naming Any Names.’ They also reminded everyone just how long the band had been around with ‘Part Zero’ and ‘3000 Days’ before closing the night with a masterful performance of ‘Snowdrops’.
It was a very intimate show, but the Institute 2 was packed out with people from all ages and walks of life. This sort of venue is beneficial to a group whose music is built on intimacy and subtlety. Their show certainly captured many people’s minds and attentions and there is a fair chance many people there were companions, who have now discovered decades old back-catalogue of music to browse. As long as The Pineapple Thief continue to turn out albums of a good quality, and perform them to this standard, then they continue to be a strong representative for British music.