5th June | Louisiana
Photos: Callum O’Keefe
Heavenly Recordings’ Dutch four-piece, Pip Blom return to Bristol to showcase their debut album, Boat with an electrifying sold-out performance at The Louisiana.
They said that if Maradona didn’t do drugs, he’d have easily been the best player of his generation. He, however, still managed to be. We could say similar about Pip Blom’s performance, drugs aside, if some promotion game hadn’t squeezed two gigs into two hours. The Dutch band, though, just like 1974 Netherlands, excuse another football reference, are an unstoppable, perfectly-oiled mechanism. The four-piece prove to be one of the most electrifying live acts around. Synergy is Pip Blom’s best feature, just like with Rinus Michel’s total football.
With less than a week for the audience to familiarise with debut album, Boat and a band slightly fatigued by the intense touring schedule, the gig hesitates to take off, but when it does it is pure adrenaline. Pip Blom’s new tracks blend well with previous singles like ‘Daddy Issues’ and ‘Come Home’, which have already acquired anthemic status. The general vibe sets on fuzzy garage, lo-fi soundscapes with many references to New York indie à-la Parquet Courts and Strokes. Pip Blom magnificently manage to bring together hip indie kids and BBC6 Music dads, proving that guitar music still has something to say in Europe.
Maybe it’s the homogeneity of Boat’s sound, or the fact the band still has to get up to speed with the extended set, but Pip Blom seems to thrive more enjoyably in short, energetic gigs that match the songs’ intensity. It’s a pity that one of the album’s highlights, slow number ‘Bedhead’ doesn’t find space in the setlist. For sure a sign that the band’s aim is to keep the audience moving on their feet.
As time goes by, Pip and her bandmates’ shyness goes too. In an emotion-filled, slightly hesitant English, Pip introduces her mum to the crowd. It was Miss Blom who first got Pip into guitar music as a kid, by bringing her along to the gigs she was reviewing for her music blog. By the time ‘I Think I’m in Love’ kicks in and the third pint of the night goes down, The Louisiana is pervaded by a heavenly, intimate vibe. There’s even time for an acapella cover of ‘The English Disease’ by Hotel Lux, who earlier in the night sang their picturesque vision of England in a thrilling support set.
After the gig, Pip Blom sold customised beige bucket hats. All hail the best merchandise seen in years of gigs.
See the video for ‘Ruby’ here: