Gig review: THE PINEAPPLE THIEF – The O2 Islington Academy, London, 3 December 2014

Ask me to name my favourite albums for 2014 and The Pineapple Thief’s “Magnolia” will certainly feature in my Top 10 list. Even though my introduction to Bruce Soord’s  Alternative/Progressive Rock outfit only took place a couple of years ago, my appreciation for his band’s fine blend of colourful, harmony-driven Rock had been growing steadily ever since.

I am sure, then, that you can all appreciate how happy I felt to have a person from Kscope’s PR department offering me a guest list slot in order to cover the band’s London show on the evening of the 3rd of December.

A bit under the weather, I decided to focus solely on The Pineapple Thief’s performance on the night. Upon entering the venue, the first thing I noticed was that, though seemingly full, one could walk from the very back all the way to the front of the stage with relative ease.

It was quite interesting to observe the kind of audience that the Somerset-based quartet attracts these days, as you can find anyone from scruffy-looking eighteen year old kids to sharp-dressed white collar middle-aged men, but my focus was to make it to the photo pit in time for the band’s entrance and so I left the punters to their devices and positioned myself accordingly.

THE PINEAPPLE THIEF – The O2 Islington Academy, London, 3 December 2014

It was a fraction of the band’s twenty seven minute opus “What We Have Sown” which kick-started the proceedings and the first thing I noticed, apart from the very basic stage setting offered to the band, was how high Jon Sykes’ bass was in the overall mix – a balance that was finally addressed half way through a beautiful rendition of “Alone At Sea”.

Soord may be the undisputable leader of the band but he seems to enjoy a special partnership with Sykes – an equally dynamic performer whose vocal contribution in “The One You Left To Die” is integral to the song’s atmospheric quality. Hiding himself to the right of the stage, keyboardist Steve Kitch introduced a passionate take on “Don’t Tell Me” with the crowd reacting fairly positively to the opening tunes of “Coming Home”.

THE PINEAPPLE THIEF – The O2 Islington Academy, London, 3 December 2014

Being a massive fan of 2012’s “All The Wars” I was pleased to hear the band performing a rough take of the same-titled composition and by the time the follow-up “Magnolia” was performed, Soord had his loyal fans hanging on his every word.

Featuring a killer guitar solo, “Season’s Past” was one of the many highlights of the show and the same could be said for the heavy riffed “Sense Of Fear” which is another much-loved new track. Bruce’s old-school fans almost raised the roof when “Remember Us” was introduced with  the words “I don’t know how many people know that we have been going on for a while…” and the arrival of a saxophonist on stage during “Bond” was priceless.

THE PINEAPPLE THIEF – The O2 Islington Academy, London, 3 December 2014

The original plan was to complete the main set with “Reaching Out” and then return for a three track encore but curfew restrictions kept Soord on stage where, dressed in a simple white light and with his faithful acoustic guitar in his hands, he provided a passionate take on “Part Zero” – one that found the majority of the band’s fans clapping their hands rhythmically to the song’s main theme.

THE PINEAPPLE THIEF – The O2 Islington Academy, London, 3 December 2014

Involving the fans in a similar fashion, “Snow Drop” wass another enjoyable energy-driven piece, while groovy and heavy in equal measure “Nothing At Best” offered a dynamic ending to a very impressive and all-involving show.

Simple in the way that he approaches his craft and accepting the adulation of his fans in a truly humble manner, Bruce Soord is the least pretentious band leader one can find in Rock these days.

It is as a result of both talent and sheer hard work that The Pineapple Thief have managed to establish themselves amongst the leaders of the UK neo-Prog scene and, as things stand, this status is both suited and deserved. Great show by a passionate band that understands the essence of Rock music and knows how to offer entertainment to its fans!

Review by Yiannis (John) Stefanis
Photos by Yiannis (John) Stefanis

The Pineapple Thief Set List:

“What We Have Sown” 2. “Wake Up The Dead” 3.  “Alone At Sea” 4. “The One You Left To Die” 5.  “Don’t Tell Me” 6. “Coming Home” 7. “All The Wars” 8. “Magnolia” 9. “Season’s Past” 10. “Simple As That” 11. “Sense Of Fear” 12. “Remember Us” 13. “Bond” 14. “137” 15. “Reaching Out” Encore: 1. “Part Zero” 2.“Snow Drops” 3.“Nothing At Best”

In his show broadcast on Get Ready to ROCK! Radio on 10 May David Randall played a further selection of artists and albums included in the new Features series, “2020 Vision”.

Listen in to Get Ready to ROCK! Radio…
Click the appropriate icons at the top of the page.

Featured Albums w/c 25 May (Mon-Fri)

09:00-12:00 FM Synchronized (Frontiers)
12:00-13:00 THE ROCKET DOLLS The Art Of Disconnect (indie)
14:00-16:00 BEN KUNDER Searching For The Stranger (indie)

Power Plays w/c 11 May (Mon-Fri)

THE MERCY KILLS Alone (Golden Robot Records)
DEAD REYNOLDS By Your Side (indie)
THE JAILBIRDS Watery Grave (Golden Robot Records)
ALI MASS & MICKY MOODY These Times (Last Man Music)
MASSIVE WAGONS Bangin In Your Stereo (Earache)
UDO We Are One (AFM Records)

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