With seasoned ex-members of Morning Runner at the helm, Glass’s polish garners at least one breathless endorsement tonight (“They blew my mind! I’m worried I won’t like Pete and the Pirates now…” the convert frets aloud). Their solemn, serious indie bears a clear debt of gratitude to Arcade Fire, and while interest flags across their half-hour slot, it’s a solid start.
Pete and the Pirates are blessed with an array of good songs, but troubled by a relative lack of great ones. As such, tonight never quite dazzles, but it’s a pleasing live experience nonetheless. Knots prompts the first big reaction, but otherwise it's their recently released second album One Thousand Pictures that rules over the set’s highlights: Cold Black Kitty stretches into its sinister country gothic aura splendidly; Winter 1 sees the front rows joining in; while Blood Gets Thin makes for a suitably boisterous closer, its bold riffs channelling the B-52s and the Cramps.
The Pirates have diversity on their side, regularly shedding their skins, but it’s Half Moon Street that constitutes the Reading quintet's most successful bid for greatness so far; running a gamut of tenors as it builds in to a soaring and affecting chorus; it's confirmation that major league membership isn’t out of the question.