You would be forgiven for wondering how Pinkshinyultrablast ended up playing at a recently reopened pub in Deritend, which in Birmingham terms is essentially the middle of nowhere. Situated on an inconspicuous street in the heart of grey Brum, the location of the Castle & Falcon is the least surprising thing about it – the fantastic quality of the sound inside is the revelation.
The first of the excellent support acts – Outlander – play a hazy blend of instrumental post-rock that recalls both Godspeed You! Black Emperor and Deafheaven. They played to about half of the capacity of the main room, which is completely surprising considering the location of the venue and the Haye v Bellew fight being shown in the bar.
The second support, TVAM, played surrounded by screens showing Cabaret Voltaire-esque visuals – think 80s informercials, only with a dystopian bent. The searing guitar and booming psychedelic intensity of tracks such as Psychic Data went down incredibly well in the room, and they were incredibly well-received by a rapidly-filling room.
The headline act were exactly as you’d expect them to be now that they have revolutionised their sound: the gleaming, kaleidoscopic synth-pop of their more recent work goes down especially well, and they seemed to be enjoying every second of it. They play a set that’s reliant on recent favourites (In The Hanging Gardens, Dance AM) but with a peppering of their slightly older signature tunes (The Cherry Pit and Ravestar Supreme stand out) – all played with a bouncy, glittering rush of colour.
Their older, more shoegaze-y phase seems to have come to an end, with a focus on tighter New Wave rhythmic dynamism, clearer instruments and frontwoman Lyubov Soloveva’s vocals becoming more of an upfront proposition. On the night, Pinkshinyultrablast made a whole bunch of Bank Holiday-ing Brummies dance to their new sound – and providing a colourful (if a little brief) respite to the industrial gloom just on the other side of the door.