The Pistolas

EMMA LEE Norwich Arts Centre


> Norwich Arts Centre

If any proof was needed what fine form Norwich's home-grown music scene is on at the moment, The Pistolas' sold-out gig at the city's Arts Centre on Saturday night was it.

The winners of the EDP's Next Big Thing competition in 2004 are about to release their debut single on one of the country's most influential indie record labels - and the gig marked the start of their first headline tour.

And from the moment they stepped on stage - to the strains of David Bowie's Let's Dance - and launched into the track Peroxide, it seemed like they were already somehow too big for the venue.

A hard core of fans at the front of the stage pogoed practically non-stop as the quartet - singer Simon Buller, bassist Naomi Cousins, drummer Lee Bowyer and guitarist Liam Hart - raced through 10 songs barely pausing for breath.

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Their performance was polished and professional - Simon has already perfected his rock star poses - and most importantly, exciting.

The songs have such an energy that you can't help but be hooked from the first riff - with Simon and Naomi's vocals bouncing off each other.

The Pistolas wear their love of Joy Division on their sleeves - both in the music, lots of staccato riffs and driving bass-lines, and in Simon's performance, which has a more than a trace of Ian Curtis about it.

There are also hints of more contemporary reference points - Naomi's yelps and the angular guitars nod to the alternative American bands Sleater Kinney and the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, with some Bloc Party-style drumming and a hint of Interpol thrown into the mix.

At the end of the show Lee gave his drumsticks to members of the crowd and one fan eagerly got Naomi to sign her set-list for her as a souvenir.

Judging by their performance on Saturday, that's something the band is definitely going to have to get use to.

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