Pitchshifter, The Wedgewood Rooms, Southsea REVIEW: The show must go on despite power cut

Pitchshifter live at The Wedgewood Rooms, Southsea, November 19, 2018. Picture by Chris Broom
Pitchshifter live at The Wedgewood Rooms, Southsea, November 19, 2018. Picture by Chris Broom

Support act Earthtone9 are in full-flow and building a good head of steam, and then…

Everything goes dark and the sound cuts out.
It soon becomes clear that the power cut is affecting more than just the venue and has knocked out large parts of Portsmouth.
It’s a frustrating situation at the best of times, but this is the opening night of the tour for ‘rocktronica’ act Pitchshifter – and not just any tour, it’s their first shows anywhere in a decade. 
Let’s put it this way, the band’s material would not be best served by an impromptu acoustic strum-along instead.

Pitchshifter live at The Wedgewood Rooms, Southsea, November 19, 2018. Picture by Chris Broom

Pitchshifter live at The Wedgewood Rooms, Southsea, November 19, 2018. Picture by Chris Broom

There’s even a fan, as frontman JS Clayden later points out, who had come all the way from Washington DC for this opening night.

So, kudos to the Wedge’s staff for keeping cool under pressure and getting things back up and running as soon as possible.
Once power is restored and after equipment checks, the headliners take the stage a mere 15 minutes late.
The tour is ostensibly to mark 20 years of their cult-classic www.pitchshifter.com album, where they successfully melded metal with electronica for the first time. Appropriately enough they kick off with its opening track, a blistering Microwaved. 
For an act that’s been ‘in cryo-stasis’ for 10 years, the five-piece look, and sound in remarkably rude health.

READ MORE: Pitchshifter tell why the time was right for their return
But this is no play-the-album show, second song Triad, takes us back to their 1993 album, Desensitized and from there they do lean heavily on .com, while cherry-picking from the rest of their back catalogue.
JS, who has himself flown in from his now-home in LA for the tour, is in good humour and looks genuinely pleased with the fervent response they’re getting from the near-capacity crowd.

There’s plenty of banter and even though JS jokes that the ‘B12 shots are wearing off’, once the music starts, the righteous anger of the band’s anti-establishment anthems remains undimmed.
He’s joined by band founder and brother Mark on bass, while brothers Tim and Dan Rayner flank the stage on guitars.
Full marks too to drummer Simon Hutchby, who also played with Earthtone9 – his none-more-intense playing could give any drum-machine a run for its money.
Several songs spark a full-on mosh. Hidden Agenda, with its demented jungle-beat blasts and crunching guitars is a high point, as is a furious Virus.
JS tells us they’ve never been ‘one of those hair metal, rock’n’roll bands’, so they won’t leave the stage for fake encores, before finishing with two more .com stormers – Please Sir and Genius, and the crowd could have happily gone for more.
If there’s any rust present at this first show, it’s not noticeable. By the time they reach the tour’s climax in their hometown of Nottingham they’ll be unstoppable.

And for those few who opted to leave in the power cut, more fool them.