Review: Pinegrove continue their rapid rise at London’s Scala

Jumping from London’s Lexington to the Scala, nothing can slow Pinegrove down.

Scala’s twists and turns are lined with excited fans to celebrate the return of New Jersey’s Pinegrove to UK shores. It’s not been a huge amount of time since they last graced England’s capital, playing a then intimate show at the Lexington, just up the road from tonight’s notably bigger venue. That jump is representative of their own rise following the release of 2016 seminal Cardinal.

The dulcet tones of main support of Lomelda set the scene for an evening of sheer musical brilliance. Her huge voice emanates from an otherwise unassuming stature, standing isolated at centre stage. Yet the confidence in her performance is breath-taking, reducing the already heaving crowd to absolute silence; the ultimate accolade for any singer-songwriter.

It’s a respect equally afforded to Pinegrove, whose lead (Evan Stephens Hall) is on top form. His casual conversation with the audience is as endearing as their undefinable sound, a strange balance of gentle and emotionally intense. It’s all delivered with an effortless sheen, not least thanks to his highly skilled ensemble of both musicians and friends.

The fourteen track main set ends with the sublime New Friends, arguably their most upbeat on their most recent release. Telling the tale of overcoming shyness in favour of social enjoyment, it’s seemingly reflective of Hall’s journey to this point. Any of his reserved nature, already dissipating as they last reached London, has fully vanished. With it, an on-stage confidence has emerged that draws the captivated audience in.

As they return to the stage to complete their set with an unexpected encore (“There are the only two other songs we know how to play,” Hall smiles), their already cult status is confirmed. It certainly won’t be long until Pinegrove are playing much bigger stages. We’d give it another five months.

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