Review: Pumarosa at the Sound Academy

19 October 2016 / by David Matta (author)
Pumarosa at The Sound Academy (photo: David Matta)
Pumarosa at The Sound Academy / (photo: David Matta)

From what I gathered from the crowd at the Sound Academy on Sunday night, not many were sure what to expect from openers Pumarosa. The East London five-piece walked on with their instruments and settled in on stage to very light applause.

But when Pumarosa started playing, it was very clear that this band was something new, just like headliners Glass Animals. They had mine, and many other people’s attention, a rare thing for opening acts (in my experience).

Dressed in a long silver dress (much different then the casual wear of her band mates) front-woman Isabel Munoz-Newsome began to take the persona of a sort of enchantress, singing boldly above the heavy music.

At first, it seemed to me that she and the band were nervous, and rightly so, as Munoz-Newsome announced a few songs in that it was the band’s first time in Canada. But 3 songs in, Munoz-Newsome fully assumed a fearless stage persona.

The band played a riveting 40-minute set of songs both unreleased and off of their 2016 self-titled EP. During the song 'Lions Den', Munoz-Newsome brought the intensity up a notch by playing her guitar with the back of a percussion mallet.

'Honey', with its Edge-like guitar licks and 'Priestess', the 7-minute epic and show closer were the true show highlights. Munoz-Newsome eventually assumed an un-breaking stage persona, and was dancing and jumping around the stage.

During the final build in 'Priestess', she started spinning, arms out in the center of the stage, and it would not have surprised me in the least if she had burst into flames (a la Hunger Games).

Pumarosa describes themselves as "industrial spiritual" on their social media pages, and as strange as it sounds, it’s fitting. Both the music and the performance were Radiohead-esque at times, but it also had elements of early The Unforgettable Fire-era U2 (I know that sounds unbelievable, but I can’t find any better way to describe it).

By the end of the show, the band was clearly in their element on stage. If only they had a slightly longer set, it would’ve been even more unforgettable.
Never have I seen an opening act capture the attention of the entire audience, and I’m sure they made many fans after that performance, myself included. I have no doubt that when their first LP comes out, it’ll make huge waves.


The author

David Matta

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