Purson live review - Islington Academy, London

Psychedelic rockers convert a country crowd

Rosalie Cunningham playing guitar on stage at the Islington Academy
(Image: © Marie Korner)

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Every genre has its day, and a few years saw something of a doom boom. Ghost and Uncle Acid stole hearts and money, but Purson have yet to grasp similar success. Tonight, they support A Thousand Horses and their largely country crowd – Roadburn this ain’t.

The band soundcheck in bellbottoms and sparkles and count straight into Desire’s Magic Theatre’s overblown, folky shuffle. It takes until Spiderwood Farm for several droogs in attendance to shut up and listen, if only because these riffs are so meaty, garnished with Rosalie Cunningham’s vexing vibrato. She’s Purson’s tightrope between Hendrix, Sabbath, the Beatles and Zep, strumming along and singing vaudevillian hymns to anyone who’ll listen, possessed as she yanks the mic to and from her face during The Sky Parade’s climax. Each member’s neither showy nor reclusive – there’s no stage-hogging, the crowd barely addressed. George Hudson’s Electric Landlady guitar solo gives Blues Pills’ Dorian Sorriaux a poke in the ‘Can’t be arsed, but I guess I’ll do this majestic bit’ stakes while ex-drummer Jack Hobbs plays keys, looking like a kid in detention for something unprintable. Finally, Wanted Man helter-skelters into riff nirvana, equally satiating fans’ and converts’ tummies. The get-up means nothing without the delivery; Purson do their archaic roots proud and look ahead to greatness.

Alec Chillingworth

Alec is a longtime contributor with first-class BA Honours in English with Creative Writing, and has worked for Metal Hammer since 2014. Over the years, he's written for Noisey, Stereoboard, uDiscoverMusic, and the good ship Hammer, interviewing major bands like Slipknot, Rammstein, and Tenacious D (plus some black metal bands your cool uncle might know). He's read Ulysses thrice, and it got worse each time.