Playing songs from their debut album ‘The Way Back Up’, Scottish pop trio Prides returned to Nottingham on Monday, bringing back the energy of summer festivals to Rescue Rooms. Judging from the enthusiastic crowd participation, cheering, and dancing, the boys certainly have something to be proud of.
Fellow Glaswegians ‘Fatherson’ were tasked with warming up the audience, and judging by the length of the list of sign-ups to their mailing list at the merch table, they succeeded. Unfortunately I only caught the last three songs of their set, but their driving and punchy rock sound immediately impressed. ‘I Like Not Knowing’, a single from their debut ‘I Am An Island’ has been stuck in my head ever since, the haunting refrain of “oh no”s echoing beneath the building energetic guitars, aggressive bass and pounding drums.
After an intermission soundtracked by The 1975, Drake, and Busted, the lights dimmed down and the crowd waited in anticipation… Then started fervently singing along to the theme of ‘The Lion King’ which started playing whilst the band manned the stage; Prides are a band that are all about having fun. Drummer Lewis opened the show with a drum solo, the crazy lighting arrangement building in intensity along with it, before erupting into opener “It’s Not Gonna Change”. The energetic power-pop song immediately demanded the crowd’s involvement, punctuating the melodic chorus with “hey yeah!”s and “oh no!”‘s.
After playing their most popular hits such as “Higher Love” and “Out of the Blue” to massive audiences during festival season, the band took the opportunity to play tracks from the album that had never been performed live before, such as deluxe bonus album track “Linger On”. Following this, the band did what they are best at- apart from writing banging pop songs- covering Ellie Goulding’s “On My Mind”. Full of attitude and energy, they owned it, giving Ellie a run for her money. Prides have a history of making top 40 hits their own through covers and mixtapes, removing any guilt whatsoever from these guilty-pleasure hits.
Title-track “The Way Back Up” followed, combining keys, funky guitar licks, and crooning vocals. Fan-favourite “Little Danger” generated big sing-alongs and carefree dance moves. For “Same Mistakes”, a slower and more emotional track, guitarist Callum brought out an “odd wooden thing” aka an acoustic guitar, something seldom seen at a Prides show. But it wasn’t long before the keyboards were back though, closing their set with the anthemic “I Should Know You Better” followed by “Just Say It”. Here Callum took over vocals, generously supported by a choir of fans after singer Stewart’s microphone cut out, leaving him free to bound around the stage throwing shapes all over the place.
After only a few chants of “one more song”, the band returned with Fatherson singer Ross to sing the haunting piano ballad “The Kite String and the Anchor Rope”, it’s gorgeous harmonies leaving the audience quietly basking in the simple beauty of the song. Prides shows are always a crazy and fun party, but this quieter moment showcased the variety of their album, and their talent for writing moving tales about love, life, and all the emotions that come in-between.
Closing the show with songs from their first EP, “The Seeds You Sow” and “Messiah” (dedicated to Stewart’s mum, who’s birthday it was that day) the band inspired the wildest reaction from the crowd, fans making the most of the final precious moments of the night to sing as loud and dance as hard as they could. It was certainly not show to be missed, as Prides are clearly headed for even bigger things!