❉ March 2022 saw Dublin-based synthpop trio return to the stage, joined by Tin Gun in their live debut.
It’s been a couple of years since Paula Gilmer, Sean Quinn and Eugene Somers aka Tiny Magnetic Pets released their epic album, The Blue Wave. Thanks to the ‘rona, any plans of touring the album were cruelly out of bounds, as venue after venue closed its doors and all gigs and shows were cancelled.
As restrictions began to relax last year, on 25 September a London show was confidently announced for the following March at legendary live music venue The Water Rats. A fortnight later, the band confirmed that Tin Gun (Peter Steer, Mark Trueman and Tim Dorney joined on stage by Nik Hodges) would be the support, making their first live appearance since the band formed.
Fast-forward to 25 September 2022, exactly six months on from that original announcement, and it was an excited but expectant crowd that filled at The Water Rats in Kings Cross, many of whom are friends online who haven’t seen each other for two or three years. It was like a family reunion and the atmosphere in the small venue matched the warm and friendly vibe.
Tin Gun’s Pete Steer (Tenek, Agency-V, Sinestar) was anxious despite his well-proven track record in the music industry but he needn’t have worried as they were fantastic, covering a wide array of songs from their back catalogue including all the tracks from the Reanimation EP.
The highlight of their set was Gary Numan and Tubeway Army’s Bombers with vocoder effects courtesy of Tim Dorney. The band’s cohesive sound was superbly en pointe with the addition of live drums, courtesy of Nik Hodges who has worked with legends Chas and Dave for many years (Nik is Chas’ son and Dave’s godson).
Tiny Magnetic Pets opened their set with my favourite track of theirs, Drowning in Indigo (from their last album The Blue Wave, previously reviewed here for We Are Cult). Paula’s breathy vocals took you to another place, as the melancholic track belted out into the small venue space.
Their entire set was a joyful mix of melancholy tracks and high-energy, feel-good songs from their back catalogue including Testcard Freaks, Blitzed, and Spinning.
“Do you like the visuals?” lead singer Paula Gilmer asked the excited crowd. “They took me four bloody months to do!” she joked. The visuals were actually stunning and varied and accompanied each song perfectly.
Erik Stein of Cult with No Name accompanied Paula on stage for a beautiful duet, No One at the Safe House, from the Pets’ NATO Alphabet EP. Their voices perfectly matched, giving a new perspective to an established song originally released in 2016.
The band enthralled the packed venue, and the energy levels were consistently high. However, all too soon we’d reached the end of the show but keeping the momentum going, the crowd were treated to three encore songs including City Sleeps, White Noise and the ever-popular Semaphore.
Big shout-out to the ever-lovely Una Fagan for everything, it was so good to see her after so many years. Also to Gary West for his photo of Tin Gun. Finally, kudos to sound man, Ben McCusker, who has worked with Echo and the Bunnymen for many years. He did a fantastic job and helped to bring both band’s sounds to the best quality that they could possibly be.
The bands played St Leonard, Hastings on the following night (Saturday) and reports are that they smashed it there too. I personally can’t wait to see both bands play live again. It was a truly special experience.
❉ To find out more about Tiny Magnetic Pets, visit the Tiny Magnetic Pets website, ‘like’ their Facebook page and follow them on Twitter. You can find all Tiny Magnetic Pets’ music on the Tiny Magnetic Pets Bandcamp page.
❉ Ange Chan is a Freelance Writer, having produced two novels and six volumes of poetry. A prominent contributor to Me and the Starman (now available by Cult Ink on Amazon) and lifelong lover of music, Ange is also We Are Cult’s Social Media Administrator.