Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs at Saint Vitus (photo by Kate Hoos)
This past Saturday night, Greenpoint Brooklyn’s heavy music haven, Saint Vitus, welcomed Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs, the UK-based band we previously dubbed “stoner/psych/doom noise kings,” and we’re not sure we’ve been to a bar that packed to the gills since the pandemic made us all afraid of crowds. It was the first performance on this side of the Atlantic for the thunderous madness of the raucous quintet from Newcastle and it did not disappoint. They had been scheduled to play Vitus on Friday, March 13, 2020, when, you know, the world was trembling on the edge of a cliff and then fell over the edge. But we’re all trying to clamber back up that cliff now, and these Pigs are close to the top with some very dirty and torn trotters, but ready to fucking rock you to your core, as the decibel levels and their general unadulterated joy on Saturday more than demonstrated.
The NYC-based super psych rock duo, White Hills, kicked off the festivities with their unique sound and visually-striking live show. Ego Sensation— who plays a standup drum kit and sample pad—broke through her backlit sea of fog with driving drum beats, while her partner, guitarist/vocalist Dave W., lost himself in the music again and again, pacing around the stage between verses, pausing to shred, and then off again to wander in the seductive swirl of noise. But no matter the peregrinations, this duo is always in sync. After twenty years of writing, recording, and performing together on their own terms—never being afraid to alienate people by changing it up album to album—White Hills possesses an electric connection that’s tangible when in the room with them. By the end of the set, Mr. W shook his guitar over his head in ecstasy as the packed room squeezed in even more, a perfect warm-up for the piggy fun about to take the stage.
And then, yes, here came our Pigs! The absolutely massive sound surged on the crowd from the first song, “Mr. Medicine,” one of the more garage-punk offerings from their recent release, Land of Sleeper (read our review). Had there been more room to move, things might’ve gotten real rowdy real quick, but sandwiched in as we all were, the stoner energy dominated, and bodies just pulsed and swayed to the cacophony. And note that when we say massive sound, we mean MASSIVE. Bassist John-Michael Hedley—who in a nod to noisy, heavy NYC music of yore was wearing an Unsane shirt—played through two heads and two Ampeg eight-by-ten cabinets (you know the refrigerator sized amps), and guitarists Adam Ian Sykes and Sam Grant each had double head, full-stack Orange rigs. All tube, no solid state, LOUD AS FUCK. They blew the walls out in a way you could feel deep in your bones with some up front opting for double ear protection (aka Hoos as she shot the show).
Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs at Saint Vitus
Throughout their frenetic set, Pigs x7 demonstrated their impeccable showmanship. These gents know how to put on an all out kick-ass show! Frontman Matthew Baty strutted about in his dragon-print boxer shorts and New York Fuckin City t-shirt, dousing himself with water and delivering jokes with heavy-weight swagger like some Muhammad Ali-meets-Freddie-Mercury fantabulous hybrid (which if anyone can fuse those two larger-than-life beings, Baty just might be the man).
The Pigs continued to shake Saint Vitus for near an hour, bringing other big crowd pleasers from Land of Sleeper like “Ultimate Hammer” and “Terror’s Pillow,” peppered throughout with Baty’s humourous stage banter with mentions of “food disasters” and getting rich through their very own Pigs pyramid scheme. “I know it looks like we’re professional athletes but we’re actually really unhealthy, especially on the inside,” he quipped after shaking his microphone over his head in a fit and needing to take a water break. The group seemed genuinely excited to begin their first US tour in New York, and Baty predicted that if each person there at Vitus would bring eighty friends next time they were in town, they’d be able to fill Madison Square Garden (which actually checks out…we did the math).
Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs at Saint Vitus
At the end of the night, they brought “A66” (from their 2018 release King of Cowards), and suddenly the previously vibed out stoner crowd erupted into an all out frenzy pushing and moshing towards the front; it felt like that movement had been summoned by the band all night. The Pigs left the stage sweaty and triumphant, after ensuring everyone that they “wouldn’t charge you $40 to take a photo” at the merch table “because we’re not worth that much.” They are now making their way to SXSW in Austin next, then onward to the West Coast, before they make one more stop in our fair city, April 4, at Mercury Lounge to conclude their time here and head home to the UK. You know, a warmup for their next stop here at MSG, a venue they are certainly loud enough, and charismatic enough, to blow the roof right off of.
Scroll down for setlist, pics of the show (photos by Kate Hoos)
Setlist: Mr. Medicine, Rubbernecker, Halloween Bolson, Ultimate Hammer, Reducer, Ball Lightning, World Crust, Cake of Light, Big Rig, Terror’s Pillow, GNT, A66
PIGS X 7