PVA were the last band I saw (and the Windmill was the last venue I went to) before lockdown, so it seems fitting for PVA at the Windmill to be my first gig after lockdown. Tipped by NME as ‘London’s most danceable new band’, it felt almost insulting to them to not be able to dance.
The three-piece is another group out of the South-London scene of bands who seem impossible to constrain to a genre or compare to other artists. There really is nobody doing it like PVA at the moment.
The first time I saw PVA was at the final of the 2019 Greenman Rising competition at The Lexington in Islington. I was there to support a friend’s band competing against them – but after seeing PVA I was rooting for them to win. The band packed out the room with an energy unmatched by any of the other acts, and were just undefeatably fun.
I don’t need to sell PVA to you. Their ability to sell out venues multiple nights in a row on the back of just one EP and a single says it all (and the hype is well deserved). Their first single, ‘Divine Intervention’, was released with Speedy Wunderground in December 2019. The driving synth-bass and percussive chorus cement it as a highlight of a PVA set that has crowds dancing on tables.
Toner EP was released in November of 2020, and contained 3 songs and 3 remixes by Lynks, Mura Masa, and Girl Band with Daniel Fox. ‘Talks’ is a jangly-electropop single, whilst ‘Sleek Form’ is a dramatic contrast, featuring murky and doom-filled synth basslines, dissonant, dramatic vocals, glitchy rhythms and pounding drums.
My personal favourite on the EP is ‘Exhaust/Surroundings’. Ella Harris’ eerie vocals carry the intro to the track, before it bursts into a synth hook that is painfully infectious. The track ends with an explosive refrain, with Harris singing over Josh Baxter’s grittier vocals, ending with dramatic accented drum-beats. Despite being just over five minutes long, the track still leaves you wanting more. Naturally this is the song that PVA chose to end their set with. It is an experimental electronic rave-song, and it is incredible.
The atmosphere at the Windmill was dramatic. The room was dark, lit only by candlesticks in old bottles of spirits. It was easy to forget that it was only 5pm and broad daylight outside. Predated by the wonderful Byfyn, the band opened their party-set with ‘Divine Intervention’, before playing a set featuring three new songs. A PVA gig tiptoes the line between making you feel like you’re at a club and a live music show, which is only exaggerated by the colourful flashing lights on stage. Most importantly, I have never seen a band that looks like they’re having as much fun playing their songs as PVA do.
I couldn’t recommend seeing a band live more than PVA. They have a series of socially distanced dates announced across June and July and are supporting Dry Cleaning on their Spring 2022 tour. See them at a small venue whilst you can – this is a band you will be kicking yourself for missing.