It should be a speakeasy with small round tables and lowballs of stiff drinks on the rocks – but it ain’t. It’s an old lecture hall, downstairs, practically subterranean and it’s dark as you lean forward on the wooden desk that has seen many elbows before yours. You lean in to watch her, face spotlit in profile as she rests her cheek against the black wall. You’re transfixed by her as she moves forward and the light comes with her and she sings. It’s Misty, that old Errol Garner tune and she sings it beautifully and already in those first few minutes you think that if she came to you with a gun and a plea for help you wouldn’t be able to refuse. Because she sings with such dangerous, velvety, seductive power and her low notes give Shirley Bassey a run for her money. More than that, her mesmerising eyes seem always to be searching for something, for hidden meaning she can’t find. But you can see it, can’t you? The multimedia projected behind her has all the images of dark dreams, secrets, abandoned places.
It’s a different way to experience music.
You barely notice him because he bleeds into the shadows. His music – live guitar and recorded sections he mixes live – is precise and evocative. You fleetingly think you want him to be in a suit and hat, not a t-shirt and trainers, but there are so many other things here for your eyes to feast on and you are soon taken away again, following images into other places, following the voice of the chanteuse. Her name is Pinkie Maclure and his is John Wills. Together they are Pumajaw and in 14 years they have recorded 7 albums. They know what they’re doing and you better believe they do it well. They offer up to you a score of dark, atmospheric original songs with some classics, backed by visuals that are as crisp as a fresh bank note and as sharp as a diamond ring (only one multimedia clip is less than magical - a backdrop of red curtain and digital cigarette smoke with disco lights that fade in).
This is more than just music, you think to yourself as you step out into the still night air and turn the collar of your trench coat up against the cold, noticing it’s finally stopped raining. It’s a different way to experience music. Something that takes you on a journey into dark places, something you can’t quite leave behind as you walk the cobbled streets with the soundtrack still there in your weary head. You feel like you’ve been let into a dangerous world and maybe you can’t escape it now… maybe it will lure you back.