It’s a family affair…
Elli Chappelhow
14:38 17th October 2019

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Last night (16 October), Scala played host to a joyous family gathering. Whether blood-related or not, everyone in the legendary Kings Cross venue was made to feel part of one huge family, assembled to celebrate a significant milestone for Dutch band Pip Blom; selling out their biggest London date yet.

Kicking the evening off is Dutch collective, and Blom bezzies, Personal Trainer. Not one performance is the same with this lot - their line-up is constantly changing, and there is huge emphasis on the performance being loose and ‘in-the-moment’. Their set descends into complete chaos, yet there’s still a brilliantly melodic quality. Catch them if you can…

Next up, Hotel Lux stalk onto the stage, lolloping basslines aplenty combine with drawled yet astute social commentary. Bringing a taste of the UK back to the line-up, ‘English Disease’ goes down a treat with the crowd, and sees many a Brewdog tinny held up in appreciation. 

There’s a rapturous reception as Pip and the band emerge onto the stage that’s adorned with two neon pink flamingos, a motif that has begun to crop up in the band’s artwork. They open with album track ‘Tinfoil’, a churning mass of hollow guitar that builds into a massive concrete chunk of a chorus, electrified by the manic drumming of Gini Cameron. Pip’s bouncing ponytail swings as she wields her guitar with innate ease; it’s like her body was made to cradle a fretboard.

At one point in the set, they encourage the audience to head over to the merch stand post-set, which “Mummy Blom” will be manning. Tender then jokes “If you see a grey-looking guy in the audience that looks a bit like me, that’s Daddy Blom!” Once again there’s this sense of family that surrounds the band: the night is a special ‘pinch-yourself’ moment for siblings Pip and Tender Blom and their bandmates. It’s impossible to ignore the sheer exuberance that was radiating from their onstage energy. They’ve had a huge year, with highlights including the release of their acclaimed debut Boat and opening the John Peel stage at Glastonbury in the summer: a poignant moment for both the band and their father, who was a friend of the late music legend.

Pip Blom also treat the Scala audience to a taste of what’s to come by playing a brand new track, with Pip promising during their recent BBC Radio 6 session with Mark Riley that there’ll be new material early next year. Older tracks such as ‘Come Home’ and ‘Babies’ ignite the crowd, but that’s not to say their newer tracks don’t receive a similar response: there was not one flat moment during the set, showing the strength of their songwriting and instinctive knowledge of how to command a crowd. What’s oft-commented upon during a Pip Blom set is how energetic and enjoyable it is - their performance at Scala takes this to new heights.

In a euphoric final flourish to the set, Pip invites Personal Trainer onstage to form an epic Dutch supergroup “for one night only”. They all crowd on and thrash straight into an unheard track, before ending with a collective rendition of album opener ‘Daddy Issues’. This culminated in a member of Personal Trainer launching himself into the crowd, maraca still in hand. It was arguably the purest, most joyous expression of music to have graced a London venue in a very long time. Those there knew they’d been part of something special - the future is looking very exciting for Pip Blom. 

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Photo: Elli Chappelhow