Pinkshift made a fiery NYC headline debut with Jigsaw Youth & Jhariah (pics, review)
Baltimore punks Pinkshift have been on a rapid rise since putting out their very promising first few singles of 2020, and after hitting the road to open for Mannequin Pussy and PUP and then putting out their debut album Love Me Forever on Hopeless Records, they embarked on their first-ever headlining tour, which landed in Brooklyn for a sold-out show at Elsewhere Zone One last night (11/17). The place was packed, and it was clearly full of fans that already love the band, know all the words, and came ready to mosh and dance and scream. Pinkshift seemed genuinely grateful and a little blown away by all the love, and they also came prepared to put on the show that this fervent crowd deserved. The band is airtight, Ashrita Kumar is a true performer with genuine starpower, and a shoutout is in order for guitarist Paul Vallejo, who really shreds.
Pinkshift played for about an hour, and I think they might've played every single song they've got (I haven't seen the full setlist so correct me if I'm wrong). Their live show really rips and feels big and loud and kept the crowd moving song after song, and Ashrita was super inspiring, speaking out against racism and sexism and homophobia and the generally shitty state of the world, and encouraging everyone to confront their personal traumas with a cathartic, audience-wide scream. It was a high-energy show from start to finish, but one of the most powerful moments came when they toned things down and Ashrita played "In A Breath" solo with just a piano. They told the crowd that they wrote the song back in 2018, before Pinkshift even formed, and that it hasn't been easy to show this highly personal song to people, but the loving crowd stayed silent for the entire song and just took in the moment as Ashrita bared their soul. As good as that song is on the album, it came off even more powerful live; Ashrita's delivery was as raw and real as possible.
Before Pinkshift, it was their Staten Island-based tourmates Jigsaw Youth, who Pinkshift met at a house show in Baltimore last year, and it's easy to see why this band quickly won Pinkshift over. They clearly came prepared to make every single person in that room have as great a time as possible and never forget seeing Jigsaw Youth, even if they hadn't heard of them before last night. The trio tap directly into early '90s grunge, and they put on such a loud, commanding, energetic show that it doesn't even matter if they sometimes wear their influences on their sleeves. They got the crowd involved from the start, they got the circle pit going, they ended with a fun cover of Blur's "Song 2," and they really ripped. They seemed determined to leave an impact, and it worked. They've got another NYC show coming up, opening for SASAMI on December 12 at Baby's All Right, and I suspect they'll be a great fit on that bill too.
Before Jigsaw Youth it was another NYC-based artist, Jhariah, who had a shortened set due to some technical difficulties, but who made the best of it. He did most of his set singing over backing tracks, and he's got a real theatrical, showtunes-y take on indie pop, and also did one song with just him and his piano. It wasn't exactly the set he planned, but he made it work and the crowd was super receptive. Catch him again at Le Poisson Rouge on February 8.
Pinkshift's tour continues in Allston tonight (11/18) and wraps up in Philly on Saturday (11/19). They'll be back in the NYC-area to play Long Island's Amityville Music Hall on December 17 with Jigsaw Youth and The Deep End, and they're also playing Atlantic City's new Adjacent Festival Memorial Day Weekend with blink-182, Paramore, Turnstile, Japanese Breakfast, and more.
More pictures from Elsewhere by Amanda Hatfield, and a couple of attendee-taken videos below...