Monday, 16 January 2012

The Pinecones - January 1982

The Pinecones existed for less than a year, yet during that time managed to transmute through four distinct phases, each with its own radically different sound.
Rising from the ashes of legendary Bangor post-punks A Silly Tree in the early Summer of 1981, the Pinecones started out as a bright and breezy psychedelic pop outfit, featuring the talents of classical guitarist Martin Parry on bass and experienced keyboardist Sarah Holyfield on Vox Continental organ. Several months were spent writing and rehearsing material in preparation for a debut gig at Bangor's Castle Hotel. In the event the gig proved to be too much of a success, and the group were instantly booked to play two major gigs in the area the following month - at the University's main hall and at the annual Ogwen Valley Fair outdoor festival.

Never ones to embrace popularity without a fight, Alan, Maeyc and Maria decided on a plan to shed some of the unwelcome acclaim. For the two upcoming gigs, they decided that no rehearsed songs would be played and, with the help of an on-stage alarm clock, the set would be divided into 3 minute sections, during which the group would spontaneously make up material on the spot. To introduce further instability, they also invited several friends on stage to join in, including the notorious industrial pioneer Lustmord. The plan worked a treat, and not only did the group alienate the audience, but also Martin and Sarah, who promptly left the line-up! Sadly no recordings of this short lived phase exist.

The third phase in the group's career was something of a one-off anomaly, with a subtle change of spelling to become The Pink Ones for one night. In this guise, they performed a complete set of Syd Barrett/Pink Floyd songs at a Psychedelic event at the Glanrafon pub on 27th October 1981. Martin rejoined briefly for the event and their friend Scott Saunders, previously of Some Noise, The Verbs and The Inadequates stepped in on organ, whilst Alan took over lead vocal duties for the evening. It was a most entertaining evening, although the group inadvertently pioneered the concept of the tribute band in the process, for which they are very sorry.

Immediately the group set to work on their definitive incarnation, inviting old school friend and founder member of A Silly Tree Gary Stubbs in to augment the core trio. The new sound was harsh and discordant, at times reminiscent of the No-Wave scene that was happening in New York at the time. The group debuted their new material at Plas Coch in Llanedwen on November 24th and it was an unqualified success, if only artistically. A gig on the 22nd of January 1982 in the Glanrafon was even better and is generally remembered as the greatest live event to have ever been experienced in Bangor. Sadly, after this peak the group found it difficult to live up to expectations and played a couple of final gigs in March at the Padarn Lake Hotel in Llanberis (4/3/82) and the Victoria Hotel in Menai Bridge (12/3/82).

The Pinecones - Goetre Uchaf Farm, Bangor
January 1982

Maeyc Hewitt
- drums / bass / guitar / vocals
Alan Holmes
- guitar / bass / trumpet / vocals
Maria Hycz
- vocals / bass / guitar
Gary Stubbs
- bass / guitar / xylophone / recorder / vocals

1 Forward 3.13
2 Red Dress 3.47
3 Can You Show Me the Way? 4.50
4 On My Mind 3.38
5 Break 1.47
6 Friday 5.00
7 Calling 4.49
8 Whys 6.25
bonus tracks:
9 That Look 2.03
10 That Look 2.08
11 Being In Love Is Nice 1.59
12 Go! 2.16
13 Peter Owen 3.12
14 I Can Reach 0.57
(all songs: Hewitt/Holmes/Hycz/Stubbs)

get it here

1 comment:

  1. I'm sure I was at the gig in the university refectory when they managed to alienate the audience. I never thought I'd here from them again! Fabulous.