Tonight at Notting Hill Arts Club is one of those live music nights where we’re contracting frostbite in the queue outside, and then transitioning to sub-saharan temperatures indoors, as the venue is so rammed. It’s busy for good reason though, as we are seeing the debut live performance of Pines — the new musical alter ego of Jack Mercer, until now best known as lead singer of indie outfit, The Carnabys.
The Carnabys were a force to be reckoned with, make no mistake. But a few notes in, it becomes quickly apparent that there’s going to be a greater buzz to accompany this fresher, more exciting sound. Pines takes the stage with his backing of band and brass, clad in a white boiler suit (brave, considering the climate of the venue), and they launch into their set, opening with Embers, an apt name for a scintillating first number.