Pumarosa have an affinity for the dramatic. From the whimsical interpretive dance moves of frontwoman Isabel Munoz-Newsome to the saxophone interludes of multi-instrumentalist Tomoya Sukuzi, the East London five-piece are a far cry from your run-of-the-mill indie band.
In hindsight, support act Vista is a fitting introduction to the theatrical theme of the evening. However, this is lost on the audience who stare blankly at the lone man running on the spot, chugging beer and scrambling a step ladder to a soundtrack of pounding, head-splitting bass.
The arrival of Pumarosa is a welcome return to reality. The band perform their debut album The Witch in its entirety, accompanied by an endearingly 80s cover of The Sound’s ‘Hothouse.’ Commanding leading lady Isabel is bewitching. Her background as a performer is undeniably clear as her body moves magnetically during title track ‘The Witch.’
Pumarosa’s live set works so well because it travels between extremes: ‘Lion’s Den’ is slow and tranquil but calling card track ‘Priestess’ is wild, sprawling and reminiscent of Foals at their funkiest. They are impossible to define and their delivery is accomplished – you would never guess that they’ve only been performing together for a handful of years. Isabel, looking every inch a majestic siren in a silver gown, makes a joke mid set about being able to hear a pin drop – she’s not exaggerating. The crowd are in rapture at the band’s performance, especially during the hypnotic psychedelic sounds of ‘Snake.’ They respond to Isabel’s lack of inhibition and suddenly, men and women of all ages are grooving away with infectious energy. Encore track ‘My Gruesome Loving Friend’ sounds triumphant – Pumarosa have rocked Brudenell Social Club and they know it.
Words by Lucy Milburn