Canned Pineapple provide a energy-filled night of rock and roll
There are many words you can use to describe Canned Pineapple but boring is not one of them. The Brighton-based rock and roll group played a small, invite-only show in Salisbury on the 4th and I was lucky enough to be invited.
From the get-go it appeared the band knew how to impress a crowd. They launched into Shubadooba, a track off their self-titled EP which was released in June and captured everyone’s attention. Frontman Seán Drury buzzed with energy throughout the whole show whilst his counterparts, guitarists Oakley Gardiner and Gabe Rice, bassist Jude Allenby and drummer Charlie Pringle weren’t far behind.
The band’s set consisted of 13 original songs and then a string of covers, although they only have five tracks released on streaming platforms, which feels a shame as their unreleased music is really catchy and is guaranteed to get stuck in your head. She’s Got a Car, my favourite off their EP, was electrifying to see live, the band went into overdrive, Pringle went crazy on the drums and Gardiner and Allenby harmonised on the backing vocals. Why Don’t The Pretty Women Look At Me?, the first track off their EP, was also a highlight with Pringle delivering on the strong drum beats and Gardiner properly rocking his corner, although it felt more rehearsed it still had that passionate rock and roll feeling which came across throughout the whole performance.
Turkey Sandwiches, their debut single released in April 2023, was a big hit with the crowd as the band appeared really lively, with cheering for Allenby as he provided some strong backing vocals while Drury delivered ardently on the lyrics. Unreleased track She Says was ridiculously catchy and has been stuck in my head ever since; the guitars came together to produce a sweet-sounding arrangement while the lyrics explore a dilemma where a girl says she loves you, but you aren’t so sure. Georgia, another unreleased hit about really loving a girl was perfect for a slow headbang, fitting for the band as the majority of them had long hair.
Oh! Sheila, a slow unreleased track Drury claimed as their “sexual number”, was full of personality, with Gardiner providing some impressive guitar as Drury crooned on about Sheila, his voice so dedicated and meaningful that it came across almost comical and caused Rice to start laughing, however it didn’t affect his guitar playing which was consistently sensational.
Frontman Seán Drury was the spokesperson of the band, providing the lead vocals, playing the guitar, and occasionally pausing in between songs to plea out, in want of a single mother. His strong and lively vocals meant he appeared to be the epitome of rock and roll dressed in a denim waistcoat. Guitarist Oakley Gardiner rocked out in his corner of the stage while supporting with backing vocals and occasionally jumping around mid-strum. Joining Gardiner in backing vocals was bassist Jude Allenby who provided strong bass lines, clearly enjoying the rhythm as he rocked in time with the music. Guitarist Gabriel Rice, the band’s resident George Harrison lookalike, appeared unbothered and calm whilst playing even the most complex of guitar parts, as if guitar came second nature to him. Charlie Pringle, the only band member not working the fret board was hidden at the back on the drums and although he didn’t speak, he definitely was heard, as he delivered the band’s fast-paced iconic drumbeats. While each group member has their own style, it’s clear that this formula works well for them as they appear to get on so well and clearly have fun on stage together. Drury even affectionately joked “Bit like a pantomime up here, with these clowns”.
The band seemed dedicated and passionate about their music but also knew how to have fun with it, they did a rock cover of one-line song Tequila and Drury even busted out his Morrisey impression for their cover of This Charming Man, his usual karaoke song of choice. Their cover of Last Nite by The Strokes was my favourite cover of theirs, and I truly feel like the cheer they received was not strong enough considering how committed Drury had been to the first line of the chorus every time it came round. Pringle nailed Psychokiller by Talking Heads and Let’s Dance by David Bowie proved no challenge with Gardiner mastering the guitar part, leading the audience to believe that maybe guitar is a man’s best friend. For AC/DC’s Back in Black they were joined on stage by a guest singer who will remain nameless but he seemed to impress the crowd with his fearless rendition. The band ended the show with Gardiner and Drury devotedly reciting Where’s Me Jumper before the band got low for Rock and Roll Station and Allenby and Rice showed off their skills as they jammed together.
From looking on to the stage, the band appear as an eclectic group, each with their own style and a fresh indie teenage boy energy, like their music careers started off as messing around having fun but actually good music has been created as a result of it. This energy and enthusiasm radiates off the band and infects the audience. Just listening to them, you begin to sway and nod your head, a feeling that I’m sure would have escalated to rushing the stage and screaming if the crowd had been more their age range, although I’m sure Drury was disappointed not to have older single mothers lapping at his feet.
Their style is reminiscent of 80’s rock and roll with a contemporary twist, they proved themselves more than capable of keeping up with the classics but breathed new vibrancy into the covers, providing the ultimate live experience for songs you’d usually hear the studio recording of. And while they were comfortable enough playing covers, which I’m told their setlists rarely include, no cover track seemed to energise and make the band come alive quite like their originals- and rightly so. For Canned Pineapple to be nothing more than a tribute band would simply be a waste of talent.
So if you fancy tuning in to some new wave rock and roll, Canned Pineapple should be your next stop- in fact I’d highly recommend you do so.
Catch Canned Pineapple in Brighton on the 9th November and in Northampton on the 1st and 2nd December.