They didn’t play “Future Foe Scenarios,” a song which my family all agrees is probably their best; other than that, WHAT A FUCKING SHOW!!
The opening acts consisted of Kiev (never heard of ’em) and A Silent Film (I guess they are semi-popular?). Honestly, with a brewpub in the same parking lot as the Revolution Concert House, we waited as long as possible to enter the venue. Arriving for the tail end of Kiev’s last song, we were instantly bummed we’d missed them. Of the two people I would call frontman, one was jamming out on a Les Paul, while the other switched between blasting percussive bass notes on a sax and tinkling out random, sonic goodness on a keyboard. It sounded like something from one of Les Claypool’s greatest nightmares.
A Silent Film was a little mismatched for the occasion, as they are a little more on the softer side of pop music (my dad said they reminded him of Coldplay… sort of). We stood outside and watched smokers smoke while commenting on how we didn’t like what little we could hear from the porch.
Then, sweet, sweet Silversun Pickups took the stage. True to form, they started with a dark rollercoaster of a jam entitled “Better Nature (Cradle),” the first track from their new album of the same name. Talk about a track to fire up the crowd. Bassist Nikki Monninger swayed and grooved in her silver, sequined dress; Singer / Guitarist Brian Aubert’s fist screamed back and forth across the strings, while screeching out his siren song; Drummer Christopher Guanloa was a blur of long hair and flailing limbs, periodically striking a crash cymbal perched several feet above everything else in his drum kit; and Keyboardist Joe Lester pushed on keys very firmly with his fingers… a lot.
The evening consisted of so much excellence, including a simple-yet-classy backdrop (see photographs courtesty of Giant Penis-Owner Justin H.), colored set lights and perfectly-timed strobes (they go well with Guanloa’s ratatat percussion style), a song sung by Nikki, and singles from all four albums (and one EP). While the majority of the songs were from their new album (“Better Nature” is truly worth a listen and was the reason I revisited their older ones), they didn’t disappoint fans when they performed the whimsical “Lazy Eye,” the paranoia-driven “Panic Switch,” and the frantically upbeat “The Royal We.”
It’s probably worth noting that, from their new album, critic’s can use terms like ballad (“Friendly “Fires”) and anthem (“Nightlight”), albeit loosely, to describe their music. Nothing had come before on any of their previous albums that really fit into those categories. Let us say that they do this anthem and ballad true to their own form and in their own particular idiom (in case you only associate anthems with punk music, and ballads with 80s hair metal). This fact is made all the more significant when one considers how electronic sounding their new album is (although, the band doesn’t utilize any looping tech… just some choice keyboard sounds, Monninger’s machine-like regularity with bass notes, and Guanloa’s semi-repetitive, semi-automatic bass and snare hits).
Sadly, for you anyway, the remainder of their tour takes place primarily in Europe. So… get your ass over to Holland for some legal drugs and prostitution, and one hell of a concert.