Earliest show ever? Silversun Pickups' gig at the outdoor Williamsburg Waterfront involved a door time of 5'o'fucking clock. With a little bit of usual Friday night traffic and an unexpected start time for Against Me! of 7:15, I'd unfortunately missed all of the Henry Clay People and all but the last third of AM!'s set upon arrival.
Frankly, I didn't even recognize who was playing as the band plodded through "Bamboo Bones" (complete with auxiliary keyboardist Franz Nicolay's expansive tones), so I wasn't too worried. Then I recognized the mid-tempo shrug of "Suffocation" following that and some disappointment set in. I was able to catch that song from afar as my cousin and I navigated our way around the truly confusing entry points to the floor area for the show. Practically the whole concrete slab was closed off to keep alcohol off the viewing premises and more towards the drinking area; while that's certainly something I can appreciate, as having beer spilled on you and no shirt to change into is not the most fun for those of us refraining from constant upping of the punx, it took forever to find our way in. "Spanish Moss" and "Rapid Decompression," two more White Crosses cuts, followed. It seemed like AM! only had a couple fans scattered about, as well as a really embarrassing "pit" that consisted of a few bulky dudes of wildly varying age pogo-ing into each other. But they might've had more fans there than I thought when Tommy Gabel howled the open line to "Sink, Florida, Sink" and the fingerpoints came out of the woodwork. Here's what else they played. Matt Pinfield later came out with the Fat Wreck Chords namedrop in championing the ability of independent labels to get the word out on bands.
I came to see Silversun Pickups more as a voyeur than a fan. They're quickly becoming one of the most celebrated alternative rock bands of the modern landscape, with some pretty steady commercial appeal and critical approval (mostly). So I decided to see what the big deal was and was relatively rewarded with a solid and pretty engaging set with one too many unintentioned stabs of feedback but few frills overall. Apparently, they may have sped up the tempo on many of these songs, so keep that in mind.
The band seemed humbled by the huge, practically amphitheater-sized crowd and responded by continually drowning them in waves of humming guitars, amble melodies and Brian Aubert's ethereal voice. I noticed that his version of screaming was incredibly similar to that of Anthony Green's--maybe it's just because they're both androgynously voiced frontmen of atmospheric alternative/indie rock bands. Let's not forget bassist Nikki Monninger, though; she was steady and measured throughout with occasional pogo-ing to give the stage a better energy.
Their fans were all over the age and race spectrum, which seemed interesting. The average age likely dipped into the mid-to-late 20s, and there was very bizarre push-mosh that began to occur towards the middle and end of the set, much to the rest of the audience's bemusement or out-of-comfort zone shock. All were very receptive to the band, though, dancing along, cheering between songs or simply informing Monninger, "You're hot, by the way!"
Set list (8:31-9:48):
- Growing Old Is Getting Old
- Well Thought Out Twinkles
- Sort Of
- There's No Secrets This Year
- The Royal We
- Little Lover's So Polite
- It's Nice to Know You Work Alone
- Future Foe Scenarios
- Kissing Families
- Catch and Release
- Panic Switch
- Lazy Eye
- Creation Lake (not sure if they played this or not)
- Common Reactor