For about 30 bucks, Columbus music fans had the opportunity to see shoegaze mega-stars Silversun Pickups along with three of the hottest rising alternative acts, those being Delta Spirit (San Diego), The Features (Nashville), and Cloud Nothings (Cleveland).
The evening was long, making the 30 bucks worth it both for the casual fans looking for new, great live bands and the die-hard CD102.5 radio listeners. Cloud Nothings opened the show with 30 minutes of non-stop, driving, punk-influened alternative jam rock. The band has been receiving press from seemingly every major blog (notably Pitchfork, leading to a few festival appearances) and I suppose they can now add I AM TUNED UP to that list. The vocals are gravelly – an acquired taste to be sure, but the band had an uncanny ability to be captivating despite not being overly showy with their stage presence. I should mention that pretty much their whole set was performed without break – creative fills galore meshed the songs together and over half the set was instrumental.
The Features delivered next, with a set of catchy, albeit straightforward alternative music not too different from the typical alternative radio fare. “The Temporary Blues” was a definite highlight, bringing about a natural high at a point that seemed to coincide mood-wise with my wandering thoughts. With a limited amount of experience listening to them, their performance made me want to explore more. Would I see them again? Probably. I’d be curious to see how they do in a more intimate environment.
Another band that’s been getting a lot of online press is San Diego’s Delta Spirit. “Just tear it up, just tear it up, just tear it up…” the wonderfully redundant refrain echoed quite loudly throughout the huge indoor auditorium, serving as a sort of mission statement for the band. Dual drum kits adorned the stage, with one being somewhat crudely assembled – a large bass drum was supported by two folding chairs. The band played with such ferocity that you would have thought each song was their last – a feeling that only increased during the preceding songs before their actual finale.
Silversun Pickups picked an important day to play Columbus. Well, for them anyway. Their usual bass player, Nikki Monniger, home on maternity leave, gave birth to twin girls just that morning. So needless to say her three bandmates were pretty jazzed – a factor that likely contributed to the live performance. Fill-in bass player Sarah Negahdari did a simply splendid job, and was all smiles the whole performance. Predictably, the band got the best response from the crowd during their hits, such as “The Royal We,” “Bloody Mary,” “The Pit,” “Panic Switch,” and “Lazy Eye” but they did well on their deeper cuts as well, which in this show were mostly from their new LP Neck of the Woods. An engaging light show made use of several strobes and colored spotlights, and some strategically placed light bars to create cool patterns on a white backdrop. The band, despite not being your typical “mosh pit” inducing group certainly made the crowd come alive in a way that none of the openers did, with all of the evening’s crowd-surfers popping up during their set. In summary, Silversun Pickups put on a satisfying set.