Reviews:: Silversun Pickups live @ the Commodore - Vancouver


It’s great to see a band evolve. Earlier this year, the Silversun Pickups rolled through town, opening for LadyHawk and Magnolia Electric Co. (if the joint hadn’t been flooded after the first set) with little attention and fanfare. That didn’t stop them from delivering a kickass performance, and at that time I thought the venue was the perfect size for the hard working four-piece from Cali.

Fast-forward about 8 months, and the Dangerbird band is starting to get noticed. Throwback 90’s rock is always a good thing in my mind and this band does it perfectly. Ignoring the constant Smashing Pumpkins references, this band writes catchy, drum and guitar heavy riffs that you can’t ignore – and even MTV agrees. The organic growth of this band has done little to affect their attitudes, but a year of consistent touring has tighten the screws and they have become an excellent live band.

They played a much bigger venue last night – the Commodore, opening for Wolfmother* – and I couldn’t help but wonder if they’d get lost on the bigger stage, playing for a lot more people. Short answer – Nope. They sounded great and brought tonnes of energy. The bigger stage really let Brian say “what the f*&k; and run a muck” and Chris (as always) was a demon on the kit. If I had to nit-pick, I’d say the fact Nikki and Joe are pretty stationary really stands out on the big stage, but in the end, who cares really?

Musically, they crushed it. From the opening note of Well Thought out Twinkies to the final feedback loop of Lazy Eye (side note - Lazy Eye has to be the best set closing song of the year. The way the non-stop guitar crunch, cymbal crash rock jam builds to a frantic wall of sound only to cut it short and bring it back is deadly), I was completely into this show.

Obviously, I love the album – its number four on the ole Best of list – but the improvements of the live show were very noticeable. Smoother breakdowns, better solos and quite simply, just more rock. Joe’s sounds were much clearer and more experimental and Nikki’s bass sounded like it was strung with rubber bands. Last time they played, you could barely hear her lines. Songs like Dream at Tempo 119 take new life on stage, and this band is one you need to check out live.

Very few live acts can come out and just bring it, and the Silversun Pickups are just that. They only had about 40 minutes, and not one was wasted.

* Hipster exception.
We didn’t stay for Wolfmother and the relentless Fox 99.3 promotion. We forgot our saddles, and the bro-deo was way too full of mesh hats, frat dudes, Wolfmother tour shirts, and drunks. I’m into the Wolfmother record enough to enjoy it from time to time, but this was not one of the times. I’m not down with the radio guy hyper Fox brings, nor am I down with power drinkers on a Monday night. Devil horns and Sabbath/Led Zep riffs are great. I’m sure it rocked ass, so don’t bother asking why we didn’t stay or letting us know how we missed out.


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