Saturday, May 13, 2006

Pinback | Higher Ground | May 7th

After spending the day hanging in the sunshine with the hippies, I spent the evening hanging in the dark club with the indie kids. Last Sunday, a friend and I headed over to Higher Ground to catch Pinback.

I'm not a big Pinback fan but I like a few tunes off This Is Pinback. Plus, I generally enjoy that post-rock sound.

We got into the club late and completely missed the two opening bands so I have no idea what they sounded like. Due to another event (I think it was a canoeing movie or something) in the smaller room, Pinback was booked for the Grand Ballroom. As soon as we walked in the door, I knew that idea was unfortunate. There was only about 100-150 people there which looks horrible in a room that holds about 650. It looked like a Kansas City Wizards home game in Arrowhead.

When Pinback took the stage, the crowd moved together and up against the stage. However, the large space with a small crowd still sucked any energy or atmosphere out of the room. If that same crowd had been in the smaller room, perhaps that wouldn't have been the case.

By the way, what was the deal with Higher Ground's lack of beer. About eight of their ten taps were kicked. I was still able to get an Otter Creek but what the hell? Do they get their deliveries on Mondays or was there some heavy beer drinking crowd there the night before?

Despite the small crowd, Pinback plowed through a good set. Like I said earlier, I'm not very familiar with their catalog but enjoy "their sound". That would be true for their live show too. An hour+ of good music. Plus, their bass player, Zach Smith, is pretty entertaining to watch. His right hand is a blur as he plays a combo of picking and strumming while using his thumb to bang against the top string. And he plays a lot of chords and notes way down the fret board by the body of the guitar which gives their sound a unique undercurrent.

My only complaint is the same one I had when I saw The Sea & Cake a few years ago. I love that mellow atmospheric post-rock sound. However, both bands seem to morph when they are playing live into rock rather than post-rock. The beat speeds up a bit and the mix removes that airy post-rock sound. It was still good but not as interesting as their studio work.

The show ended before 11pm which was nice since it meant getting back to Montpelier at a decent hour. That's always nice after a long day of watching/smelling hippies and indie kids.

Pinback | Tripoli
Pinback | Hurley


chad said...

I saw pinback around when their second full-length came out (2001?). Even then they were far more "rock" live than on recordings.

casey said...

Too bad you missed Faun Fables. No idea why they were on the same bill as Pinback, though.

Of course, I missed the whole thing, due to a scheduling conflict.

The Books (Sat, May 13) was one of the best shows I've ever seen...

Flatlander said...

Tanner over on Highgate said similarly great things about The Books show. I'm sorry I missed it.