I can still feel the rush of energy, and the sound of bass pumping even now. Silversun Pickups sold out Lupo's Heartbreak Hotel theater. It was so packed people were filing in to the top row of the high-rise balcony. Bodies surrounding the venue seemed much like bundled up wires, fusing their prospects together with beer, and musical anticipation.
As a follow-up 40th Birthday Bash event for local alternative radio station WBRU in Providence RI. It has now been proven that they know how to throw a pretty damn good party! The line-up starting with An Horse, followed by southern-grunge rock group
Cage The Elephant, headlined by the most anticipated Silversun Pickups.
The venue was not much to talk about — I am sure it was a gem back in its day.
However, for now it's a run down rock venue, which turns into a hip hop club after hours.
So if you can picture the kind of place I am talking about, you'll understand that the scene set practically perfect for this kind of show.
Lupo's was packed, a turn out I had heard some say was the best they'd seen in this place all year. The two opening acts served as a great appetizer for the audience. Getting everyone riled up, but just awful enough to keep them contained for the headliner. (Sorry, but Cage The Elephant was nothing to rant about.)
Hell I went out and bought Carnavas when "Lazy Eye" exploded onto the radio. I am not a super-fan, but I can dig what they offer. The most amazing part about all of this is that I had half expected this show to be a pretty average rated performance.
So maybe my attitude in the beginning set me up to be either totally right or completely blown away. The latter of which I find does not happen on very many occasions with today's music indulgences. So what was to follow was as alarming to me, as it was for much of the audience I am sure.
Silversun Pickups put on a show so consuming, so phenomenal — I was, and still am completely blown away. This was the classic alternative rock show I thought had been buried for many, many years. Prior to this evening – of which nothing short of pure vitality was proven, the great genre that had been lost in between lines of grunge, 90’s alt-rock, and indie became stitched together in the most magnificent of ways. (Think of Smashing Pumpkins) Brian Aubert (lead vocals, guitar) performed volumes, stopping in between songs not to take a breath, but to repeatedly thank the fans. For which, they felt indebted to scream back gratitude's of their own.
Brian carried the show like the sweat pouring off his brow, manifesting vitality in every measure.
Silversun Pickups really know how to leave a lasting impression; they left every person standing on air. Playing all of the favorites as well as some of the new stuff off of Swoon. "Panic Switch" of course made high impact, drawing liters of sweat in from the energetic crowd. "Kissing Families" was my favorite; Silversun performed it as if they were to never play it again. "Lazy Eye" was one of the last of the songs to be played, and as their break-out hit you would expect them to be bored in its performance. But going with the shock & awe theme of the night, again- I was stunned.
However, the glory of the night didn't come from the front-man, or even the beautiful and talented Nikki Monninger (bassist). The highlight of the evening would have to be placed entirely on what happened behind the main act. The place where few onlookers tend to pay attention, the one band member often times left behind. This show made all the exceptions for shadowed out drummers everywhere. The incendiary performance by drummer Christopher Guanlao kept the spotlight illuminating his genuine talent all throughout the night. He proved song, after song his ability to win over the show.
At one point he did what seemed to be a three minute solo; the entire venue left standing still, jaws to the floor in awe. Even his fellow band-mates turned to him in silence and respect. It was like witnessing the national anthem at the beginning of the Superbowl. It was within that moment, my admiration for Silversun Pickups was solidified.
Lest not leave anyone in the dust, I also want to make notice of Joe Lester (keyboards). If it wasn't for him Silversun would not have the pioneering sound that they do. This man is a pedestal for every sound Silversun Pickups processes, a mix-master if you will. Past the bands second encore (yes, second!) following the end of their last song Brian Aubert, and Joe Lester stayed behind on stage. A most unusual rendition of noise, which could be compared to Jimi Hendrix with modern day synthesizers and mix-tables. This whole spectacle left the crowd screaming for more, a solid five minutes after the lights had turned on.
Upon walking in at the beginning of the night, I was merely a music critic with a slight chip on my shoulder. At the end of the night, I was raging with the crowd as well as any fan standing there.