It's been a long, slow progression, but after about four years of avoidance, resistance, and just plain ignorance, I'm starting to fall for the Silversun Pickups. It didn't make any sense at first--they reminded me of all those horrible pop punk and post-grunge bands that I used to listen in my teens, and bands who sound like that now can't be cool, can they? But then, something weird happened. I kept hearing this song on the Current. It was on pretty much every time I got in the car. And I liked it. It sounded different from the other songs they played, and it got stuck in my head all the time. The singer sounded like an emo kid singing through a tin can over a telephone line, and the guitar riffs were big and dramatic and magnificent.
Turns out the song is "There's No Secrets This Year," off the new Silversun Pickups album Swoon, and suddenly I want to hear more from this band. Suddenly, I'm in love with this band, and it's because of a song I kept hearing on the radio--when's the last time that happened?
I decided to head down to the State Theatre last night to look into this matter further. Part of me still didn't want to like this band, for some reason. I can't really explain why, it just didn't make sense in my head that I would like it. But I put my reservations aside and tagged along with a friend of mine who's loved them for years.
The show was great. So great, in fact, that it seemed strange to see them perform in a theater, because everyone wanted to stand and bob up and down and sing along. Much like the songs on their albums, their sound eminated from the stage in one unified movement, with no one element--guitars, keys, drums, bass, vocals--rising above the others. The songs were like round, perfect eggs, complete packages delivered directly from them to us. The only exception to this egg-like quality was when lead singer Brian Aubert would punctuate his muted vocal melodies with a throaty, spine-chilling yelp.
Aubert made several comments about the theater throughout the night, saying that he wished people didn't have to worry about standing in the right seats. At one point, he asked that they turn the house lights on so he could see all the way up to the balcony, and at another he decided to forego the stage all together and play a guitar solo while walking up and down the center aisle. In fact, he rarely stopped moving throughout the show; anytime he didn't need to be behind the microphone, he would roam from one side of the stage to another, a huge grin plastered on his face while he played.
The group played a lot of material off of Swoon, which just came out this year, in addition to songs from their previous two efforts. Highlights included "Lazy Eye," "Panic Switch," and "Kissing Families," which featured a good span of screaming by Aubert and gave me goosebumps.
After a brief pause, the band rushed back on stage to play a one-song encore, and Aubert said that they couldn't waste any time because the theater was enforcing a strict curfew. "Fuck curfews and fuck chairs," he said, smiling fiendishly, as they launched into their last song and waved goodbye.
All photos and video by Stacy Schwartz.