The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart and Twin Shadow at the Triple Rock, 4/25/11
The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart/Twin Shadow
April 25, 2011
Triple Rock Social Club
Two hotly tipped young bands both made their Minneapolis debuts at the sold-out Triple Rock on Monday night, as the Pains Of Being Pure At Heart and Twin Shadow delivered rousing, uplifting sets that made it clear why there's a buzz building about them in the first place. Both groups turned their guitars up and got the crowd moving with their spiraling, sanguine sound, giving a fresh, modern twist on '80s pop that obviously can still captivate an audience.
Twin Shadow is technically the brainchild of George Lewis Jr., but on this evening he brought a three-piece backing band with him, giving his songs an added depth and texture that only enhanced his moody melodies. The place was packed by the time they took the stage, with the crowd obviously excited to get their first glimpse of the band, and they didn't disappoint, tearing through a spirited and stirring 55-minute set featuring nearly every track from their excellent debut, Forget. The songs soared in the tiny club, sounding crystalline and intoxicating, with the band only growing more bold as it became clear they had easily won the crowd over. Lewis asked if the Replacements were from here, stating that they were one of his favorite bands when he grew up, and joked: "Is Paul here tonight? I didn't put him on the guest list."
And that easy charm imbued his music as well, as "Shooting Holes In The Moon" and "When We Were Dancing" both swept everyone away with their exuberant, buoyant tones. But Lewis' guitar added a welcome rougher edge to the numbers, which are certainly synth-driven on the album, but in a live setting there is a bite to them that only adds to their appeal. After the band got a rousing ovation following a stellar rendition of "I Can't Wait," Lewis astutely stated, "This is definitely a fuck-yeah kinda town. I can feel it." And seriously, fuck yeah this was a great set. "Slow" sounded a bit Smiths-like, in a decidedly good way, while "Castles In The Snow" was much more raw and untamed than the recorded version. In fact, the only thing that didn't go over well during Twin Shadows set was when Lewis announced that "Forget" would be their last song of the evening. Hopefully, it won't be too long until he brings his phenomenal songs and exquisite live show back through the area again.
Photos by Nick Wosika
The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart were making their long-overdue Minneapolis debut, keeping us all waiting until their second album before finally making a stop here. And even though it took them a while to hit their stride and connect with the crowd (which had thinned out just a bit after Twin Shadow), the show eventually took flight and their hopeful but heartbroken songs found their audience at long last. The formidable one-two punch of "This Love Is Fucking Right!" and the requested "Higher Than The Stars" caught fire, and the band only built on that momentum throughout their taut 60-minute set.
The addition of touring guitarist Christoph Hochheim to their standard four-piece was a wise move, as he provided an added crunch and urgency to the songs, while allowing frontman Kip Berman to lose himself a bit in his lovelorn lyrics (which didn't seem to be turned up enough as it was, occasionally getting buried within the wall of sound). Peggy Wang's keyboards brought a welcome bounce to the melodies, while her backing vocals (when they could be heard) perfectly complimented Berman's.
The new tracks took on a bit more of an aggressive edge in a live setting, as "Heaven's Gonna Happen Now," "Heart In Your Heartbreak" and "My Terrible Friend" (which Berman cheekily introduced by saying "This song is about having a friend you do bad things with, because it's fun to do bad things") all pulsed with an intensity and a sharpness.
Berman also shocked everyone in the audience by talking football with us, stating how he was "sorry about your up in the air quarterback situation for next year" before playing a sterling rendition of "Stay Alive" that was one of the night's clear highlights. And the main set closing trio of "Come Saturday," "Young Adult Friction" and a blistering version of "Strange" were all utterly fantastic, with the band really in high gear by this point.
The brief encore only built on that energy, as a lively rendition of "Everything With You" was quickly followed by an impassioned "The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart" which ended the night incisively. It's not that often that a young band skips the Twin Cities while touring for their first album, but hopefully after the reception the Triple Rock gave the Pains Of Being Pure At Heart, the band will make Minneapolis a regular stop on their tours from here on out.
Photos by Nick Wosika
Critic's Bias: I've been waiting patiently to see Pains for two years now, after their set at the 2009s Pitchfork festival ended up being my favorite of that entire weekend. But I was equally excited to see Twin Shadow for the first time.
The Crowd: Surprisingly more of a Twin Shadow crowd than Pains, but hopefully fans of either group came away impressed with both bands.
Overheard In The Crowd: An enthusiastic fan of Twin Shadow during their set -- "Why aren't you headlining?"
Random Notebook Dump: I'm pretty sure Berman also dedicated a song to Adrian Peterson as well. Who knew?
The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart's Setlist:
I Wanna Go All The Way
This Love Is Fucking Right!
Higher Than The Stars
Heaven's Gonna Happen Now
Heart In Your Heartbreak
My Terrible Friend
Young Adult Friction
Everything With You (Encore)
The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart (Encore)
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