Silversun Pickups w/ Atlas Genius & School of Seven Bells 09/13/12
Santa Monica Civic Auditorium – Santa Monica, CA
Words/Photos by Reverend Justito
Friends you don’t need me to tell you that we are smack dab in the middle of a baby boom. Perhaps it is because my wife and I just welcomed our first little bundle of joy into the world, but everywhere I look I see pregnant women. The final show I saw before my self-imposed let’s be a Dad instead of a music snob hiatus featured a bassist who was performing their final show before having a child, so it makes perfect sense that my wife and I’s first night out in months would also feature a bassist heading out on maternity leave. That’s right folks the 2nd post fatherhood Reverend Justito Experience (see what I did there Porks?) we ditch the baby with grandma for a few hours in order to enjoy date night with Atlas Genius, School of Seven Bells and Silversun Pickups at the Santa Monica Civic Auditorium.
After getting a belly full of Mexican goodness at Gilbert’s El Indio we headed down Pico towards the Pacific for the rock and roll show. Despite living in Santa Monica for three years now I had yet to make it through the doors of the Santa Monica Civic Auditorium. Fingers crossed Goldenvoice keeps using this place because it’s pretty sweet. Nice big open GA floor and bleachers in the back for old people such as myself. Nice lobby area where one could easily get a drink or a Silversun Pickup onsie.
The evening kicked off at 8 am with Australian indie rockers Atlas Genius. In performing my pre-show due diligence, I hated what I heard on YouTube from these guys. This is why I was shocked when they won me over with their 30 minute opening set. With front man Keith Jeffrey sharing that most of the set was from the band’s soon to be released full length debut I can’t really give you a rundown of what they played. I will say that the band sounded tight, the music was engaging enough to keep my wandering mind occupied and if you plan to catch this tour as it moves across America it is in your best interest to show up early and give them a shot.
Up next was School of Seven Bells. I was excited to see School of Seven Bells having heard some material including a crazy cover of Lil’ Wayne’s How To Love. Yet by the time the New York based band was halfway though their set I was more interested in playing Words With Friends and Simpsons Tapped Out on my recently obsolete iPhone 4. This is the thing, while the music is not terrible I have a serious lack of respect for bands that pretend to play live. If I had to guess, I would say that at least half of the music coming from the stage was made up of pre-recorded loops. Guitarist Benjamin Curtis looked bored as he focused on what I would consider third layer riffs instead of attempting to be an actual lead guitarist. Lead vocalist Alejandra Deheza managed to out-bore Curtis with her uninspired performance. Don’t even get me started on the gal with the keyboard who did more standing around than key stroking. Apparently SVIIB is best enjoyed on YouTube because upon the stage they leave a lot to be desired.
It was 10pm sharp when Silversun Pickups hit the stage. With the Civic Auditorium now near capacity the band opened with Skin Graph from their outstanding 2012 release Neck of The Woods. The opener set a tone for the night as the band performed a majority of their new album during the 90 minute show. Some of the new numbers to emerge early in the set included Simmer, Here We Are (Chancer) and the first single Bloody Mary (Nerve Endings).
Before the band dipped back to 2009 for Substitution, front man Brian Aubert took a moment to address the home town crowd. After joking about how this was the most western location the band had performed at in the greater Los Angeles area he shared the news that this would be the final performance for bassist Nikki Monniger before heading out on maternity leave. Trying to make Monninger cry, it was one of the many sweet moments between in between songs as the band prepares for life on the road without their long time bassist.
The set progressed nicely with a mix of material from the band’s last two albums. Catch and Release was a nice breather for the folks jumping up and down at the front of the stage as the band unleashed massive rock radio hits The Pit and Panic Switch. Yet the biggest reaction was reserved for the set closing Lazy Eye from the bands 2006 full length Carnavas. Fans freaked out as Aubert ran around the stage conducting his band mates with the headstock of his guitar as massive waves of deeply distorted riffage crashed into the walls of the Civic.
Looking to play all night, the band returned for a four song encore. After performing two additional songs from Neck of the Woods the band brought it back to the old school for Kissing Families and the show closing Well Thought Out Twinkles. A great way to close out a great night of music as Silversun Pickups enters a new and exciting chapter of their history. Fingers crossed Goldenvoice keeps booking shows at the Santa Monica Civic Auditorium as I know I for sure would like more date nights like this in the not so distant future.
The Royal We
Bloody Mary (Nerve Endings)
Here We Are (Chancer)
Catch and Release
Dots and Dashes (Enough Already)
Out Of Breath
Well Thought Out Twinkles