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Silversun Pickups At Amoeba, Tuesday February 25th 2014

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Local heroes Nikki and Brian

As everyone knows, Amoeba has all the good shows and they are all free! Meaning that, each time there is an in-store concert, there are hundreds of people waiting on line and I also have to wait for 2 hours to have a chance to get a good spot… It’s a battle every time! An organized battle but still, way too many people know about these shows these days.

When did Silversun Pickups become so famous? I am not sure, I still walk by the Silversun liquor store they were named after every day, and I remember seeing them at local clubs such as the Silverlake Lounge or Spaceland (now the Satellite) a decade ago, but now they are wow big, as they have been nominated in the Best New Artist category for the Grammy Awards in 2009 and have toured with Placebo (in 2009) and even Muse (in 2010). They are a true local heroes (they kept saying they were from here) and needless to say they had attracted lots of people for an acoustic performance at Amoeba and a signing of ‘The Singles Collection, a 7” Vinyl Box Set’. Yeah, they didn’t even have a new album to sell – their last one, ‘Neck of the Woods’ was released in 2012 – but just a box set of singles, which first, didn’t seem to be a good idea, as guitarist Brian Aubert wrote on their website: ‘When Dangerbird approached us about doing a singles collection, we said, ‘No way! That’s crazy talk. In our heads, we still don’t see ourselves as a singles band swimming in a singles universe. Our thought is, we’re okay with all of our songs. So it was very important to us that if we were going to do it that we could make it special. With that in mind, we were inspired to go in and record some new songs.  Looking back, it ended up being quite positive, almost like a nightcap to the last 10 years…’

 

Only two of them played at Amoeba, guitarist/vocalist Brian Aubert and bassist Nikki Monninger, and he did most of the talking, as Nikki appeared shy facing this upbeat talkative guy, and even a bit scared in front of this large crowd,… or at least this is how they wanted to appear, but both of them had these enormous smiles across their faces, really happy to be there, and wildly joking with the crowd…. Aubert did some embarrassing jokes about Monninger’s recent pregnancy, even accusing The Happy Hollows’ Sarah Negahdari (who had replaced Monninger during her maternity leave, and was apparently standing in the front) to have made holes in condoms in order to continue touring with the band? What? That was way too much information/inside jokes for me, but beside all this they managed to play a few of their singles such as ‘Cannibal’, ‘Lazy Eye’, ‘Kissing Families’, ‘Panic Switch’. Of course an acoustic performance is really different from a real rock show, but I must say that, even sitting on a stool, Aubert had some wild dynamic strumming and there wasn’t anything boring or even tamed down in their performance: they put all their energy, even aggressiveness in their dark songs. Yes, despite their large smiles, there’s lot of darkness and least anxiety in these tunes. Beside Nikki’s killer bass lines, Brian Aubert’s voice, which went from an angry high pitch croon to a cathartic scream, was the main attraction, and even made the crowd scream and applause in the middle of a song….  For me, most of their songs have this potential of a movie pursuit with Aubert’s high voice almost out of breath, carrying anxiety, as if he had escaped the biggest beast or was forced to face it… may be that’s the thing that made Silversun Pickups so big, may be that’s a certain Smashing Pumpkins vibe (minus Billy Corgan’s monstrous ego).

 

‘Here is something off our fourth record’, joked Brian Aubert,… ‘eventually we will have a fourth album!’ The crowd was with them at 100%  from the beginning when they opened the show with ‘Cannibal’ and its a roaring bass to ‘Panic Switch’, during which he decided to tour the store, picking up a few CDs while Nikki was keeping the song alive with her bass, and this was much better than Muse’ s Matthew Bellamy running around Rome Olympic Stadium.

More pictures of the show here.

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