Objectivity aside, Pinback is one of my favorite bands. Alot of folks complain that there is too much going on in a Pinback song. While this argument is legitimate, I've always found that the clean, sharp production of Pinback's music along with the catchy riffs and harmonies stir up an addicting elixir that will always allow exploration. So I beg that you n00bs be patient as you listen.
Thursday I took the last fumes of gas i had and drove to charlotte for the Pinback/Kylesa show at the Neighborhood Theatre in the NoDa district, North Davidson street north of downtown Charlotte. (I've never understood why artsy locales find it necessary to deconstruct their name to two-syllable turds for the sake of simplistic recollection by imbeciles) The 'hood as it shall hence be known was a great venue. I think i paid $20 for a ticket and it was delivered to my door promptly. parking was easy and cheap ($3). There were food and drinks available at the venue, prices not bad on that either, but still might want to think about pregaming if you are so inclined.
There was plenty of space to relax, a balcony type area and some additional seating with decent views, definitely an old movie theater type place. They have a pretty neat ritual where you can write your name on a scrap paper and tape it to a chair and reserve your seat. The adolescent in me longed to reserve a seat under the name "Fuk Yoo," but i refrained. Because I'm a jaded audiophile, i chose a seat near the soundboard. I poked around waiting for Kylesa to open, dug on some local music rags and nervously watched the 20' fan that circled overhead, an amazing engineering feat.
Kylesa, from Savannah, took the stage with two drummers, two guitars and bass. the guitarist was a la Dimebag Darrell while the other, of the female variety, belted some hellacious screams. I'm never sure how to feel about two drummers, but they were tight. One was playing an all-around larger kit with a slightly different setup. They didnt stray much from the same patterns. I can't judge them, they are talented musicians, but sludge ain't my style. Their set was the normal 30-40 minute opener. The crowd was supportive, the band gracious.
The set change was remarkably quick, during which i struck up a convo with a nearby stranger. the Set up was simplistic, allowing more time to ogle the visuals and musicianship.
Pinback is a band that only has two permanent members, Armistead Burwell Smith IV (aka. Zach) and Rob Crow. The band on Thursday consisted of 5 members, drums, guitar, bass, keys, and another alternating between keys/synth and guitar. Zach and Rob also took their turns on the ivory.
The band played with zest and maintained an entertaining enthusiasm throughout the show. Vocals were solid. The band did not improvise heavily on the tracks, but were true to the studio style. Pinback uses the bass guitar to guide their songs, which i prefer over bands who play in FAGBAG and other low tunings. The lead melodies of the guitar are still discernible, but the bass is the dominant character on the track. I think it is this conflict that turns off most listeners to Pinback's music. BASS CHORDS!
Some of the songs, it seemed to me some of moderate pace or the more "popular" songs were played at a faster tempo. I could never figure out why. They weren't really in a hurry to leave the stage; maybe they did it by mistake. My friend pointed out that it may have been because the drummer did not start most of the songs.
Pinback did a good job with the setlist, playing a good mix of old and new. I'm still warming up to the new album; the songs are great, but there is a lot of polished marketing behind it--album, web site and all. They did not play "Soaked," which is one of my favorite songs, but I wasn't without disappointment.
Enjoy a chance to see Pinback on tour while you can. Anyone else who saw them, I welcome your thoughts/comments.