Last Saturday, July 24, 2010, I headed out to see Pinback again, at El Rey. I probably go on like a broken record about this band, but this was a landmark month for them, beginning with an 11-show run of a never-before-seen two-person incarnation of the band with just Rob Crow and Zach Smith performing fresh, simpler arrangements of their extraordinarily complex compositions. Billed as Pinback presents The Rob and Zach Show they played a series of small to mid-sized clubs with the closest one to L.A. being in Costa Mesa at the Detroit Bar on July 1st which I attended (reviewed at Radio Free Silver Lake).
When I found out they had booked three additional dates for the rest of the month, including this one in L.A., I bought a ticket not knowing what formation the band would have. I would have been happy to see the Costa Mesa show all over again, but when the curtains parted, the stage was filled with the full Pinback band outfit and when Rob said they were digging deep to play songs they'd not played in a long while, I was primed for what would be one of their best concerts ever.
I had a wonderful spot with a great view, up close, for most of the show and I swear I was cemented to the floor for over an hour, transfixed. The back up musicians are the same as I have been seeing with them for a couple of years now and they really sound great together. Lots of keyboard work, which is such a vital part of their records, and the wonderful sound of Zach and Rob's voices blending and weaving.
I really love the three-song E.P. that came with Autumn of the Seraphs, and always wondered why they never played any of those songs in concert, but got my wish when they played two of those songs right up front. "I'm a Pretty Lady" and "Kylie" are about as beautiful a couple of songs as they ever wrote and they sounded incredible live.
They grabbed obscure tracks from all their albums, "Crutch" and "Lyon" from This Is a Pinback CD, "Bbtone" and "Tres" from Blue Screen Life and "The Red Book" and "3x0" from Summer In Abaddon. Of course we got "Microtonic Wave" off the E.P. Offcell, but we also got "Trainer" and "Manchuria" from the Some Voices E.P. It was an amazing set list!
Familiar hits like "Fortress" and "Penelope" were present and a nice helping from the great Autumn of the Seraphs album including "How We Breathe" and "Devil You Know" left the highly enthusiastic audience in a state of rapturous contentment. They even played two new songs, one of which is quite exceptional called "Sherman", which I'd heard them do in Costa Mesa as well. It looked to me like the venue was practically sold out and with their popularity and their talent, I'll just paraphrase their lyric and say, "I wish that they could go on forever..."