Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Pinback and Kenseth Thibideau at El Rey (5/10/11)

I just love going to a concert and watching a band that nobody knows about absolutely take over an audience and win their hearts and minds in a few minutes. I saw this happen twice last week. First at the show held to commemorate Feed Your Head's third anniversary, I saw a lot of friends who had never seen Torches In Trees before, just hypnotized by the dreamy atmosphere and the solid musicianship of this band.

The next night, May 10, 2011, I was at El Rey. This was and the 13th time I've seen Pinback and I knew that, as they are between albums, it would be easy to get up close. It was a really nice crowd and sparse enough that you could move around. I made sure to get there early because Kenseth Thibideau was opening, and he opened for Rob Crow last December at The Satellite. Of course, anyone who is a fan of Pinback is going to be immediately taken with the deep, thumping sound that defines Kenseth Thibideau's music, but it would be for nothing were it not for the beautiful melodies he weaves into the deep fabric.

I was so taken by his set at The Satellite that I bought his CD, Repetition, from him and have been listening to it ever since. This was the chance to see him now that I know the songs. That's always something of a test for a band and he came through with flying colors. I think the entire audience became fans of his that night.

He has an amazing cinematic sense which makes the full compositions he writes extremely visual in nature. I looked around at one point and everyone was lost in a movie in their head, as the music was so evocative there was no way to avoid getting lost in it. This is good writing.

I was sure to tell Kenseth that, in that audience, he had really won a lot of people over. He was surprised and pleased to hear that and I realized that on stage, there's no accurate way to gage an audiences response. You need to let a band knbow when they blow you away.

Pinback were wonderful as usual. They have gotten so tight as a live band, they can play anything from their entire, huge catalog. Ending with a perfect rendition of "Grey Machine" capped off a perfect night. This is the last cut on their EP Offcell from 2003, which is also one of their most complex and shape-shifting songs ever, and to hear it performed so flawlessly, live, with every sound effect seemingly in place. I was overwhelmed. Another wonderful show.


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