INsite Magazine

Monday, October 5, 2009

Silversun Pickups and An Horse rock The Venue

Last Friday (Oct. 2), INsite got to cover L.A.-based electro-rock band Silversun Pickup’s show at The Venue. Here’s our report.

When I walk into The Venue, An Horse is already on stage. I instantly feel like it’s summer again and I’m hanging out in the 12th grade. The place is pretty full. I’m surprised that there are only two people on stage because the sound is so full. The lead singer is petite with a blonde pixie cut. Each time she strums her oversized orange guitar, the overhead lights wink in response. The song comes to an end.

Someone in the crowd shouts, “Where are you from?” “Where am I from?” she responds. “Your dreams.” She’s sharp, this one. And she doesn’t miss a beat before the drummer in his checkered shirt has counted in the next song.

I find myself bobbing my head along to the music, and before I know it, another song has come and gone. The blonde speaks again. I still don’t know where her accent is from, but it’s adorable and I want to have the exact same one. She gets the crowd pumped up for Silversun Pickups before segueing into another song, and I remember that I haven’t found a way backstage.

I make my way over to the merchandise table, which, by the way, is conveniently set up right next to the metal detector. There’s a girl leaning against a stool with her hands in her pockets. Her curly hair is pinned in a side-chignon, her cardigan sparkles baby blue and her brown boots are so worn the toe is white. When I ask her name, she responds so quickly I just nod and smile. I want to be her best friend.

Apparently, An Horse is from Australia. No wonder I think the accent is so cool. It’s a 14-hour flight and this girl is still feeling a bit backwards. We start to chat, and she begins telling me about what it’s like to travel in their van from town to town. Today was their shortest drive— eight hours. An Horse has been in the states for 10 months and they often drive 12 hours or more between shows.

“How was the drive today?” I ask. “The only thing I saw for two hours was a dead horse.”

I bite my lip to keep from snickering. The irony seems to be lost on her. I’m suddenly aware of how quiet it is. An Horse’s set must be over. And sure enough the drummer comes behind the table covered in sweat sucking on a water bottle like it’s going out of style.

I say my goodbyes and go to stake out a spot for when Silversun gets on stage. The 20 minutes between sets feels like eternity. At 10:30 p.m. the hair on the back of my neck begins to prickle. The air is so electric I’m afraid something is going to start sparking.

The crowd explodes the second Christopher Guanlao, Silversun’s drummer, takes his seat on the drums. The first chords of “Growing Old is Getting Old” erupts from the speakers and the crowd turns into a full on mob. I am in heaven.

I spend the next 10 minutes in a full-on music coma. My jaw is inches from the floor and I’m screaming at the top of my lungs. The band is so into it. Nikki, the bassist, is headbanging with the best of 'em, and the drummer is taking such big strokes I’m afraid his drumstick is going to fly out and impale someone.

Suddenly, Brian Aubert speaks.

“Hello Gainesville, its nice to meet you.”

Why hello Brian, it’s nice to meet you too.

He starts singing “It’s Nice to Know You Work Alone,” and the mic isn’t working. Instead, he launches into a guitar solo and dances around the stage until someone can come up and change it out.

“Could you not hear me before?” he asks, catapulting into an acoustic version of the ending. His voice is like warm molasses.

“Better make sure you’re looking closely. Before you fall into your swoon,” he sings.

Too late.

—Victoria Phillips; Photos by Sarah Hsu
Want to get to know the band a little bit better? Check out INsite's interview with Silversun Pickups bassist Nikki Monninger right here on our blog!

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Blogger Monsieur Chainsaw said...

Thanks for the review. We had the pleasure to see SSPU here in in Ottawa, Canada. A real musical feast. That's music!

November 10, 2009 at 9:28 AM  

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