Silversun Pickups w/ Joywave
Showbox, Seattle, WA
Rather than personal intimacy, Silversun Pickups offer connection via willingness, uniting with a crowd enthusiastically pumping their fists in the air, albeit with a respectfulness of semi-tradition, begging for big riffs and lush atmosphere. A decade in, this Silver Lake, CA, band has managed to sell out Seattle’s Showbox at the Market with big alt-rock that hasn’t caved to the glittering pop of late.
Touring their fourth LP, 2015’s Better Nature, SP may have expanded their approach, but the cohesion of their set was impeccable. Kicking off with lead track “Cradle (Better Nature),” the band is immediately thrust into a meaty performance, with strobe lights aplenty, and a contained energy that has the room buzzing. Lead guitarist/vocalist Brian Aubert helms the front of the stage, often playing to the crowd at the edges, while bassist Nikki Monninger bounces around like a pixie-rock Carrie Brownstein. Drummer Chris Guanlao is decidedly punk-rock, hair tossing and reaching for his ridiculously high hi-hat with unrepentant force. Joe Lester, sits manning his keys and decks, intent at the side of the stage.
Older tracks like “Well Thought Out Twinkles” and “The Royal We” show off for this dedicated crowd, but it is “Nightlight” that gets their fists in the air and shouting along with the “we want it” chorus. The first city that SP played, outside of their hometown of LA, Seattle holds a special place for the band, as Aubert recalled a Fremont Oktoberfest performance years ago, and it’s very clear that the city loves them just as much.
Before launching into “Circadian Rhythm (Last Dance)” Aubert teases that playing it always makes Monninger – who takes a deserved step to the forefront of the track – nervous, and gets the room to stare at her, with a “Nikki, don’t fuck this up,” warning. Needless to say, Monninger slays the track’s call-and-response pop hooks, leaving you wanting more of her talent, but perhaps that’s the band’s secret, the balance with Aubert’s uniquely androgynous voice.
During “Panic Switch” the crowd explodes, the track’s psych cords thrumming, SPs heavily textured, signature sound intact. The extended bridge and instrumentation delaying the inevitable, instinctual release. They end the set with “Lazy Eye,” totally letting loose, and not one person seemed to leave before their three-song encore, finally capping the night off with the arena-worthy “The Wild Kind” and its cinematic pop-rock madness.
Relentless tour-hounds Joywave opened the night with their electronic alt-rock, showcasing tracks from their 2015 debut LP How Do You Feel Now? Lead vocalist and producer Daniel Armbruster worked the crowd with his trademark moves, nerdy, limbs everywhere, glitchy rock frontman. While there appeared to be some mic issues, the band still managed to be completely on-point, delivering a set that went from dark electro to dreamy anthem.
Silversun Pickups Set List
Cradle (Better Nature)
Well Thought Out Twinkles
The Royal We
Circadian Rhythm (Last Dance)
Little Lover’s So Polite
Dots and Dashes (Enough Already)
The Wild Kind
Joywave Set List
Feels Like A Lie
Life in a Bubble I Blew
Review by Stephanie Dore
Photos by Neil Lim Sang