I first saw the Silversun Pickups on April 9th, 2010 at Talking Stick Resort Arena (formerly known as the U.S. Airways Center) as they opened up for Muse. I don't remember a lot from that show, but I do remember two very important things:
1. I fell in love with a girl from my High School during Muse's performance of "Undisclosed Desires," off of their 2009 album, The Resistanceand
2. The Silversun Pickups could put on one hell of a performance, even though they were just opening the show.
Fast forward six years later and here I was at the Marquee Theater in Tempe, Arizona waiting for the band to arrive on stage to perform in front of a packed house in support of their newest album, Better Nature(2015). I'm not quite sure what took me so long to see them perform live again after that spectacular 2010 performance, but I was glad to be graced by their musical presence once again.
As the lights drew dim and the crowd wailed, the light pitter patter of the drumsticks on the snare drum could be heard right before the band seemingly erupted into "Cradle (Better Nature)."
Singing the first few lyrics of the song, "Someone long gone / Said to stay calm / Keep your head on / If you need love," lead vocalist Brian Auburt's voice seemingly cut through the screaming crowd with ease and all eyes were on him.
If you have never heard Mr.Auburt's voice, it is very unique in the best of ways and unlike anything that is on modern radio today. His voice is almost always at a falsetto, which should be contradicting when paired with heavy bass lines and grungy guitar chords, but it definitely works.
Early on, the band could be seen feeding off the energy of the crowd. It seemed like the more the crowd cheered, the more the band interacted with various members in the audience.
Before the fifth song of the set, "Circadian Rhythm," Mr.Auburt informed the crowd that bassist Nikki Monninger gets nervous every time before playing the song because she has to sing
in it, so if everyone could just "stare at her and think of her naked," that'd make things better.
Surprisingly once Ms.Monninger began singing, she took over the entire show as everyone became captivated by her surprisingly soothing voice that paired perfectly with the heavy drum beat and bass of the song. Once the nerves were shaken, she began to sublimate smoldering embers of sonic/sexual cool.
Songs from their previous four albums: Pikul (2005), Carnavas (2006), Swoon (2009) andNeck of the Woods (2012) were all featured throughout the set of the show, leaving the crowd unable to say the classic quote all crowds say, "Ah, I wish they played some of their older stuff."
Even the Guitar Hero famous, "Lazy Eye," was played before the encore and the crowd sang along to every minute of it.
Plain and simple, the Silversun Pickups put on a great show and their interaction with the crowd during the entire set goes above and beyond anything I have ever seen before. Every song was a crowd favorite as hands raised in the air in jubilation after the first chords were strummed.
Photographer for Up in the Pines, Cristian Teran even mentioned that the entire band was helping the photographers out in the pit during the set by posing and making sure they got great shots. This is unheard of and just a testament to how hospitable and gracious the band truly is.
There are still a handful of shows to play on the Better Nature tour in August before heading overseas in October for a slew of festivals. Make sure that if the Silversun Pickups are coming to your city, you check out the show and say hi. Because if your close enough to the stage, you will definitely be treated with a conversation with one of the band members.