Pinback w/ The Little Ones – [Live]

Tuesday, 31 July 2007

There was nary a distortion pedal in sight. The evening was clean and crisp like a boot camp bunk—except, of course, for Rob Crow's formidable beard. Perhaps it was said beard that needed all the room that The Grove of Anaheim provided. And provide room it did—the venue itself seemed like an attendee, the kind that stands there with arms folded, daring the bands to entertain him.

The Little Ones seem like a modern day version of The Monkees—fun and bouncy, in a made-palpable-for-the-Middle-American-television-viewer kind of way. As the band moved through their set, the only real hint of danger was the grimace of the drummer as he pounded away, dropping danceable backbeats underneath his bandmates' jaunty pop. The fresh faced crowd gave into the requests to dance, satisfying the band's Rule of Feet (songs are deemed appropriate if, and only if, each of the Little One's feet can shuffle). Singer Ed Reyes announced three or four songs as new, while the rest of the set was made up of songs off their Sing Song EP. The band did their best to keep the energy up with upbeat songs and technical accomplishment—not an easy feat with the oversized venue at only about half full.

That's not to say that the fans weren't there. The first tier of the five tier theater was packed, but the Grove was just too big for the show. On the plus side, both the Little Ones and Pinback benefited from the excellent sound, and the Little Ones' sunny sound provided a good counterpoint to the underlying darker edge of the headliner.

"Are there any of you out there who didn't download our album yet?" Zach Smith was only half joking when he said it, especially considering the fact that most of the crowd sang along to every song, even the ones from the band's forthcoming Autumn of the Seraphs LP. Pinback was loose, playing what was essentially a warm-up show for their fall tour. As such, they kept up an easy repoire with the crowd, with Crow asking fans how their day was, talking about his wife and new son, and threatening to go to the beach and take a dump on a whale. Don't worry, it didn't even make sense in context.

"He's new. This is the first time he's played with us," said Crow about the touring keyboardist, Terrin Durfey of San Diego's Boilermaker, who sat in on a few songs. Not only were the bandmates new, but most of the songs as well, with Smith announcing "These are all new, we've never played them before." The fans didn't seem to mind, especially after the band opened strong with "Loro" from their self-titled album and Summer in Abaddon's "Non Photo Blue." They were able to devote a lot of time to their back catalog while still roadtesting the new stuff, in a set that stretched nearly two hours. As the evening wore on, the already loose set got looser, and a surprising number in the crowd left between the end of the set and the beginning of the obligatory encore. As they closed out the night, they promised they'd be back soon. The die-hards will be there. I'm not sure about the rest.

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