Saturday, October 20, 2007

Silversun Pickups at The Fillmore


The coolest thing that happened to me at the Silversun Pickups concert was just before the show. I was upstairs getting a drink, a margarita if you must know, and just soaking in the history of the Fillmore. A pretty woman walked by in a little black dress. I immediately recognized her as Nikki from the Silversun Pickups. She saw me recognize her. She smiled. I smiled. No one else seemed to notice. She is at that level of fame where she can fill a pretty big venue, but still walk through it relatively unrecognized.

There were a lot of "dudes" at this concert. One of them started talking to me. I told him about my Nikki spotting, and he said, "Dude, no way. My buddy loves Nikki!" And off he went to try to find Nikki and his buddy.

The performance was beyond my expectations. Some surprises:
--Guiarist/singer Brian Aubert was remarkably sort of squeaky clean and happy. I've seen the videos and pictures, and he always seems kind of sullen with greasy hair. Not so. He was totally upbeat, fresh, smiling most of the time, playing with the crowd, a real showman and a very impressive strummer. He's got that sort of "Right now I am Jesus Christ" relationship with the audience. He makes graceful and yogic gestures a lot, sort of blessing the audience. I half expected a Namaste.
--Christopher Guanloa the drummer is supremely talented and sexy. He's got "I would kill for that" hair and he WORKS it. His approach is to get into a deep, but very precise, trance as he works out intricate rhythms on every song. He also has a whole yoga thing going on--he does this cute little stretch/twirl thing with his sticks to loosen up and cool down after a particularly intense session.
--Nikki Monninger is a total girly girl sweetheart, seemingly somewhat shy, absolutely without a shred of pretention. If I was the kind of guy who took out girls on dates, she'd be the one. I'd buy her a rose and open doors for her.
--I didn't get a good hit off Joe Lester, except he has a sort of magician-like presence. He's like a maestro of dissonance, an alchemist of sound. He and Brian sort of play with each other as they build these walls of sonic energy then crash them down, kind of like two mischievous kids with erector sets.

This concert was a lovefest. They acknowledged San Francisco for getting them to where they are today: Live 105 was the first radio station to play them in steady rotation, and others around the country picked them up after that.

So what if I was about 20 years older than the average fan there. I can still jump up and down and scream. But maybe I'm thinking about meta-ness of it all a bit more than some (and maybe not). But I do believe that with their lyrics, sound, and presentation they are working harder than any other rock band I can think of to try to telegraph some sort of semi-spiritual message about being alright with shadow, being alright with being stuck, working through difficult shit and coming out the other side.

1 comment:

Shawn Stepper said...

I bought their CD after reading your glowing review. I bought it for my wife for Christmas, and it is awesome! Admittedly, I like if more than she does, so maybe I should have bought it for myself. Oh well, it's growing on her.

If this is any indicator of your taste in music, bring on more review of concerts and albums!