I love the Pains of Being Pure At Heart. Let's get that out of the way up front. I drove 3 hours to see them on a Thursday night because I couldn't see them on a Friday because my LSAT was scheduled for the following day. And they always bring an opener that I'm almost as equally excited to see. Last time it was Cymbals Eat Guitars. But I was equally impressed with the Depreciation Guild, an 8bit shoe gaze-y band. And the Pains brought it again with Twin Shadow. I don't know how they consistently secure such a great touring lineup.
The first opener was a local 4 piece called gold-bears. They were a serviceable "twee punk" or "crash pop" band from Atlanta. There wasn't anything terribly distinctive about the band. They have a LP coming out on Slumberland Records (same as the Pains) next month; maybe another listen will register them more positively.
Twin Shadow played next. In case you missed it, last year's LP Forget was absolutely amazing. A definite must have. George Lewis et al exude 80s new wave. Listening to them is an instant shot of nostalgia, exciting and familiar and hitting you in your primal core but tinged with an ineffable loss, like the perfume scent of a long forgotten lover lingering on the t shirt you just found under the bed. Twin Shadow simultaneously conjures the spectre of synth-heavy 80s nostalgia acts and something much more modern.
While stumping for their merch, George mentioned that with Twin Shadow, everything was for sale. They're the biggest sellouts you know, he insisted.
The great thing about little venues like the EARL is that they attract bands who are also music fans. I caught George hanging out in the crowd to check out gold-bears. Peggy and Kip of the Pains were manning the merch table pre-show. Apparently they lost their van keys for awhile.
The came the Pains, out to support their new LP Belong. Kip was as awkwardly personable a frontman as ever but frenetic and animated as he played the guitar. Kurt is a great drummer but he first came to my attention as the plaintiff, mesmeric lead of the Depreciation Guild. Then there was Chris Hocchheim, guitarist and also formerly of the Depreciation Guild, and Alex Naidus on bass; they were your shoegaze stereotype, just standing off to one side playing. And Peggy. Oh Peggy. She's always so adorable.
Theory. The keyboardist in a band is always the most attractive member. Peggy, absolutely adorable. Nancy of LCD Soundsystem, scrumptiously curvy. Yuki of Asobi Seksu, amazing legs & great behind. The only exception that comes to mind is Cibo Matto. Yuka is definitely good looking but Miho is inhumanly cute, kawaii even.
ADDED 11 April 2011: I totally forgot to mention Yvonne Lambert of the Octopus Project.
The Pains were fantastic onstage. Their set was energetic and fun with a good mix of their self-titled 2009 LP and recent LP Belong. Loved hearing Come Saturday, Young Adult Friction, and my favorite Pains song, A Teenager in Love again. Picked up the new LP at the show. Now it's time to digest the songs after reading the reviews. Already in love with Heart In Your Heartbreak.
Peggy announced she wanted to find a mechanical bull to ride in Atlanta since the city had failed to introduce her to one last time they came through so she didn't have to go to a strip club. After a bit of bull banter, Kip cleverly slipped riding a mechanical bull into the next song's lyrics.
Oh and they found their keys. Apparently they had been hidden by Peggy's behind.