Live Review: Silversun Pickups

LA gang bring out their scorching melodies. Manchester Academy 2, Thursday, July 2.

Two Noticeable things happen when an LA band plays Manchester. Firstly, their gig sells out leaving everyone in the venue feeling like it’s raining sweat and, secondly, when the band arrives onstage, they immediately gush about playing in the city where “a lot of our favourite bands are from”. But while anyone with common sense will tell you that Mancunians are some of the proudest gobshites on the planet, we’re not here to talk about us; tonight is all about the sweet rock’n’roll of LA’s Silversun Pickups – and they’ve even brought the sun with them.

Opener ‘Growing Old Is Getting Old’, with its slow-starting, dreamily-harmonised double vocals, kicks in after three-and-a-half minutes courtesy of Brian Aubert’s guitar, teasing and building up the sort of exciting, explosive intensity we wish all gigs began with. The often underrated ‘Little Lover’s So Polite’ is no such thing here as, behind a shy smile, bassist Nikki Monninger’s voice glides seamlessly from here into the next track, the killer chorus number ‘It’s Nice To Know You Work Alone’, where Aubert begrudgingly confesses “my head is reeling”.

One of the best things about Silversun Pickups as a live band is how tight they sound during even the most impromptu of bleeding-bass endings; their presence is felt ’til the very last second of the very last note on the grungy twists of ‘Kissing Families’. Make the comparisons to Billy Corgan’s best-known venture if you must, but that’d be all too easy; for one thing, unlike Smashing Pumpkins, this lot aren’t fronted by a complete mentalist, plus they actually seem to like each other. Finishing on the gorgeous ‘Lazy Eye’, a tune which should surely be stadium singalong material one of these days, SP are just as sweaty and happy as their fans.

There must be no shortage of music at any given time in LA all making a potent mixture of the good, the bad and the downright ’80s ugly. But, for tonight at least, the City Of Angels seems like a lifesaver for letting this worthy bunch out of the smog and into the Manchester sun.

Kelly Murray

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