Los Angeles-based Silversun Pickups found their way back to Hoyt Sherman Place in Des Moines, IA on Tuesday, September 18th. The venue, a mansion built in 1877 with an accompanying auditorium added in 1923, was a great space in which to enjoy the band’s driving sound.
The group, a four-piece rock outfit often compared to the likes of the Smashing Pumpkins (QRO live review), has seen continued success with an original sound in the ever-growing sea of indie bands that often do not make it past a sophomore release. They opened with a track from their newest, third album, Neck of the Woods (QRO review). The song, “Skin Graph”, eased the band into their set and built the tone for the rest of the evening. Playing a nice mix from the entirety of their catalog, Silversun Pickups expanded their energy throughout their set while an impressive array of lights helped create the rock ‘n’ roll experience.
One highlight of the evening came when the band played “Here We Are (Chancer)”, during which drummer Chris Guanlao (who, otherwise, was a non-stop machine on the drums), opened the track, accompanying singer Brian Aubert. The song brought forth an elegant soundscape, once again coupled with perfect lighting. Interestingly, there was one permanent member of the band who was not present – Nikki Monninger (who, according to Aubert, is at home pregnant with twins). A fill-in bassist, Sarah Negahdari (The Happy Hollows) fit in quite well, and even brought wild cheers from the crowd as she charmingly indicated at one point there were still a few songs she had yet to play in a live setting with the band. Key/samples player Joe Lester was impressive, as always, during the set – laying out the overtones/undertones that help define Silversun Pickups’ sound.
Whoever booked the opening acts chose well. Aussies Atlas Genius (QRO photos) began the night with a solid indie-rock set, followed by School of Seven Bells (QRO photos), whose vibe paired back-to-back with Silversun Pickups.