Sometimes you forget how lucky you are living in Los Angeles. On any given night there are so many live shows that it can be tough to choose which one to see. But when LA's own Silversun Pickups are on board at the Wiltern, it's a no-brainer. When SSPU took the stage, there was already amazing energy in the theatre. Their sound is so raw; it exudes an almost childlike quality. The performance felt like a giant, yet intimate house party.
Lead vocalist and guitarist, Brian Aubert, had a big grin across his face throughout and seemed it to infect the crowd. Every time there was a break between the ominous bass rhythms of his guitar, Aubert almost compulsively thanked the audience and Los Angeles for everything.
Drummer Chris Guanlao, keyboardist Joe Lester, and bassist Nikki Monninger were every bit as enthused. Monninger would chirp zealous, 'thank yous' into the mic while Guanlao started snapping pictures of the audience from behind the drum kit. It was endearing.
The songs all seemed a little more exposed and rough then the recorded versions from their full-length debut, Carnavas. But, it was apparent that the band was having fun with the songs and genuinely loved playing. At one point, Aubert restarted, "Future Foe Scenarios" because he "actually liked that song and wanted to get it right." Their set was everything a live show should be: honest, loud, exciting, passionate, and curious.
SSPU's homegrown supporting acts were equally strong. The Happy Hollows opened the night. The trio didn't really grab my attention until the lead singer started finger tapping on the guitar Eddie Van Halen style. Their energetic sound improved and I started to see a lot of promise and look forward to seeing them again.
Next up were Midnight Movies. Immediately, I was taken aback with how striking the members of the band are and I only hoped that their playing could match their beauty. At first, I was a little confused by the sound. Lead Singer, Gena Olivier's voice seems to float almost on top of the music and sometimes it's a bit jarring. Fluidity; however, was maintained by the members of the band continuously exchanging instruments. The highlight of their set was when drummer Sandra Vu descended from the drums to play the flute for the Moody Blues cover, "Nights in White Satin."
It was a great night for LA's local indie rock scene and an even better night for the hometown fans.