Review and photographs by Kirsten Ferguson. See more of Kirsten’s photos from this show here.
Oregon garage-rock trio Pierced Arrows last played Valentine’s two years ago, putting on two high-spirited shows there about six months apart.
Before that, married couple Toody and Fred Cole, who form the core of the band along with drummer Kelly Halliburton, had never made it through the Capital Region on one of their frequent tours – not even during the 20-year tenure of the Coles’ previous garage-punk band, Dead Moon.
Perhaps they like us, or maybe they’re just making up for lost time, but Pierced Arrows returned to Valentine’s in May – even graduating to the upstairs stage this time for a show opened by Albany’s stomping surf-punk band Banzai Washout.
Much about this appearance by Pierced Arrows recalled their last trek through town. The trio lined themselves up democratically across the front of the stage, with drummer Halliburton – a ringer for Spinal Tap’s Nigel Tufnel – taking swigs from a Budweiser bottle with one hand while he bashed out a primitive beat with the other.
Bassist Toody Cole wore the same red cowboy shirt, while Fred Cole again wore black, their manes of hair flying wild as they took turns singing the vocal lead on tunes mostly drawn from “Straight to the Heart” and “Descending Shadows,” the trio’s two full-length albums: the head-banging “Frankenstein,” the euphoric “Let It Rain,” the fatalistic “Ain’t Life Strange,” the menacing “Paranoia.”
A few things were new – including a cool tune called “Keep Pushin” from a 2011 vinyl 7-inch single. But most were familiar; they even closed with the same Dead Moon song: “54/40 or Fight.” That’s no complaint: nothing about Pierced Arrows’ refreshingly ragged delivery, punk spirit and from-the-heart song material ever gets old.