LIVE: The Features @ the Empire State Plaza, 6/10/15

June 23rd, 2015, 2:00 pm by Greg
The Features

The Features

Photographs by Stanley Johnson, Timothy Reidy

WHO: The Features
WITH: The Vaccines and Stellar Young
WHAT: The Capital Concert Series
WHERE: The Empire State Plaza, Albany
WHEN: 5pm on Wednesday, June 10, 2015

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LIVE: Silversun Pickups @ Albany Tulip Festival, 5/11/13

June 5th, 2013, 2:00 pm by Greg
Silversun Pickups (photo by Timothy Reidy)

Silversun Pickups (photo by Timothy Reidy)

Review by Greg Haymes
Photographs by Brian Tromans and Timothy Reidy

Unquestionably the most musically adventurous Tulip Fest headliner in recent years, LA’s Silversun Pickups drew a surprisingly large crowd to Washington Park on a particularly soggy Saturday.

Vocalist-guitarist Brian Aubert and his band certainly know their way around pop melodies and forms – as they proved with the slinky “Here We Are (Chancer)” and the audience slap-along “Mean Spirits” – but much more than your average band of alt-popsters, they tend to bury their pop tendencies beneath a darker attitude, a noisier attack, fractured rhythms and layers of distorted guitars in overdrive. Several times throughout their 95-minute set – most notably during “Panic Switch” and the final encore of “Well Thought Out Twinkles” – Aubert descended into wild, guitar-freakout abandon as he stalked the stage.

Comparisons to Smashing Pumpkins (rampant in Silversun Pickups’ earlier days) still hold water, but now only to a point. The band has grown beyond easy categorizations with a sound that gracefully fluctuates between the seemingly polar extremes of ambiant and anthemic. There was plenty of guitar crunch in evidence – the encore of “Substitution,” being a prime example – but there were also some more tender moments, as during the shimmering “Bloody Mary (Nerve Endings)” and the almost ballad-ish “Catch and Release.”

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