Pinback’s recent performance at the Cat’s Cradle on Tuesday, September 17th was one that I was looking forward to. I was excited to see a band that I had followed for a few years, and I was especially curious as to how they would perform live. On their records, Pinback tends to create a unique, layered, mesmerizing sound that’s got consistent rhythm and tons of reverb, the latter two being especially true on their album, Autumn of the Seraphs (2007). I’ll admit that their albums can be somewhat fatiguing with the similar repetition of sounds in many of their songs, along with bold and (after a while) brash vocals. However, I didn’t expect their live performance to be as exhausting as it was. Most songs were extremely rushed, including some of my favorites such as “Microtonic Wave,” “Barnes,” and “Good to Sea.” The reason for this change in tempo is unclear, because it certainly did not make them sound better. Perhaps they were tired of playing them or felt they needed to bring more energy to their set, but I really felt this wasn’t the best decision on their part.
There were some highlights to this performance, however. I enjoyed the pulp sci-fi, somewhat campy collection of videos that played throughout their set; it really created a sense of surreal, other-worldliness that matched well with their sound. Rob Crow, the lead singer of the band, came into the audience and all the way back to the venue with his wired microphone, causing the entire audience to quickly step over the extension cord as he continued to walk around singing the song. This was funny and entertaining, but overall the stage performance the musicians gave was fairly stagnant. Overall, I wished the songs could’ve been played at the pace that’s on the albums.