For San Diego’s Pinback, a band that’s been around for 15 years and carved a unique (if somewhat monotonous) sound, doing what is expected seems like the natural route. Pinback made its name — and now a living — off of pretty, introspective indie rock that sounds like a singular tune.
And to a great extent that is exactly what Pinback did on Sunday night at the Gothic Theatre. The group stuck to its guns, playing tempered indie rock that, while its creation spanned three decades, all could have been at home on the group’s latest album, 2012’s “Information Retrieved.”
There were the expected intricate basslines, tinges of math rock and airy harmonies from the group’s two full-time members, Armistead Burwell Smith and Rob Crow. But what Sunday’s concert showed is that there is a big, big difference between the Pinback found on an album and the Pinback seen in concert.
Helped by the addition of a live, forceful drummer, tracks such as “Penelope” and “Victorious D” became louder, larger and faster than their recorded versions. For one of the group’s most well-known tracks, “Fortress” (which features such uplifting lyrics as “Days with the light off, freezing. You and I. Uneasy. Livid.”), Crow even performed the patented 6th grade dance move, “The Worm.” This is especially notable because Crow, if you haven’t seen him, is not a small man.
When Pinback played one of its oldest tracks, “Loro,” immediately after one of the newest, “Proceed to Memory,” the years between the two weren’t as apparent as would be expected.
Pinback’s latest songwriting has polished up a bit, the transitions are somewhat more pronounced and the melodies slightly more ambitious. But the two tracks side-by-side showed that the Pinback of now is the same as the Pinback of old.
The generous crowd, made up of predominantly aged indie rock fans, got what they wanted: a concert full of the songs they’ve loved for decades, but with enough of a live twist that they couldn’t have been experienced on the tapes, CDs or MP3s that they’ve been hearing for years.
Indie music blogger Nic Turiciano is a writer in Fort Collins. You can follow him on Twitter at @nic_turishawno or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.