My autonomous sensory meridian response was off the charts Thursday night as I witnessed about two hours of guilty rock music from San Diego’s Pinback at Wonder Ballroom. It starts with the way Rob Crow moves his head while singing (and his voice in general,) then it moves to the way Zach Smith’s bass and additional vocals coexist flawlessly alongside Crow and drummer Chris Prescott, and as per usual it ends wanting release from a progression of chords that leaves you drenched in full body…something. This state of euphoria was briefly interrupted by failure of video graphics. Support visuals dropped out about half way through, momentarily distracting the crowd and eventually staying off for the remainder of the show.
Welp, fear not joyless monkey, the show was that much more intense and awesome without the displays. I reminisce: It’s 2003 in Detroit and I’m at my first (and only other) Pinback show. The venue was small, packed and perfect. It was a show where the heat built up inside, almost uncomfortably. Their sound was rough and edgy. Fast forward to 2013 and Pinback is still making me say wow over and over. However, their development and maturity as a band is obvious ten years later: clean sound, close to perfect volume, ability to carry us aimlessly through songs just to wake us back in time for multi-faceted, glorious endings. Out on tour in support of their fifth album, Information Received, rumor has it they actually started recording it back in 2009. Five years later and the new material was worth the wait. The show highlighted the new songs and of course a ton of oldies but goodies, finishing the night off with “AFK.” Despite the visual issues, I was surprised and appreciated how well the space highlighted their carefully constructed electronic indie rock. After 15 years together, these guys know exactly what they’re doing: toying with your emotions and stimulating physical responses through their reputable and 100% original sound. If you’re familiar, the new material is solid and if you’re not, pick any song, really, any song, and you’ll find yourself adding a gem of a discography to your music library.
Words by Kelly Kovl
Photos by Rachel Milbauer