Ramblings of a Redhead Music Snob

Life & Music in New York, My City

The Pains Play Popscene

Posted by xneverwherex on September 6, 2012

The Pains of Being Pure at Heart
A B & the Sea
Rickshaw Stop
8/30/12

Perhaps age and more than likely perhaps living in NYC has made me somewhat jaded about shows. Or perhaps I have been spoiled with seeing many of these bands earlier in their career that sometimes it just doesnt pay to see a show.

A B & The Sea

Arrived at Popscene, (which is not the popscene I had remembered from the 90s — oh the people and times have changed) long gone from the very cool warehouse like 330 Ritch and now over at Rickshaw Stop – a smallish tightly packed club, to a long long long line. It was a bit confusing at first as no one seemed to know where to go. Then of more things crazy – they let the ticket buyers (not holders) into the show first. So we had to wait an additional 30 mins or so just to move an inch. Of course, Popscene is now filled with a very young high school crowd who were more excited about seeing each other late at night and high fiving each other for being in the very front. The whole thing just was weird. Id like to take this moment to say I really hope I was not that obnoxious in high school at shows (then again everywhere was 21+), so it was usually The Warfield and Shoreline.

The club was pretty packed by the time friends and I arrived. The Popscene DJs were spinning the same stuff youd hear on Live 105. No one danced and it was just a tad sad. As we had waited outside so long, at least it wasnt too long a wait for A B & the Sea to come on. Plus, random videos on the screens made it go by a bit quicker.

San Francisco’s A B & the Sea put on a pretty awesome performance. Some of the songs were beyond catchy and had a sunny California pop sound. It just made you want to dance and sing along. Songs like ‘California Feeling’ are guaranteed to be a pop hit. Its fun and light. ‘Constant Vacation’ is another very catchy dance-y song. They make you feel like summer is in the air and its going to be a great night. The only problem with their music is that they are all over the place. There are the total pop songs that are light and fun and then a lot of their music is in a totally different direction. It was like the band wasnt sure which way to go. A pity. The crowd was really into their lighter feeling songs.

Either way – Id see them again if theyre playing in SF.

Pains of Being Pure at Heart

Brooklyn’s Pains of Being Pure at Heart had finally come back to SF after about 5 years. The crowd was beyond tightly packed inside and even at the beginning everyone was pushing against each other. Their fun dream pop sound that I had come to love from their first self-titled album was somewhat gone. With another guitarist added to their stage performance, it became a lot more loud and a lot more guitar driven. I somehow missed hearing their earlier stuff and the dream pop sound that had made them popular. And mostly I missed more of Peggy singing. Perhaps she was just overshadowed by the loud guitars?

Their new album ‘Belong’ has some great numbers and it was great to hear it live. The band was excited to be there. It seemed that Weekend (the band) was around and that the 2 bands had decided to switch coasts. Well actually, only Weekend is moving to NY. As the band mostly played tracks off their new album, the crowd got more insane. First the moshing began with people getting shoved to the ground, guys grabbing girls and just pushing them into the pit, and then the crowd surfing. Ive certainly been to plenty of shows with all that, but its rare for a guy to repeatedly try and grab me and push me into a pit.

Overall, it was a bit of a disappointment — but at least the opener gave me something to look forward to. And the cheap ticket… oh yeah that made it all the better.

So the question is, would I see the Pains again? Im not sure if it was the crowd, the music, their new direction. But, at this point, Im not sure I feel a real need to. I loved the first album when it came out and couldnt get enough of it. Ive listened to Belong a number of times, and it lacks something for me. Everything I loved seemed to be gone.

Thankfully I had Wild Nothing to look forward to.

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