Photo by Brandon Funk
Not to be confused with Atlas Shrugged, the surprisingly punctual Atlas Genius took the stage promptly at 7:00 p.m. with a presence similar to Cold War Kids. Early in the set, they began by kicking on an ephemeral delay to the tone of the guitar and synth which would shadow the rest of the show. These vapory effects were aids to three-part harmonies and catchy pop melodies that hopped around the venue. Their song “In a Day” created a groove-based dance meme that seemed to be the basis of many of their arrangements. Gradually they developed their disco gaze arena rock into swirling, more complex arrangements such as “Symptoms” featured on their debut EP, released earlier this year. They finished their set on a strong note playing their hit song “Trojans” with much of the crowd singing along to every word.
After a short break, Cloud Nothings drug their furry freak rock onto the Tabernacle’s disco-warmed stage. Their set was mostly distinguished by a heavy punk ethos based in grungy-piss-thrash-metal. Frontman Dylan Baldi’s vocals hit like the barren bed of a street walker posting on the concrete of an unforgiving society. There was nothing in the cloud of violent, ear raping noise that could not be commended by an intense display of feeling. Unlike some intrepid teenage garage junky, drummer Jayson Gerycz was ascribing a tribal-like rhythmic assault on his drum set that created continuity amongst the chaotic and furious guitars, baying like harmonized hyenas preying on the fresh leftovers of an antelope carcass. The experience was jarring and created a momentous tension that built the audience with anticipation for Silversun Pickups.
Photo by Brandon Funk
Having cleared the stage and erected a thinly stretched backdrop like dinosaur skin rippling from the rafters, Silversun Pickups dominated the audience with a professional stage presence. They used every inch of that splintered rectangle, as they moved the concert towards a syncretism of genres that was complimentary yet largely undefined in the sense that that it was guided only by a blanket of philosophically demanding indie rock. It was music generated to increase the likelihood of the general public to get laid, and the crowd responded like a savage herd of suburban apes rocking up and down so heavily that from the basement bathrooms the venue sounded like a creaking brothel moaning under heavy breaths. Along the way, the band denoted some interesting switches in instrumentation where in one song the drummer played acoustic guitar during the intro and the keyboard player looped a heavy synth drum beat to compensate. Other noticeable moments included the fill-in bassist, Sarah Negahdari, who provided a lilting bass like a Venus Flytrap in a red dress, snatching up grooves woven from paleolithic pelts and celestial skins. There was an aqueous transition between slick-lined vocal melodies and driving riff rock that mirrored such greats of the genre as Autolux.
After landing a few of their singles onto a dense, singalong-ready crowd, the group let the feedback swoon from their freshly resonating instruments until a stagehand appeared frantically from the back curtains to quell it. An uproarious encore immediately ensued as I noticed a massive frog-like man passing the clip end of some skins to his faded colleagues in an attempt to lift their heads above the balcony level, casting them deeper into the experience of Brian Aubert’s mesmerizing and unique vocal timbre. It was at this moment that I realized that at some point in the back of our minds we all allow our spinal fluids to drip so thickly under the weight of these aboriginal pulses and cadences that we try to obtain a piece of whatever we can get away with. It is the ability of the Silversun Pickups to ensnare and lift that reckless, senseless youth to the back of our eyelids that makes us chew closer to the raw ligaments of our lives.