PHOTOS AND ARTICLE BY: PAUL BURKE
Pinegrove blessed their sold out crowd with passionate, heart warming, performance last Friday night at the First Unitarian Church. On the third show of their summer-long tour, Pinegrove brought along pals from Birdwing, and Hovvdy.
Kicking off the night was New York based four-piece Birdwing, The art-pop quartet featured lax, toned back guitars, bass, and keyboards, along with a drum machine manned by frontman Mike Dvorscak. The mellowed out delivery of the songs coupled with the group’s poised stage presence gave way to a comforting opening to what soon would become a very lively night.
Austin, Texas natives Hovvdy followed, with another toned back yet tight performance. Playing songs from 2016’s “Taster” as well as new unreleased tracks from their forthcoming album. The group managed to string together a setlist of more dynamic songs that upped the energy and got the crowd moving while keeping their sound well contained.
As the six members of Pinegrove strolled on stage, cheers and applause filled the room.
Lead singer/songwriter Evan Stephens Hall wasted no time, and immediately jumped into the solo intro to “Old Friends” off the group’s 2016 release Cardinal. As soon as Hall struck the first chord, the audience knew what was in store and relentlessly shouted every lyric. The group followed this with another fan favorite, “Aphasia.” Hall, along with the rest of the band, were truly shocked by the crowd’s energy and enthusiasm, and they made it known throughout the night that they could not get over this great experience.
The Montclair, New Jersey natives use a wide array of sounds, frequently featuring multiple guitars, bass, banjo, keyboards, and gorgeous harmonies from Nandi Rose Plunkett. For the most part, the band works under a folk rock guise, while blending in elements of modern indie rock and pop. The group has described themselves as “roots rock,” “post-country,” and even “language arts rock.”
After a series of relatively upbeat, high-spirited tracks, Hall told the crowd it was time for a “cool down” song. The band then went into “Waveform,” a slower song from their latest record, which features very calm, soothing verses followed by yet another powerful, emotional hook delivered in Hall’s signature country croon. Although the verses on this cut are rather soft, this was far from a “cool down” song, as the entire room belted out every word and transformed it into a heavy hitter. If it weren’t already evidently clear, there isn’t one Pinegrove song unable to be screamed at the top of your lungs.
After a handful of songs, new and old, the group took a well deserved water break and discussed their plans to participate in the People’s Climate March in Washington D.C. the following day before their show in the same city. A brief political plug preceded the final two songs of the night, “Recycling” and “New Friends.” These final songs displayed Pinegrove’s diverse songwriting, ranging from very complex, meticulously structured songs like “Recycling,” to straightforward tunes like “New Friends.”
Words will not do this performance justice. Between the unhinged emotion delivered from the band, and the relentlessly energetic audience, this was easily the best show I have seen all year. If you are a Pinegrove fan and have not seen them live, you will instantly come to appreciate their raw talent on an entirely new level. To those unfamiliar with Pinegrove, I highly recommend giving them your time; they are truly one of the most talented, innovative young bands making music today.
Over My Shoulder
Easy Enough (New Song)
Size of the Moon
Patterson & Leo (New Song)