REVIEW: Pinegrove at Union Transfer

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PHOTO & WRITTEN BY: Aaron Scofield

Hailing from Montclair, New Jersey, the alt-folk-indie-rock band Pinegrove has had a tumultuous couple of years. From rising to legendary status in the indie community in 2015/2016 to their unplanned hiatus from late 2017 to late 2018, Evan Stephens Hall and the rest of Pinegrove have persevered and appeared for  their first Philadelphia show in over two years last Wednesday night at Union Transfer. 

Playing to a sold out crowd, Boyscott (fronted by Hall’s childhood friend) opened the show with their self described “North American Metamorphic Rock” and played a few of their bigger songs, including “Nova Scotia 500,” “Blonde Blood,” and “Embarrassingly Enough.” A good amount of audience members sang along, and the band’s surf-rock vibes seemed to go over well with the crowd. 

At around 9:30, Pinegrove came onto an eclectic stage decorated with household lamps, carved animals that one wouldn’t be surprised to see in their grandmother’s front yard, and a poster of many different meteorological occurrences that those who have binged Pinegrove’s YouTube sessions would know well.

The set itself consisted of a huge variety of Pinegrove’s discography. Songs from the band’s three main albums, Meridian, Cardinal, and 2018’s Skylight were scattered around four new songs from the band’s recently announced album Marigold. The newer songs played on the folkier side of Pinegrove’s style and included a lot of pedal steel guitar. Though it is unknown when Marigold will be released, it will most certainly mark a new era in the band’s style and a departure from the band’s previous sounds. 

Most memorable songs of the night included the band’s most popular song “Old Friends,” a song about finding time for the people you care about, and realizing time is finite with those you love. Fans sang along passionately as Hall belted out some of his most personal and known lyrics,

“My steps keep splitting my grief

Through these solipsistic moods

I should call my parents when I think of them

Should tell my friends when I love them”

The set ended with the hit track “Angelina” from 2015’s Meridian. One of Pinegrove’s shortest and musically simple songs, but also one of their most beloved. 

“I love you like it’s the old days

When I could ask you anything

How’d you get so tangled up in my thinking?

How’d you get so caught?

How’d you get so tangled up?”

As Philadelphia was one of the last shows of the tour, It seemed in a way that this was Pinegrove’s soft comeback into the scene. The band, and Hall specifically, getting Pinegrove’s  name back out into in a positive light, and reaffirming to their fans that more of their unique and personal music that they love was on the way. 

Setlist:

  1. Darkness
  2. Moment
  3. Cadmium
  4. Intrepid
  5. The Metronome
  6. Rings
  7. Portal
  8. Need 2
  9. Problems
  10. Hair Pin*
  11. Easy Enough
  12. Size of the Moon
  13. Skylight
  14. The Alarmist*
  15. Angelina
  16. Amulets
  17. Light On
  18. Endless*
  19. Old Friends
  20. Aphasia

* denotes a song from upcoming album Marigold

Follow Aaron Scofield on Twitter @aaroncscofield

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