Show Review: Pains of Being Pure at Heart @ Emos (4/9)

After releasing their latest, Belong, The Pains of Being Pure at Heart returned to Austin, riding a wave of credibility and praise.  It’s no surprise then that the show was packed, especially considering the opening act, Twin Shadow, had their own wave of hype and adoration.  Twas a good night.

George Lewis Jr. goes by the name of Twin Shadow, and his debut album, Forget, received loads and loads of praise, citing that his bedroom pop was poised to win over dance floors and pop enthusiasts alike.  But, Twin Shadow is an entirely different beast in the live setting, which is definitely something you need get out and see.  Hits from the album such as “Yellow Balloon” still maintain that steady groove, yet the live performance utilizes discordant guitars and rhythmic drumming to bring a whole different attitude.  George rocked that guitar, probably in a manner that most wouldn’t have expected had they listened to his record beforehand.  That, however, doesn’t mean those that did listen didn’t enjoy it, as I witnessed hands in the air, singing voices, etc. during the entirety of his set.  Closing the night, humbly, with “Forget” practically brought the house down, and the playing of Lewis, and that of his band, illustrated precisely why there’s so much love for Twin Shadow right now.

Quickly, The Pains of Being Pure at Heart took to the stage, eager to push the crowd into a frenzy. Now, having seen the band close to a dozen times, I will admit that I was interested to see how they performed with the new, louder album.  In the past, their songs seemed a bit lackluster live, with Kip’s lyrics often too soft, and the band’s performance a bit lackadaisical.  I’ve personally liked it, for the most part, mostly because I can understand that playing the same set of songs for several years tends to lead a band down a road of complacency.  Such was not the case at Emos on Saturday night.

I’m not sure whether my ideas are correct or not, as perhaps the band went to Rock Camp, but I get the feeling that working with Flood and Alan Moulder on the latest record, has somewhat revitalized the band, showing them that they can still maintain their pop sensibility while letting loose walls of noise.  Hate to say it, but the Kip Berman on stage Saturday night was an entirely different animal, throwing himself into his guitar playing with a reckless abandonment that most of us associate with heavier styles of music.  His stance was different, and it seemed to energize the rest of the band as well.

The band played through all the hits, from newer songs like “Belong” and “Heart In Your Heartbreak” to “Come Saturday” and “Contender,” blasting the ecstatic with walls of noise, underlines with their great melodic hooks.  I’ve always loved listening to this band’s recordings, but it seems now that they’re a force to be reckoned with, bringing you both noise and pop, something that will surely make the band a force for quite some time.  If you haven’t seen the new Pains of Being Pure at Heart, get to them now, as they’ve definitely stepped up their game, kicking out the jams like never before.

More fancy photos can be seen on Brian’s site.

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