4/8 The Big Pink @ The Parish

For those who had recently been following the rise of The Big Pink, Thursday night’s show at The Parish was much anticipated.  As fans of the band’s A Brief History of Love, we were determined to witness the show in order to make a definitive statement on just how much we love the band.  Opening for the evening was A Place to Bury Strangers, who initially seemed like an odd pairing.  Follow the jump for full review.

Honestly, as the night unfolded, I expected A Place to Bury Strangers to pack a whole lot more of a punch than they did.  Their set, coated in fog machines and shadowy lights, came off a bit redundant.  Each chord from the bass player seemed to stretch from the last one, with little to no variance.  Visually, the band was pretty stunning, and I don’t think that anyone would argue with that, but for some reason, I just couldn’t buy into the whole image. At times, it seemed as if no one was really playing at all, with programmed tracks taking the front of the band’s sonic display.  However, the last ten minutes of the set, drenched in feedback in noise was precisely what I had expected their set to be like.  For me, it just came too late.

As The Big Pink graciously came upon the stage, the cheering crowd definitely gave the band their dues, applauding loudly before a word was even spoken.   Initially, I expected the group to come off live as sort of a heavy guitar pop band, but Milo Cordell manned the electronic station from the get-go, giving the group a much more electronic feeling than I anticipated, or desired.  Bass player Leopold Ross did make an impression as his body swayed from side to side, swinging his lengthy locks across the stage.  Still, they came out with an electronic barrage followed by emphatic noise guitar, which while impressive, wasn’t precisely what I wanted to see here.

Robbie Furze’s voice is one of the reasons that makes A Brief History of Love so enjoyable, but in the live setting, it seemed to take back stage to the sonic front put on by the band.  While audience members definitely enjoyed the show, based on the bouncing and raised hands, there was a stark contrast between the live show and recorded music, which didn’t leave everyone with the best impression.  “Love in Vain” was probably one of the few songs that really made an impact on me, as it was the only song that really allowed Furze’s vocals to rise above the over-indulgent electronics and squalls of noise.

Closing the night with “Dominos” kept the crowd in anticipation all evening, and although the show wasn’t a disaster, the hit of the evening reminded me of the disappointment that washed over me this evening.  A Brief History of Love is a great album, and one that everyone will enjoy, but the focus shifted completely in the live setting.  The feedback hiding in the background of the recorded material dominated the live show, and emphasis on electronic elements definitely didn’t do it for me.  This isn’t a knock against the band, as I know many people really enjoyed it, and the performance was great.  Personally, The Big Pink are one of those bands where I wanted to see the album pulled off perfectly as it is on the album, and the live show, while entertaining, didn’t do the great record justice.

Check out more pics from the show by the great Mary Rehak.


  • APTBS – “At times, it seemed as if no one was really playing at all, with programmed tracks”. PREPROGRAMMED tracks??? what are you talking about? were you really at the gig? do you know a preprogrammed track is? probably you’re confused with the Big Pink. they did have PRERECORDED VOCALS, DRUMS BEATS, GENERAL NOIZE. everything that you heard from a place to bury strangers was created at that very moment. anything. even the weirdest buzz. in fact a lot of their more industrial dimension gets in someway lost during the live performance…

  • Actually, I was at the show, and I was not the only one in town that made that comment, and judging by the usage of various electronic machines on the guitarists pedal-board, I’m led to believe that I’m right in assuming they didn’t create that wall of noise entirely in the live setting. If I’m wrong, I accept that, but that doesn’t change the fact that the band was entirely underwhelming. Their lack of differentiation in song structure, as well as a seeming inability to come up with creative chord usage, left their entire set to run into one long drone. I don’t really see anything special about what they were doing, as plenty of bands have crafted screeching noise in a far better manner, such as Mogwai or My Bloody Valentine.

  • nathan, APTBS definitely does not use any prerecorded material. Their drummer uses electronic piezo pick ups on his drum set to create the electronic drum sounds. The wall of noise is created by Oliver’s guitar pedals which make pretty crazy feedback. Feedback continues without you having to touch the instrument.

    As a reporter you should do your research better.

    The Big pink plays along to backing tracks. Most of the electronic sounds are from this. It is pretty obvious.

    Get your eyes and ears checked.

  • It’s funny since the band is using programmed effects on their albums that they would not utilize any of it live, but I guess I’m wrong on this one; I can accept that. It doesn’t change the fact that I found the band boring, with little to offer listeners, thus the need for a stage filled with fog and lights. Hiding in the shadows won’t make this band magically sound any better. But, I do appreciate the lesson on feedback and pick-ups.

    Alas, I did know the Big Pink was using loops and what not, as one could easily tell by the synthesizer sitting on stage. They could have made it more obvious though with a big sing that said “We Use Backing Tracks.”

    I guess the big point in all of this is that the show was disappointing for me as an audience member, and that the usage of programmed tracks was hinted at, as I suggested earlier, by more than one attendee (they probably don’t know about feedback or pickups either). Still, I’ll go get my eyes and ears checked so the next time I can differentiate between boring noise rock with electronics versus those without.

  • I had fun at the show. Was really hoping for more DJs.

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