Show Review: Pinegrove @ Barracuda (9/29)
When did Pinegrove become so huge?
David Sackllah posed the question to Twitter (@dsackllah) on the eve of the band’s sold out show at Austin’s Barracuda. Sackllah goes on recalling a time not so long ago when a Pinegrove performance seemed like an under-attended and perhaps under-appreciated experience. Back then, turnouts hovered around thirty people. That was a year ago. Maybe he’s exaggerating the crowd’s smallness, but the visual goes a long way in driving the point home; Pinegrove is now suddenly huge, or at least hugely important to a lot of people.
Hit the jump for more.
As a topic of discussion, Pinegrove’s newfound “hugeness” made for prime pre-show small talk. People could be heard agreeing about the suddenness of it all, and being happy and relieved to have secured tickets before sellout.
The show reaching 100% capacity on the outside stage (to the surprise of many) is only part if the story. What’s more, audience appreciation completely overflowed the venue, so much so that Friday, September 29th at Barracuda might as well have been Pinegrove Appreciation Night, what with nearly the entire venue singing every damn word in perfect unison.
Being one of a few who didn’t know every lyric didn’t much matter. Scoring best-fan points with the band was beside the point, though noticed. “I see some of you listened to these songs before you came. Good for you!” Humor is a Pinegrove strong suit. The real point? An unreal connection between the people on stage and the people below. To be there was to be among friends.
Back to Sackllah’s question. The answer? It’s hard to say. Maybe it really was an overnight-type thing, but when “huge” happened is less interesting or important than how. By way of YouTube search and discovery, a trip down recent-memory lane suggests that Pinegrove,or sometimes a solo Evan Hall, paved the way for huge in grassroots fashion. As recent as last year, Evan can be seen at house shows the size of low-key birthday parties, playing with the same energy and seriousness Pinegrove brought to a sold-out Barracuda. Maybe it happened around then.
Or maybe huge had always been hanging around, waiting for the right time. A former counselor at Geneva Glen Summer Camp (Indian Hills, CO) recalls feeling the same energy and seriousness in the early 2000s, where campfire jam sessions arranged and led by Evan were crisp and tightly orchestrated, as if the entire scene were enclosed by sound-proofed walls.
All of that to say this: The hugeness David Sackllah sees wasn’t born out of left field, nor does it appear to have been spurted by a lucky break or viral internet happening. Instead, maybe Pinegrove’s seemingly sudden rise is more than anything like a house party gone from modestly attended to overflowing, because the party was that damn good.
Pinegrove, too, was surprised by the turnout. Evan admits as much between songs. “We’ll play a bigger venue next time. I guess that’s how that works.”
It’s time for a bigger house.
Photos: Matt Paster @matthewpasterphoto
Words: Kevin Jones @kevinj1s
Editor: Brian Gray