Silversun Pickups, an indie rock band from Los Angeles, opened for Muse at United Center in Chicago on March 12. Their musical capabilities proved to be much better live as opposed to recorded. This is not to say their CDs are not good, but when they play live, it is very evident how well they weave the instruments and vocals around one other.
Silversun Pickups embody music that does not fit into just one genre. The first unique aspect is lead singer and guitarist Brian Aubert’s voice. He has an unusually soft voice for a rock band, yet it works, since Silversun Pickups also have a dreamy sound entwined with the rock. Aubert matches his voice with the rise and fall of the music; they emphasize each other. Aubert’s usually soft voice is delicate at the beginning of most songs, accompanied by prominent piano and low guitar. Then out of nowhere he bursts into a gritty near-scream and the bass and guitar kick in to get the feeling across. Aubert’s voice may be soft, but it does not lack power.
They opened with “Growing Old is Getting Old” off of 2009’s Swoon. The opening started out calm, then bassist Nikki Monninger joined in with back-up vocals. Drums, bass, piano and Aubert built and intensified until all were riddled with emotion. “Lazy Eye” and “Well Thought Out Twinkles”, hits from 2006’s Carnavas, were mostly soft but have bursting sections of power. After “Well Thought Out Twinkles,” Aubert did the standard greeting to the crowd but added his own twist.
“It’s nice to see you, Chicago,” he said as he pointed to the far back. “Especially you. I can’t believe you came again.”
In “The Royal We”, (Swoon) they managed to make each instrument distinct yet cohesive even though it was being blasted over the sound system in a huge auditorium. Aubert tends to stand in one place while he plays guitar and sings, but there is no doubt he likes to play to the crowd. At the end of “Panic Switch,” (Swoon) Aubert held the note on the guitar and traveled the stage. Towards the end of their set Aubert got the crowd excited for Muse. He also issued a warning in jest,
“Don’t look Matt Bellamy in the eyes. He will hurt you, your family and future generations because he has that power.” he said.
Overall, Silversun Pickups set a good mood for Muse.
Silversun Pickups set list
1. Growing Old is Getting Old
2. Well Thought Out Twinkles
3. There’s No Secrets This Year
4. The Royal We
5. Future Foe Scenarios
8. Panic Switch
9. Lazy Eye