12 February 2009

LAST NIGHT: the pains of being pure at heart with very truly yours

The Pains of Being Pure at Heart with the Depreciation Guild and Very Truly Yours at Schuba's, Chicago, IL (February 11, 2009)
(sorry for the iPhone photos)

It’s always sad when you look forward to seeing a band for months—keeping their album on repeat, watching their videos, blogging compulsively—but then, it’s over, just like that.

Of course I’m referring to last night’s magnificent show, the Pains of Being Pure at Heart. Surely anyone reading this blog has heard of the Pains by now from somewhere or another, and it was no question that they were the favorites of 2008. (Both in AND out of this tiny pop circle!) But a year and a half (really!) of hype later, I was finally able to confirm first hand that this band really is great.

Sure, I love fuzzed-out pop music, and this was certainly the year of its return, but something about the way the Pains do it is so inviting, warm, and fun. Opening with “Doing All the Things That Wouldn’t Make Your Parents Proud,” (dedicated to Kip’s family in the audience), I was reminded of first hearing this song back in July of 2007, and of being so impressed by the beautiful melodies, subtle wit, and that fantastic sound! I had so much fun swaying and singing along that I hardly could believe that “two songs left” really meant the Pains were down to their final few songs (in all their repertoire, that is). There wasn't a dull moment to their set, but that just speaks to the fact that they really haven’t released a bad song after a full-length, two (kinda) EPs and three wonderful 7-inches, but I was especially glad to hear “Everything With You” and “Kurt Cobain’s Cardigan.” Closing with the aptly titled “The Pains of Being Pure at Heart,” it was nice to hear “we will never die,” chanted during their final moments on stage. The band was confident, smiling, and enthusiastic, and I couldn’t have asked for a better performance. Twenty-eight minutes and no encore later, two months of waiting came to a beautiful end in a sold-out Schuba's show, just like that.

I don’t have nearly as many favorable words to say about the Depreciation Guild. I found their set to be a little tedious. Their A/V component looked like an Intro to Flash version of an Ad Reinhardt painting supplemented by some strobe lights. Their music falls somewhere along the lines of a Nintendo-spiked My Bloody Valentine, without the subtlety or sonic swells. Their album is decent (and free on their site), but it’s not the kind of thing that really gets me going.

Very Truly Yours (who I blogged about yesterday), were absolutely charming and were a perfect opener to the evening. They reminded me that pop doesn’t always have to be perfect to be fun. Certain songs seemed better live—“1 2 3 4” and their closer, “Popsong ‘91” (both off of their Cloudberry EP) seemed more refined and a bit more sophisticated than their other material. But I enjoy that one-off charm, so whatever. I am excited for this band to take Chicago by the pop-reins so they can play more shows. (They’ll be opening for One Happy Island in March!)

All in all, a most wonderful evening of pop music.

1 comment:

Colour said...

I agree wholeheartedly with almost all of your review! How the Pains really haven't released a bad or dull song, how they make fuzzy pop music so warm, inviting, and joyful. But especially the part about anxiously waiting for such a marvelous gig to come along and then - boom! - it's done and gone. I was moaning to Martin for days prior that I almost didn't want the day to come because then it would be over and I'd be sad, lonely, and miserable. And I am!

Oh, and I think my favorite Very Truly Yours song is 'Love is Hard.' I really love the Kristine-led 'Ah ah ha's' in the middle of that song. Swoon!