Live Review: Silversun Pickups, Manchester Orchestra, Cage the Elephant @ Revolution Music Room in Little Rock, September 25

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By Sarah Spencer
It was still over an hour till showtime, however, on September 25, 2009,
The Revolution Music Room was already crowded with anxious indie rock music
lovers. Although the headlining band, Silversun Pickups, drew the majority of
fans, the popularity of Cage the Elephant and Manchester Orchestra was evident
in numbers. The Rev Room and Ticket Alternative promoted this concert as a
triple-header, and rightly so, for this sold-out event.

The first band up was Cage the Elephant, from Kentucky. This five-member crew
consists of brothers Matt (vocals) and Brad Shultz (guitar), along with
Lincoln Parish on lead guitar, Daniel Tichenir on bass guitar and background
vocals and last, but not least, Jared Champion on drums. This young band's high
energy level was impressive and contagious, especially so from their lead
singer, who not once but twice, found himself in among the crowd while
performing in a story-telling singing style reminiscent of Jack White of the
White Stripes.

When they played their most popular hit single "Ain't No Rest For
The Wicked", which has been getting mad play on the radiowaves lately, the crowd tried
and almost accomplished to match Shultz's energy. They were the only band of the
evening who received a homemade gift tee-shirt from a fan. Matt often thanked
the crowd, on behalf of himself and the band, with the Japanese term for thank
you, "Arigato!" They also performed a shortened version of Fat Joe's, "Lean
Back."

This time around in Little Rock was much more successful for Cage the
Elephant since last time they performed in the city, they were "kicked out" of
the previous venue. They were highly entertaining with their non-stop enthusiasm
and unique style.

Now it was Manchester Orchestra's time to shine. The indie rock band from
Atlanta comprised of Andy Hull (lead singer, songwriter, and guitarist), as well
as, Robert McDowell on lead guitar, Chris Freeman on keys and additional
percussion, Jonathan Corley on bass and Jeremiah Edmond on drums. Although they
had the shortest act of the evening they left a lasting impression with their
raw and emotional performance. The poet Hull's comfortably fluid voice ranged
from urgency to painful vulnerability with automatic ease. They ended with a
powerful musical passion in "The River," a contemplative redemption song. This
is a talented group of young men whose live production is expressive and strong,
yet sensitive.

L.A.-based quartet Silversun Pickups mounted the stage at 10:45 p.m.
and played for a little over an hour. The band includes Brian Aubert on lead
vocals and guitar, Christopher Guanlao on drums, Joe Lester on keys and Nikki
Monninger on bass. The flattering comparison to the Smashing Pumpkins is often
made of the Pickups and it seems appropriately so, not only visibly, down to a
lady bassist and a handsome Asian man in the mix but, also audibly with the
fuzzed out guitars, layered and textured melodies, and the hypnotic breathy
vocals. 

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They started with "Growing Old is Getting Old", a song with dark tones
and thoughtful lyrics. Aubert was conversational and Guanlao was entertaining to
watch with his extra high cymbal and long downward swing on his driving drums.
Halfway through their set they played "Little Lovers's So Polite," a song
featured on the Jennifer's Body soundtrack. During "Catch and Release" the crowd
felt the need to clap through the first few verses.

Afterwards, Aubert told us
we were the best crowd they've played for in a long time and then he thanked the
first two bands before starting their most popular song of the night, "Panic
Switch," the video for which has been a regular feature on VH1 and MTV. The audience
officially went bananas and the air was alive with waves of dance and mosh. They
left and came back for an encore which included "Substitution" and "Common
Reactor." Silversun Pickups' alternation between slow and moody to fast and
poppy was wonderfully executed and made for an extremely entertaining night all
the way around. Go see them live and you'll do what their new album claims to
and Swoon.

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1 thought on “Live Review: Silversun Pickups, Manchester Orchestra, Cage the Elephant @ Revolution Music Room in Little Rock, September 25”

  1. I was at this show and that is exactly right. Super high energy. I loved it. Can’t wait to see another show like that.

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