When watching the 4 members of A Great Big Pile of Leaves assemble on stage, they look like passively scribbled caricatures of themselves, drawn in light soaked outlines of guys who endearingly have no clue how cool they actually are.
For the last 7 years, the Brooklyn based band has been steadily pervading the indie alternative rock scene, with their latest album, You’re Always on My Mind, debuting at #1 on Billboards Northeast Heatseeksers chart. The band has been taking their acclaim in stride with what drummer, Tyler Soucy refers to as, “The Good Vibes Tour.”
Concert Review: A Great Big Pile of Leaves
Since hitting the road with Into it. Over it. and The World is a Beautiful Place and I am No Longer Afraid to Die, they’ve been gaining the kind of momentum that makes way for new fans, new opportunities, and those exciting moments when a band realizes they’ve created something rare and worthwhile. As their fan base expands well beyond the die-hard devotees they’ve been tirelessly performing for over the years, A Great Big Pile of Leaves have recently made their way back home, opening for another sold-out show at the Bowery Ballroom.
For audience members who were just becoming acquainted with the band, the progression of their set list imbued a kind of smooth climb that is reflective of their musical journey so far. The band opened their set with “Snack Attack,” which makes for a perfect introduction to their style; a distinctive instrumental formula with infectious melodic hooks that make their songs consistently memorable, and by that I mean impossible to get out of your head.
The band was only few chords into their second song of the night, “Alligator Bop,” before the crowd huddled into whatever space the confines of four walls would allow for, and fluxed into a giant surge of jumping bodies. The scene was described perfectly by the lyrics in the song’s chorus, “The sound was like music / We were in a movie.” This was certainly recognizable within the crowd, but when you managed to catch a brief glimpse of the band members faces, that’s when you really knew that they had fallen just as hard, backwards and arms suspended into the moment. Vocalist/guitarist, Pete Weiland sang in a sweet-tempered, effortless croon that erupted into the chanting chorus that distinguishes “Alligator Bop” as one of their best.
The band closed their set with, “We Don’t Need Our Heads,” a flawless anthemic pop/rock song that is one of the most lively at all of their concerts. At most of their shows, seeing fans dancing on stage or clinging to members of the band during their performance has become commonplace, and they have a remarkable way of balancing themselves between being the shining main attraction and being just another elated face in the crowd. While performing at the Bowery Ballroom, the band preserved their accessible, alternative coolness, while still showcasing their undeniable mainstream appeal that feels neither contrived nor overdone. Ultimately, the excitement their songs generate in concert among new and old listeners alike, exemplifies what this band is really capable of—the production of one potential hit song after the other, just waiting to explode on contact.
A Great Big Pile of Leaves is impressive across the board, with songs that transport you to the warmest part of your heart, and when their set ends you can’t help but feel an immediate wave of nostalgia wash over you: nostalgia for the first time you saw your favorite band live; when they were opening for another act; before they were headlining their own worldwide tours; before they were on Late Night and selling out arenas; or for that one time you completely lost yourself and fell in love during one of their songs. Ultimately, A Great Big Pile of Leaves is that band, one that you are inevitably going to know, so you might as well crowd-surf at one of their live shows now, while you can still get tickets.
Article by Lea Weatherby