Indie rock duo Pinback proved to their loyal Los Angeles fans that they truly are entertainers in every sense of the word on Friday, January 17th at the El Rey Theatre. As Zach Smith switched between bass and keyboard and Rob Crow strummed away on his signature duct-taped Les Paul, fans of the group received not only an amazing musical performance, but also artistic video collages and bits of comedy between sets to accompany the overall Pinback experience throughout the night.
Pinback at the El Rey Theatre in L.A.
The atmosphere at the El Rey Theatre was eclectic yet intimate. There was a great amount of diversity among fans, from your typical Silver Lake hipsters to business-people still donning work clothes, all sharing a night and enjoying a band that everyone admires. An invisible web of unity bonded the audience, making the atmosphere akin to a house party. Crow and Smith contributed to the intimate feel with their down-to-earth and honest dialogue, including wisecracking jokes during moments of forgotten lyrics (Crow), a broken guitar pedal (also Crow), and cracking up with laughter when three different fans got up on stage to “dance” with the performers.
Deathfix played a few songs before Pinback came on, and their electrifying guitar riffs and vintage vibe helped prepare concertgoers for the surplus of beautiful sounds to follow. Over a span of about two hours, Pinback covered 25+ of their most popular songs, spanning many hits from their five studio albums. The duo’s voices complement each other beautifully, and their harmonious unison is emphasized even more live. Throughout the show, the back-screen portrayed various footage from old films, home videos, historical events, and of the two performers. My favorite video had to be the tribute to “Lawn Chair Larry,” also known as Larry Walters, the first ever Lawn Chair Pilot. Things like these set Pinback apart from any other band, because they’re not afraid to be 100% genuine, and even a little bit goofy.
The most memorable event of the night was when Rob Crow set aside his guitar and crowd-surfed while singing “Fortress,” with only bass and drums constituting the melody. As minimal as the performance was, the beauty of the song came through, and Pinback’s passion for their music dominated the venue. Surely, Crow made the night unforgettable for some of their biggest Los Angeles fans.
After the surreal moment that was “Fortress,” the band continued through the setlist and concluded the night with a remarkable encore. They took the stage for the last song of the night, “This Train,” with Deathfix in what seemed to be an improvised performance purely for satisfying encore-thirsty fans. As the two bands played the concluding song, fans were more than satisfied after enjoying such a spectacle of a show. Pinback is definitely a band worth seeing live. Whether you know all of their songs line-for-line, or haven’t heard a single tune, they simply will not disappoint.