Silversun Pickups - Ben Jay, Asst. Photo Editor
Silversun Pickups, the Los Angeles-based indie/alternative/shoegaze band best known for their surprise 2007 hit, "Lazy Eye," are currently touring North America and Europe to promote their sophomore album, Swoon.
Luckily for me, I was able to catch them on Oct. 23 at their stop at Rochester's Main Street Armory. For those unfamiliar, Silversun's sound, often compared to that of the Smashing Pumpkins, has a really dreamy vibe while still maintaining driving melodies and guitar.
Opening for Silversun Pickups were An Horse, an indie-pop duo from Brisbane, Australia, and Kentucky-based hardcore punk band Cage the Elephant. An Horse played a really fun set, mostly from their debut album, Rearrange Beds, while Cage the Elephant was a highly energetic act.
As soon as Silversun went on, the crowd instantly erupted as the band, fronted by lead vocalist/guitarist Brian Aubert and bassist Nikki Monninger, burst out with the quietly intense "Growing Old Is Getting Old" from Swoon, followed by the more boisterous "Well Thought Out Twinkles," from their 2006 debut album, Carnavas.
Silversun's set was based primarily around Swoon, with eight of the album's 10 songs taking up about half of the evening's setlist, although they did still play about half of Carnavas, as well as two songs from their 2005 debut EP, Pikul. Highlights included "Little Lover's So Polite," "It's Nice To Know You Work Alone" and "Future Foe Scenarios," all played consecutively.
Unfortunately, the show did have to come to an end at some point, and the band concluded their main set with "Panic Switch," the lead single from Swoon, and "Lazy Eye," both of which were excellent. The show's encore, fittingly enough, featured one song from each of their three releases. I especially enjoyed "Creation Lake" from Pikul, which featured lead vocals from Monninger, who, in addition to being a remarkably good bassist, has a very pretty voice.
When the show finally ended, Aubert closed "Common Reactor" with some really cool extended ambient guitar work, which made me think that the band was probably as sorry as I was to see such an unbelievable show come to an end. And I have to say, I found that very comforting.
Jason Mraz - Maris Finn, Goings On Editor
Jason Mraz's Gratitude Café tour stopped at the Nikon at Jones Beach Theater on Long Island in early August, featuring opening act G. Love & Special Sauce.
Mraz started off his act relatively slowly with "Make it Mine" off his new album We Sing, We Dance, We Steal Things, and segued into an older mellow tune from his debut album Waiting For My Rocket to Come.
After that, Mraz and his band amped up the energy with some more well-known songs such as "I'm Yours," "The Remedy" and "Lucky." He kept his die-hard fans entertained with some older songs such as "Dream Life of Rand McNally" and "1,000 Things," yet kept the set fresh with danceable songs such as "The Dynamo of Volition" and "Coyotes."
One of the best elements of the show - as with his other shows - was Noel "Toca" Rivera, the "vocussionist" and percussionist for Mraz's band. A trained djembe player, Rivera always adds a funky flavor to the performances.
Mraz demonstrated his broad vocal range when he belted out "Beautiful Mess," the heart-wrenching ballad off his latest album.
The Jones Beach stadium is known to host huge stars, and may have been a bit daunting for Mraz, but he definitely held his own, putting on an unforgettable show.
Rascal Flatts - Allison Sirica, Public Relations Manager
On July 11, the Rascal Flatts Unstoppable tour made a stop at Darien Lake Performing Arts Center to perform for a large crowd of dedicated fans.
After opening musician Darius Rucker finished, Rascal Flatts took the stage, entertaining the crowd with their hit single, "Summer Nights." As the concert progressed, they continued to win the crowd over with songs such as "Here Comes Goodbye," "Bless the Broken Road" and "Stand."
One particular crowd favorite was "My Wish." During this number, Rascal Flatts showed a video montage of their work with the Make a Wish Foundation and gave a performance that left many audience members with glossy eyes.
The crowd was entertained not only by the spectacular performance but also by the humor the group incorporated into their concert. According to the Rascal Flatts Web site, guitarist and vocalist Joe Don Rooney said of the concert: "We're giving our fans a couple of hours of getting away from reality. As soon as we drop the first note, we want them to be captivated."
Rascal Flatts certainly succeeded in this, as their set left audience members thrilled with what they had seen and wanting more.