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Overwrought Big Pink outdone by opening band

by Jessica Price - SGN A&E Writer

The Big Pink with A Place To Bury Strangers
March 12
Neumos


London-based fuzz-rock duo The Big Pink brought their bombastic live show to Seattle for the first time last week, selling out Neumos and leaving desperate fans scrambling at the door for extra tickets. They've been the great, mythical hope of 4AD Records devotees since A Brief History of Love dropped on U.S. shores in late 2009, all pretty cover art and dreamy-electro rock soundscapes tightly wound within. The band was formed by Robbie Furze and Milo Cordell, but they took the stage at Neumos as a four-piece and wasted no time in getting right to the point.

Opening with hit single "Too Young To Love," the sound was just right - loud, fuzzed-out, technically perfect in most all respects. Unfortunately, it was a bit hard to see who exactly the other band members were due to the smoke billowing into the packed house and around the massive amps and lighting, but it's safe to assume drummer Akiko Matsuura and touring bassist Leopold Ross were the shadowy figures enlisted for this tour. "At War With The Sun," "Velvet," and "Crystal Visions" were heavily textured and spot-on, and the youngish crowd responded with rapt enthusiasm.

Main vocalist/guitarist Furze heaped on the peppy arena-rock attitude, pumping the air Dave Gahan-style and propping a foot on the monitor to rock out. It seemed a little heavy-handed for a band still so relatively new, even if he is the former hard-rocking guitarist for Alec Empire. Cordell kept his hood over his head most of the evening, which seemed a little unnecessary, as well. Fans of 4AD traditionally don't like hints of goofy rock-posturing thrown in with their shoegazing, but as the quartet plowed through most of Brief History (plus one pleasant but unremarkable new song), the young crowd didn't seem to notice or care. Though a bit festival-laden and over-the-top for Neumos, it couldn't be said that The Big Pink weren't good. They delivered their hottest singles and were true to their lush, heavy/soft dynamics, but the set - and the band - are oddly hard to digest as a whole package. "Dominoes" closed the evening, which may be the biggest anomaly and the worst track on the record. Seattle's blind date with The Big Pink was pleasant on paper, but a little overwrought in the flesh.

The ones to watch were openers A Place To Bury Strangers, who've already gained a large and dedicated cult following and impress without trying too hard. The Brooklyn-based noise-rockers have two full-lengths out on Mute Records. After seeing their potently tantalizing set, it would be money well spent to scoop up both releases and cross your fingers that they'll kick the headliners to the curb next time.

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