review: Pinegrove impressed at the Echoplex with Lomelda & Florist
Pinegrove brought their tour with Florist and Lomelda (whose singer Hannah Read is currently playing in Pinegrove) to Los Angeles recently. I caught the sold-out Thursday night (10/5) show at the Echoplex.
Once Pinegrove took the stage the place was rapt -- I can't remember the last show I've been to where the crowd sang along to every word like they did with Pinegrove. Clearly these songs mean a lot to people, and they're easy to connect to emotionally. This connection is made easier by the presence of frontman Evan Stephens Hall, who takes his time between songs to engage the audience in rambling conversational fashion. It made for a loose communal vibe at the show, which found Pinegrove mixing in favorites from Cardinal and Everything So Far with new stuff from their upcoming album.
The older stuff had the crowd in bliss, and the new stuff hinted at exciting new directions for them. Evan is an extremely strong songwriter, and from the sound of it, he's pushing himself with the new material. In particular a song called "Darkness," which Evan dedicated to the late Tom Petty (he claimed to have written it in an attempt to mimic a Petty song), aimed his gift for hooks in the direction of big, arena-style heartland rock. He was coming off of some cancelled dates due to a cold, and presumably as a result he claimed that this was his first show in over two years without consuming alcohol. All of this is to say that he was extremely engaging and it did a lot of work to get the crowd on the band's side. By the time they closed the main part of the set with "Old Friends" and "Aphasia" from Cardinal, people were in full-throated jubilation, and the encore (which included a goofy, Blink-182-esque solo song about making toast while stoned) was really just icing on the cake.
Pinegrove have a couple of NYC-area shows coming up. They'll hit Irving Plaza on December 6 and 7 (both of which are sold out), and then they play their inaugural NJ holiday show at Starland Ballroom on December 29 (tickets).
Check out more pictures from the LA show below.
Update: A previous version of this review contained incorrect information about the opening acts. The review has been revised.