L.A. Indie-Rockers Silversun Pickups Play to a Sold-Out Culture Room

In the dozens of shows I've attended at Culture Room, I'd never before witnessed desperate fans begging outside for an extra ticket. But Friday night at the parking lot on the corner of Oakland Park and Federal Highway in Fort Lauderdale, hordes of sad souls offered bouncers and scalpers big bucks for a way inside to catch Silversun Pickups.

The last time the Los Angeles indie rockers came to South Florida was in 2010, when they played the much larger Sunset Cove Amphitheater. This time, demand far outweighed supply. The show had been sold out for more than a month, and by 8:30, local openers Sweet Bronco played in front of as packed a house as I'd ever witnessed at the venue.

That is, until 9:30, when a few more bodies snuggled in as the four members of Silversun Pickups walked onto the stage. From the opener, "Cradle (Better Nature)," they brought a fury and a confidence to their distorted feedback and heavy rock. Keyboardist Joe Lester recently told us, "We'll play wherever you put us, but honestly smaller shows with everyone so close together are easier to get into."  

On this night, the band stuck true to that quote. For 90 minutes, singer/guitarist Brian Aubert, clad in his jean jacket, playfully flirted and joked with the crowd as he noodled with his guitar up and down the stage. Nikki Monninger waved as she bounced up and down in her New Year's Eve sequined dress while playing the bass and occasionally taking up singing duties.

First coming to fame in 2005, Silversun Pickups brought an American angst edge to British shoegazing influences like My Bloody Valentine. On this night, they replicated their recorded work in a live setting so convincingly that it kept possibly one of the more polite crowds in human history locked in place. By the time they finished their main set with "Lazy Eye," the best Smashing Pumpkins song Billy Corgan never wrote, there was finally some jumping and hair flailing in the crowd.

After 13 songs, they left the stage. The lights stayed dim, but the crowd was unsure if they would come back for an encore. After a couple of chants of "One more song," they did return. Aubert hugged a young fan who apparently requested "Kissing Families." He warned us: "We haven't played it in a long time. We haven't rehearsed it in a long time." But they ripped through it regardless. 

With 2016 barely a week old, it'd be premature to call this the best concert of the year, but at the very least, the bar has now been set for that award.

Cradle (Better Nature)
Well Thought Out Twinkles
The Royal We
Circadian Rhythm (Last Dance)
The Pit
Little Lover's So Polite
Friendly Fires
Latchkey Kids
Panic Switch
Growing Old Is Getting Old
Lazy Eye

Kissing Families
Dots and Dashes (Enough Already)
The Wild Kind
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David Rolland is a freelance writer for New Times Broward-Palm Beach and Miami New Times. His novel, The End of the Century, published by Jitney Books, is available at many fine booksellers.
Contact: David Rolland