The Pity Party
Photos by Brian Dreisbach
As published in L.A. Record:
The Silverlake Lounge was the hipster – er, rather, hip place to be last night for The Fold’s 10-Year Anniversary show at the Silverlake Lounge. The celebration featured performances by Fold staples The Pity Party, Castledoor, and, though it wasn’t much of a secret, “special guest” Silversun Pickups.
The Pity Party kicked things off the right way with a most awesome set of rawkage. For the uninitiated, Heisenflei and Maurice-Robert make up The Pity Party, or The Best Band in L.A. as I like to call them. With her drumkit set up front and center, the lovely Heisenflei pulled triple duty, furiously pounding the drums and keys while managing the lead vocals. Always in shorts and barefoot, witnessing Heisenflei’s lanky white legs stomp furiously around while her long fiery red curls fly about her face is quite a show in itself. As if this weren’t entertaining enough to watch, Maurice-Robert churned out raw guitar riffs constantly tapping away at the plethora of pedals beneath his feet while providing screaming backing vox. The duo delivers an experimental and refreshingly unique sound to the indie rock milieu, evocatively blending the artsy rawness of Nico-era Velvet Underground with the punky sophistication of early Pixies with the loud intensity of Trail of Dead, featuring smart and inspired lyrics to boot. I always have way too much fun seeing them perform, and their extended 45-minute set was a treat.
Up next was Castledoor, whose six members could barely cram themselves onto the stage. Though Nate was quite the crowd pleaser and the entire band showed great energy and enthusiasm, I just couldn’t get into the band’s brand of hippie pop. With The Pity Party having just revved up the crowd to party mode, my friend Brian and I agreed that the cutesy set delivered by Castledoor should have been reserved for the opening slot.
It was approaching midnight, and by this point the place had completely filled up. I overheard as one unfortunate couple was denied entrance as the place had reached capacity. Ever so hopeful, the guy asked if they could wait outside to see if anybody left. Slowly shaking her head, the door girl replied, “No one’s going to leave.”
By midnight everyone in the crowd had haphazardly compacting themselves into the first three feet from the stage awaiting the Silversun Pickups. It was great to see the band return to the stage where they honed their chops over the years. Frontman Brian Aubert lovingly commented, “It sounds just as shitty as ever up here!” They started their set by plowing into a sonic rendition of “Well Thought Out Twinkles.” This was the first time I saw the band live (and yes, I am fully aware that as an Echo Park native there is no excuse for this, thank you) and I was so glad to catch them at the intimate Silverlake Lounge where I’d missed them about 4,749 times before.
Chris Guanlao attacked his kit so aggressively that the long jet-black mop on his head was entirely soaked by the third song. Man, this guy can fucking PLAY. I still don’t know how he managed to so effortlessly hit his crash hanging a good two feet over his head. Brian flailed about all over the stage all night while Nikki thumped at her bass keeping to her own little space. Sitting at the keys, Joe was hidden from my vantage point, but from the sounds of things he was rocking it hard.
Having just got off tour with Snow Patrol, the band surprised the audience by welcoming Pablo Wilson to the stage. Met with a typically tepid Silver Lake welcome, Brian urged the crowd to show some more love. “Come on guys, he came all the way from Scotland!” eliciting laughs and the appropriate level of applause. Slinging a guitar this eve, the Snow Patrol bassist joined in for a kickass version of “Lazy Eye” complete with heavy extended codas. This was apparently the very favorite song ever of the girl in back of me, as the song’s first few chords triggered her to plow through me and my friend (whose lovely photographs accompany these words) so she could dance in the front row, nearly knocking his pricey SLR to the floor. Luckily, disaster was averted and no ass-kicking was necessitated.
Brian thanked Fold proprietor Scott Sterling and shared the story of why Scott started The Fold a decade ago – sweet, sweet revenge. After a bad breakup, he vowed to establish a venue where his ex-girlfriend would never play. When asked if he’d let her play there today, Scott simply answered: “No.” Here’s to another decade with The Fold (without Scott’s ex-girlfriend).