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Tuesday, June 28, 2011

The Pains of Being Pure at Heart, young adult addiction

The Pains of Being Pure at Heart. Sala Apolo, Barcelona, June 20

The best alumni of indie-pop arrived to Barcelona to present their sophomore album, "Belong" and with the promise of an unforgettable night we were headed to Sala Apolo, where, despite being Monday, there was no surprise the venue got pretty full by the time the concert was supposed to start (without supporting act). Excitement was evident just by looking at people faces.  

Unfortunately, it took a bit for the band to reach a connection with the eager audience. Leaded by Kip Berman, who carried the responsibility of the gig on his shoulders, they started with "Belong", "This Love is Fucking Right!" and "Higher than the Stars", played with competence, but the intensity, that intangible that differentiates a good concert from an mesmerizing one, wasn't there.

It would get better quickly, though. Because if one thing The Pains don't lack are songs. "Heart in Your Heartbreak", followed by "The Body" and "Heaven’s Gonna Happen Now", heated the cold atmosphere at the venue as well as the members of the band. Cascading guitars (great sound all night), instant melodies, and although Berman's is not an extraordinary singer, and Peggy Wang's backing vocals were quite limited all night, uplifting harmonies. They might not be revolutionary in their sound, but their songs are vital.

The beautiful "Stay Alive" preceded another trio of  hits: "My Terrible Friend" and the already classics "Come Saturday" and "Young Adult Friction". Let's admit it. Are they the best band on stage? Of course not, far from it. But with such songs, it seemed the contrary for a while. The ice completely melted, and the band, more confident and happy to be there, continued their offensive with "Too Tough" and "Everything With You". Yes, we were indie-dancing. Could have been any other way?

After the short break, Kip Berman came alone to play "Contender" and then, backed again by the whole band delivered "Say No To Love". Don't want to use the word low-down, but they needed something more to reinvigorate the concert again, so they waved goodbye with a passionate "The Pains of Being Pure at Heart". The rescue of the encore was completed, but the band felt the need to return a second time, with  "A Teenager in Love" and  "Hey Paul", probably not the strongest choices to close the gig, but no complains. I think you get the idea by now. They may need something more live, but songs? They have a ridiculous amount of them, enough to make you enjoy any night. Ready to suffer a lot more of these Pains. Here's the complete setlist of the gig.
  1. Belong
  2. This Love is Fucking Right
  3. Higher than the Stars
  4. Heart in your Heartbreak
  5. The Body
  6. Heaven's Gonna Happen Now
  7. Stay Alive
  8. My Terrible Friend
  9. Come Saturday
  10. Young Adult Friction
  11. Too Tough
  12. Everything With You
  13. Contender
  14. Say No To Love
  15. The Pains of Being Pure at Heart
  16. A Teenager in Love
  17. Hey Paul

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