Autumn Of The Seraphs turned 10 in 2017, which to be honest felt young to me. Keep in mind that Pinback broke onto the scene in the 90’s, albeit in the final year of that fabled decade. Regardless, Pinback is one of those bands that feels like they’ve been with me for the majority of my adult life. When I stop to think about why, I tend to circle back on their level of craftsmanship combined with their level of innovation. Each album offers something new while staying true to that familiar sound. Perhaps it’s Zack Smith’s unique chord driven bass playing or Rob Crow’s sweet melodic vocal stylings layered over his clean guitar notation. Whatever the case may be, the boys from San Diego evoke a sense of calm control while giving way to a free flowing sound, album to album. This is not to say that each album is without its signature sound, and in 2017 we have been given the pleasure of reflecting on what makes their 4th of 5 albums memorable in it’s own right.
Speaking of the 90’s, opening for Pinback was SAVAK (pronounced “sah-vawk”), a low key super group of personnel from the likes of Edsel, Obits, Nation of Ulysses, Make-Up, Ted Leo & The Pharmacists, Enon, and Holy Fuck. Named after Imperial Iran’s secret police known for their torturous practices prior to their dissolution in 1979 during the Iranian Revolution, this well travelled four piece features Sohrab Habibion (Edsel/Obits) on guitar and vocals, Michael Jaworski (The Cops) also on guitar and vocals, bassist Greg Simpson (Obits), keyboardist James Canty and younger brother of Fugazi’s Brendan, and Holy Fuck and Enon alum drummer Matt Schulz. A late arriving crowd filled the space with admirable density as SAVAK thrashed through a set of guitar driven Dischord-era inspired cuts. It’s refreshing to know that members of bands I grew up loving are still making new music inspired by and founded on the principles I identified as an impressionable young adult. SAVAK should be known by indie kids new and old. If you’re not yet familiar do yourself a favor and check them out. The gracious and down to earth foursome gave praise and admiration to the band most were there to see as Pinback readied to take the stage.
Smith and Crow took the stage as identifiable members of Pinback while drummer Chris Prescott was noticeably absent. Still the trio set forth on playing A.O.T.S. in its entirety with a few classics mixed in. Now at capacity, the crowd responded with fervor and excitement as the threesome plotted their way through the 2007 critically acclaimed album. With the occasional transition of Smith (a.k.a. Armistead Burwell Smith IV) from bass to keys, the tracks clicked and popped along a trajectory of head bobs and pogoing audience members. At times the vocal fills were supplied by a chorus of concert goers especially during “Barnes” and clear crowd favorite “Good to Sea” that saw arms thrust in the air in syncopation to each lyric sung by Crow and Smith.
Here’s to 2022 when Pinback rides again in celebration of my personal favorite album Information Received. Until then, find the guys out on tour in support of Autumn of the Seraphs.