Review: Silversun Pickups celebrate in Santa Monica as Nikki Monninger begins maternity leave
Apologies to Silversun Pickups: This review of their latest homecoming – a headlining turn at Santa Monica Civic Auditorium Thursday night, with choice support from Atlas Genius and School of Seven Bells – is a couple of days overdue.
The tardiness isn’t due to a lack of inspiration, just a result of life happening – something SSPU can fully relate to right now, as bassist Nikki Monninger is well into her pregnancy with twin girls, which is leading to her temporary departure from the band. (Sarah Negahdari of L.A. mainstay the Happy Hollows will step in for this year’s remaining dates.)
Thursday’s gig marked Monninger’s final show of this tour supporting the group’s latest and most commercially successful disc to date, Neck of the Woods, from May. But that was just one of several factors that made this evening particularly exciting.
Even before frontman Brian Aubert announced the joyful news, there was an outpouring of love permeating the room. Cheers were so deafening after an especially rousing rendition of the set’s second tune, “Royal We,” that Aubert and Monninger appeared overtly bashful, both musicians smiling somewhat sheepishly (albeit with obvious territorial pride) before hammering home NOTW’s lead-off single, “Bloody Mary (Nerve Endings).”
Of all the new tunes played live – nine of 11 were included here – that track resounded truest to its recorded form: melodically catchy throughout, floating along at a constant, shoegaze-inspired pace, with only a hint of heaviness in Aubert’s distorted effects. Perfect for the massive singalong it incited.