Concert Review: Pine Barons, The Districts, February 20, Lincoln Hall

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The stage at Lincoln Hall on Friday night was backlit by four plastic mannequins with big, flat, round white lights attached in lieu of heads. Walking in when the overhead lights were already off and the stage was lit I, and a few others around me, mistakenly thought there were four tuba players onstage, which would’ve been awesome – but either way it made for a very striking look onstage and a great setting for the opening band, who were strikingly weird (in the best of ways) themselves. The members, Keith, Brad, Collin and Shane (described on their Facebook page as vocal angel, vocal angel, vocal devil and percussion wizard, respectively) took to the stage as the Pine Barons. If you’re unfamiliar with the New Jersey ecosystem, which I am, you might miss the cleverness of the name, which I did, but along with millions of miles of majestic trees, this foursome grew out of the Pine Barrens of New Jersey (I always feel like with the plethora of just plain old dumb band names out there, it’s worth it to give a nod to a good one – well played gentlemen).

The Pine Barons, who depending on your mood could be described as indie, folk, or psych rock, are nothing if not eclectic – the band’s songs play creatively with texture, tone and have almost a tactile feel to them – the band produces engaging and bizarre sounds that you can almost see them squeezing, shaking and modulating out of their instruments as they float towards you. Take a listen to their 2013 self titled debut album and you’ll get an idea, with its squeaks, splashes, groans and rumbles – it’s anything but ordinary, but still keeps all the hook and catchiness of your more standard indie rock. The congenial foursome made their way through tracks from the 2013 release, creating those same intriguing and mysterious sounds onstage, which was a delight to see. Ending their set with “Don’t Believe What They Told You” the band went a little hardcore, a perfect choice to get the crowd ready for the rock and roll that was about to come from The Districts.

The Districts took to the stage and immediately started cranking out the hard core, cathartic rock that the audience had clearly come to see – no idle chatter, no banter, no jokes – just shredding. Wailing away on two guitars, a bass and drums, the foursome made their way through their gruff, beautiful, angry, 2015 sophomore album A Flourish and a Spoil just released at the beginning of this past month. With heads banging and hair flying, the group roamed around onstage, laying into the instruments as the crowd bounced along. Live, the band settled in for longer non-vocal, instrumental stretches than they have on their album, and those moments were definitely their strong point. While it’s worth it to look up the lyrics later – they’re interesting, smart, passionate and heartfelt – live, the band’s strong point is all in their raw and crackling instrumental power. .

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Posted on by Celeste in Concerts

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