If you aren’t sure it’s possible to feel your heart break and your soul soothed repeatedly, in a single stretch of time, take these words of advice and check out Pinegrove the next time they cruise through your town. At The Echo on Wednesday, the Montclair, New Jersey natives delivered almost two hours of their particular variety of emo pop-meets-indie-meets-americana for the biggest show of their tour so far.
The concert kicked off with a dazzling electronic set from Half Waif (comprised of three members of Pinegrove), followed by a few songs from SPORTS, a fresh-faced and surf-y sounding group from Gambier, OH. Their high-energy set was the perfect warm up for the buzzing crowd, a pleasantly mismatched group of dedicated fans, local concert rats, and excited younger girls.
For the remainder of the night Pinegrove rolled through a set that featured songs from their latest album and a couple of older songs as well. The band even performed a brand new track, to the crowd’s obvious delight. Frontman and songwriter Evan Stephens Hall, a wiry blonde dude with painted blue converse and the writing chops of your college English professor, commanded the audience’s attention effortlessly. Hall spoke conversationally with the eager concertgoers and took the time to answer a steady stream of shouted questions throughout the show.
Not once was there a moment of lapsed energy in Pinegrove’s set. Perhaps the climax of the concert occurred during “Size of the Moon,” a slow burn off their most recent album, Cardinal, that had the whole crowd shouting the chorus. “Waveform” cooled down the concert atmosphere for a few minutes of simmering guitar and floating harmonies. Other favorites included “Aphasia,” a cathartic heartbreaker of a song that only grew more poignant and intimate when performed live, and “New Friends”, perhaps their most well-known song that the crowd seemed to know every word to.
As the show drew to a close, Hall left the crowd with a reminder to “love each other as deeply as you can, be nice to each other, talk to strangers, and look out for each other,” a request that, while simple, seems to often be pushed to the back burner in the harsh political and social climate we're experiencing today. This general feeling of connectedness and compassion wasn’t only present in those final minutes; rather, it was woven throughout the fabric of the show’s entirety, manifesting in moments of shared grief, everyday victories, and all of the intricacies of growing up that Pinegrove so eloquently shared with their audience on Wednesday.
Pinegrove is currently on the American leg of their tour in support of their latest album, Cardinal, released earlier this year.
Words: Brighton Lindberg