LIVE REVIEW: Pains of Being Pure at Heart + Fear of Men + Able Body @ The Independent, SF 5/6/14
New York’s Pains of Being Pure at Heart are keeping this spring tour in support of the band’s forthcoming album Days of Abandon within a tight circle of trust. Los Angeles’ Able Body and Brighton’s Fear of Men provided opening support with the entire lineup of Able Body, brothers Anton and Christoph Hochheim and Jacob Sloan, and singer Jessica Weiss of Fear of Men pulling double duty as they also appeared alongside Pains’ Kip Berman and newcomer Jen Goma. As Able Body wrapped up their set, singer Hochheim thanked Pains for having them on this tour and immediately noted the irony in his gratitude, “I guess I’m kind of thanking myself” he quipped.
To be clear, Jess Weiss does not possess a fear of the opposite sex. Though Weiss was seemingly quiet and reserved off-stage while interacting with fans at the merch table, she was quite the opposite on-stage as she emphatically maneuvered her guitar back-and-forth to the band’s sweet sweet melodies. The set appropriately opened with “Alta/Waterfall” as the lead track off the band’s recently released debut album Loom (read more about it here). Weiss’ vocals possessed a notable resemblance to those of Natalie Merchant and Camera Obscura’s Tracyanne Campbell and her crisply delivered vocals made going to the “Doldrums” sound like the most pleasant place on Earth. Perhaps it is they, Fear of Men, who we fear.
2014 is a “new” year for Pains’ singer Kip Berman: new album, new label, and new bandmates. In between the band’s last tour for Belong and the start of the tour for Days of Abandon, new musicians began working their way into the lineup with Hochheim returning and Berman remaining constant through the shuffle. The result at Tuesday night’s show was an overwhelmingly positive response Pains’ new live sound. That’s not to say that there was anything wrong with the last lineup – but the inclusion of Jen Goma singing vocals alongside Berman added a new dimension to the band that didn’t exist a few years ago. It showed in the synergy of their vocals in the set opener with Goma at Berman’s side harmonizing over the chorus of “Art Smock” and Goma’s lead vocals on the ever-so-pop track “Kelly.” Much of Pains’ set previewed songs of Days of Abandon which is being released on Tuesday May 13th on the band’s new label, Yebo Music. But old time favorites like “The Body” with its heavy and reassuring bass lines and “Heart in your Heartbreak” crept into the set list with a refreshing new delivery and punchier pop aesthetic. Pains will remain on tour for the majority of the spring. Catch them in a city near you!
Check out a full gallery of Pains Of Being Pure At Heart and company at the Independent HERE!