Silversun Pickups at Ace of Spades, by Patric Carver

Silversun Pickups (photo: Patric Carver)

Silversun Pickups played to a sold-out crowd at Ace of Spades. Security was very tight, and there was a line winding around the block to get in for the entirety of the opening band's set. However, the wait and the copious security checks proved to be worth it. The Pickups played a beefy set that contained all of the songs that fans wanted to hear. It was an amazing night.

The Pickups are masters of distortion. It's massive and overwhelming but in a soothing way. They are the weighted blanket of distortion — consuming and comforting. The listener can't help but be smothered by it.

They played several songs from their latest album, Widow's Weeds, including the lovely "It Doesn't Matter Why" and the bombastic "Neon Wound." Bassist Nikki Monninger's playing on "Wound" was perfect — ropey and dense. She anchored the powerful song in a way that wasn't limiting but grounding. "Wound" is a pretty good song on the album, but it took on a new life live and moved into excellence.

The highlighting of the evening, though, was from decade-old Swoon. "The Royal We" was a buttery soup of their radical distorted sound with Brian Aubert's pretty boy vocals stirring the pot. So delicious. So filling. Like Ween's "Baby Bitch," "We" is a silken stocking of soft chorus wrapped around rusty metal shards — poking through; jabbing. Whereas "Bitch" never lets those shards break through, "We" eventually tears lose in wonderful destruction. It was fantastic.

The Pickups tore the stage apart that night. As they move into the third decade of their career, they are marching strong.

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