Rather than dwell on what went wrong with Pinback’s Thursday night show in the Hub, I choose to chalk it up to an unappreciative audience and call it a night. Heralded by other fans and critics for their innovative stage antics and impromptu song makeovers, the boys did as promised, mixing old and new material seamlessly for a set list that ran the low-fi gamut. Unfortunately, the student-dominated crowd just wasn’t having it – or at least they weren’t eating it up quite as eagerly as one would have hoped.
As can be expected, older ditties like Offcell’s “Grey Machine” and Blue Screen Life’s “Prog” met a less-than-ecstatic reception. But even the singles off of Pinback’s 2004 debut, Summer in Abaddon, were played to half-hearted sing-a-longs and nonplussed head nodding. And while I may appreciate an artfully played slow jam just a bit more than the next guy, what these kids were expecting to see was anyone’s guess. That said, their UCSB stint definitely earned Rob Crow and Zach Smith a little extra street cred. Instrumentally, the group sounded about as spot-on as one could hope, given that over half the band was compiled solely for touring purposes. Crow and Smith undoubtedly ran the show, commanding their audience to loosen up and dance a little on several occasions.
Show openers the Jade Shader did an equally stellar job – providing a short, but sweet, collection of songs, which helped to usher in the trickling crowd. Despite the brief slot, the Jade Shader was able to mosey through a number of cuts from 2005’s Curse of the Tuatara with unhurried gusto. Lead singer Terrin Durfey even took a timeout to thank his “super friendly” buddies over at the Hard to Find Showspace for playing host to his band the last time they stopped in Santa Barbara. Perhaps the people over at the Hard to Find Showspace would have valued this little sonic treasure a bit more because, for the Hub, this double bill just wasn’t loud, fast and accessible enough.