buttonThe Album Leaf with Pinback @ Liquidroom Ebisu (28th Feb. '08)

San Diego invades Tokyo

      The Liquidroom was a full house of eager and diehard fans who didn't even seem to mind how hot it was in the club while waiting for the two Sand Diego based bands to take the stage. In Japan for only a 5 day trot across the bigger cities, the two bands have been alternating on opening-act duty and for the final stop, tonight saw Pinback take the stage first. For Fridays show, the Album Leaf will open up.


Pinback      One thing everyone may know about Pinback's live sets is the speed and intensity with which they perform each song compared with the recorded versions. Guitarist Rob Crow commands the stage with his usual fierceness while bassist Zach Smith's more mellow vocal harmonies balance it all out and keep things from turning into a hardcore show.

      Tonight, they seemed more confident than ever with their repertoire. Performing songs off of their new album, Autumn of the Seraphs, their fourth full length just released in September 2007 on Touch and Go Records, the newer songs can be characterized by more dynamic melodies, like on "Good to Sea," which itself was met with elation by the crowd. Most of the songs performed last night, including the new single, "From Nothing to Nowhere," were still melodic but heavier and more intense, all to the crowd's delight. But the other precise arrangements Pinback performed proved the band's unique brand of pop is tighter than ever and still growing. They have yet to fall of the post-punk radar and as their music grows, as do their performances. Last night, Pinback again demonstrated how they pull off a balance of intricate drumming, complex vocal harmonies and guitar picking parts that seem to be based on algorithm, looping for minutes at a time- but this is what seemed to get all the heads and bodies moving and those hard-to-unlock elbows open.

      With the crowd responding to every seemingly bigger and louder breakdown, one thing I noticed was the demographics of the crowd- a mix of young and more mature which seemed like a fitting barometer of the band's career span of 10 years. But I have to say, and maybe walk the line of redundancy here, it was one of the most enthusiastic, responsive and communicative crowds I have seen at a live show in Tokyo.

The Album Leaf

The Album Leaf      After a short break, still nobody seeming to mind the heat indoors, the curtain lifted with an equally escalating roar from fans which would only have their eyes met with an empty stage. The Album Leaf's equipment was on auto pilot, and after about two minutes of a beautifully noisy introduction, the band walked on stage and picked up their instruments.

      Not only do The Album Leaf nearly hypnotize their listeners with their deep blue canvas of sounds, there is more room to get lost in their performance with the synchronized visuals put on by their personal touring visual artist, Andrew Pates. From the moment they took the stage, the band commanded the mood in the room- either the crowd was holding their breath while silently swaying or they were screaming for more and more as soon as each song was checked off the set list. The band ended up doing a three song encore, but just as notably, the opening build up was equally inviting- Jimmy Lavalle's layered keyboard wizardry was met with the violin and then suddenly, heads bobbed up and down with the human, yet seemingly robotic, drumming on the well known "Always for You."

      There are no secrets when the Album Leaf perform. When they do, its like everything is bare for all to see- how they play, what equipment they are using and how personal they get into their music, its as if a diary is being read aloud. Each member is completely enthralled in their own instruments; Lavalle lowering his head all the way to the keys as he leans into every chord. As the band got into their set, you can realize how personal their music is which is something I started thinking about during their set. Sometimes a live show is about how hard or loud a band performs, but with The Album Leaf, you can see a different kind of intensity, its something internal rather than external. The crowd reacted just as intensely and passionately as if they were listening any other genre of heavier music.

      Playing three out of six songs off of their 2007 tour EP, The Enchanted Hill (P-Vine), The band also played a majority of their material off of 2006's Into the Blue Again (Sub-Pop) including, "Writings on the Wall," "Red Eye," "Into the Sea" and even "Window" off of 2004's In a Safe Place (Sub-Pop) as an encore. After a well rounded set, the band ended up quenching fan's thirst and put on a three song encore, something The Album Leaf must be used to by now.

      Always received with open arms in Tokyo, and despite their cancellation at last year's Fuji Rock Festival, The Album Leaf took little time to talk in between songs except to thank Smash and all the fans for making it all come together, "Its good to be back in Tokyo," relieved Lavalle.

report by vicente
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buttonmag files : The Album Leaf, Pinback

buttonSan Diego invades Tokyo : (08/02/28 @ Liquidroom Ebisu) : review by vicente
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buttonphoto report : (07/01/13 @ Liquidroom Ebisu) : photos by saya38

The official site

The Album Leaf


check 'em? -->My Space / iTunes

The latest album

The Album Leaf

"Into the Blue Again"
( US import / iTunes)

previous works

"Seal Beach" ( US import /)
"In a Safe Place" ( US import / iTunes)
"One Day I'll Be on Time" ( US import / iTunes)
"A Lifetime or More" (iTunes)

... and more

The official site



check 'em? -->check 'em? -->My Space / iTunes

The latest album

"Autumn of the Seraphs"
(US import / US import - '12analog / iTunes)

The best album

"Nautical Antiques[Best of]"
(US import)

previous works

"Summer in Abaddon"(US import / US import - '12analog / UK import)
"Offcell [EP]"(US import)
"Some Voices"(US import / iTunes)
"Blue Screen Life"(US import / UK import)
"Pinback"(US import)
"Tripoli [Single]"(UK import)

check the albums?

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buttonSan Diego invades Tokyo : The Album Leaf & Pinback (28th Feb. @ Liquidroom Ebisu)

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