Friday Night: The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart At Fitzgerald's
Houston's Friday show circuit was enough to make any music fan's head spin: While droves were at Toyota Center taking in the artistic freak show that is Lady Gaga, the city's alternative crowd was crammed into Fitzgerald's for one of two buzzworthy shows: Warpaint (upstairs) and the Pains of Being Pure at Heart (downstairs).
As if the live-music gods thought they dealt us a too-lucky hand, Pains' scheduled opener, Twin Shadow (an act we were equally, if not more, eager to see), canceled at the last minute, citing health problems. But the second openers, Houston's Watermarks, picked up the slack and set the stage for New York's indie darlings.
Fresh off the release of their sophomore album, 2011's Belong, Noise-popsters the Pains of Being Pure at Heart have further cemented their easily distinguishable sound, a precise blend of resurrected early-'80s New Wave and Britpop atop the distorted crunch of grunge-era guitars.
Aftermath had first seen the Pains at SXSW '09; funnily enough, Friday's show didn't veer too far from the same show experience two years prior - they were consistently loud and distorted, without much diversion from their rooted song-style. Keyboardist Peggy Wang contributed frequent backup vocals; unfortunately, it was nearly impossible to hear her during most of the show.
The sound in general was muffled, but then again, so are Pains' records; an intended muffle, if you will. The group plowed through their set list, offering little between-song chatter, though Berman did fill us on in on the band's first time eating crawfish - which was, unbelievably, earlier that day.
Evidently, most of the Pains didn't take to the Cajun staple, except for Wang, as Berman jokingly poked fun at her newfound appetite for crawfish. Wang, her long locks masking her baby face, smiled through the set's entirety.