Internet hype is just that, as was proven last night at the Silversun Pickups and Viva Voce show in Rochester, NY. Silversun (pictured), based in Southern California, have been garnering mad crazy press for their latest release, Carnavas. While the album is exhilarating, the live performance severely lacked emotion. That was a serious downer, because the record, which deftly mixes pre-pretentious Smashing Pumpkins-style rock with the walls-of-guitar brilliance of ’90s shoegazer bands, has been on endless repeat for months in my stereo. I was left flat until they kicked out their last song, “Lazy Eye”. Only then did the room began writhing in unison to the dense reverb filling the space. I may love the Pickups on record, but I question whether they deserve all the hype. And I’m still wondering why all the bloggers love “Kissing Families,” because it’s not even close to being their best song. That honor goes to ”Dream at Tempo 119.”
In contrast to the Pickups’ weak performance, husband-and-wife duo Viva Voce absolutely killed. Kevin and Anita Robinson rock it so hard, you’d think there were 10 people on stage. Their raw, dirty sound — which you can hear for yourself on their latest disc, Get Your Blood Sucked Out, completely enveloped the small room, and Anita’s angelic voice mesmerized the crowd. At one point, Kevin began playing a song on the acoustic guitar while kicking on the bass drum and cymbals, tweaking the nobs on the electrical gear, and singing. Yeah, you won’t see any top 40 bands doing that.