Silversun Pickups and Minus The Bear give unique takes on nostalgia at Brooklyn Steel

Photos by Pamela Wang, Words by Ava Scott

Everyone could tell he was in pain, but it was as if the cheering of the crowd and the adrenaline of performing were pumping painkillers through his veins, pushing him through the end of the encore. Guitarist and vocalist Brian Aubert finally caved and unwrapped his soft cast, tossing it aside he continued to play through the last song and a half of the show on November 17th at Brooklyn Steel.

When the stage crew came out after opener, Minus the Bear, and tore down their enormous tapestry to reveal the grey sheet scrawled with “Silversun Pickups,” I felt my heart rise to my throat. The stage was barren save for the instruments, some speakers, and a few extra lights—deceptively simple for a band with such dynamic music.

The venue was packed from stage to bar with couples in their mid-twenties, hipsters, recent college grads, punk girls, and middle-aged men still rocking their 9-to-5 button downs. The eclectic audience mirrored the members of the band. Brian had a torn shirt sleeve to accommodate his cast; bassists and vocalist Nikki Monninger was in a tailored dress and sparkly penny loafers, doing the politest head-banging I’ve ever seen; drummer Chris Guanlao was the human embodiment of Animal from The Muppets, and keyboardist Joe Lester looked…normal. Despite their aesthetic differences, their chemistry as a group is undeniable.

Throughout the whole show, hits of albums past (“Well Thought Out Twinkles,” “Kissing Families,” “Lazy Eye,” and others) were met with plentiful crowd participation under a rain of colored light. The crowd favorite seemed to be “Panic Switch.” Before starting the song, Aubert addressed the audience with a monologue on how the world should be “more fucking fun.” In the musical breakdown of “Panic Switch”, Aubert gave the crowd some instruction. “Alright. So what’s going to happen is I’m going to whisper some words into the mic and all you guys have to do is listen, and then a little bit later I’m going to need you to scream them. I’m not going to tell you when. You are smart people. You’ll figure it out.” The crowd had already been singing at the top of their lungs, so there was no surprise when everyone ignored Aubert’s request. Usually tears and emotions are anticipated after a slow song, but I had an uncontrollable wave of emotion rush over me at the end of their performance of “Panic Switch.”

I grew up listening to the Silversun Pickups: from hearing “Lazy Eye” as an 8-year-old kid to play a cover of it in my high school, girl band. Seeing them in concert, while also being only a few feet away from the stage, was thrilling. The lighting display and energy of the music was incendiary, and the rush from the bass and pounding drums rattled my heart in my chest. All these elements working in tandem made this show unforgettable.

Tickets are still on sale for future upcoming shows. Check out their website for more information.



Ava Scott is from Birmingham, Michigan and currently lives in Brooklyn, New York where she studies graphic design at the Pratt Institute. A lover of all things music, she hopes to enter the industry from the design side by creating merchandise and promotional products like posters and album graphics.

Pamela Wang

Pamela Wang is a photographer/writer from Los Angeles, CA currently based in Brooklyn, NY. Find more information about her and her work at pamelawwang.com and facebook.com/pwwphotography.

Silversun Pickups and Minus The Bear give unique takes on nostalgia at Brooklyn Steel

Photos by Pamela Wang, Words by Ava Scott

Everyone could tell he was in pain, but it was as if the cheering of the crowd and the adrenaline of performing were pumping painkillers through his veins, pushing him through the end of the encore. Guitarist and vocalist Brian Aubert finally caved and unwrapped his soft cast, tossing it aside he continued to play through the last song and a half of the show on November 17th at Brooklyn Steel.

When the stage crew came out after opener, Minus the Bear, and tore down their enormous tapestry to reveal the grey sheet scrawled with “Silversun Pickups,” I felt my heart rise to my throat. The stage was barren save for the instruments, some speakers, and a few extra lights—deceptively simple for a band with such dynamic music.

The venue was packed from stage to bar with couples in their mid-twenties, hipsters, recent college grads, punk girls, and middle-aged men still rocking their 9-to-5 button downs. The eclectic audience mirrored the members of the band. Brian had a torn shirt sleeve to accommodate his cast; bassists and vocalist Nikki Monninger was in a tailored dress and sparkly penny loafers, doing the politest head-banging I’ve ever seen; drummer Chris Guanlao was the human embodiment of Animal from The Muppets, and keyboardist Joe Lester looked…normal. Despite their aesthetic differences, their chemistry as a group is undeniable.

Throughout the whole show, hits of albums past (“Well Thought Out Twinkles,” “Kissing Families,” “Lazy Eye,” and others) were met with plentiful crowd participation under a rain of colored light. The crowd favorite seemed to be “Panic Switch.” Before starting the song, Aubert addressed the audience with a monologue on how the world should be “more fucking fun.” In the musical breakdown of “Panic Switch”, Aubert gave the crowd some instruction. “Alright. So what’s going to happen is I’m going to whisper some words into the mic and all you guys have to do is listen, and then a little bit later I’m going to need you to scream them. I’m not going to tell you when. You are smart people. You’ll figure it out.” The crowd had already been singing at the top of their lungs, so there was no surprise when everyone ignored Aubert’s request. Usually tears and emotions are anticipated after a slow song, but I had an uncontrollable wave of emotion rush over me at the end of their performance of “Panic Switch.”

I grew up listening to the Silversun Pickups: from hearing “Lazy Eye” as an 8-year-old kid to play a cover of it in my high school, girl band. Seeing them in concert, while also being only a few feet away from the stage, was thrilling. The lighting display and energy of the music was incendiary, and the rush from the bass and pounding drums rattled my heart in my chest. All these elements working in tandem made this show unforgettable.

Tickets are still on sale for future upcoming shows. Check out their website for more information.



Ava Scott is from Birmingham, Michigan and currently lives in Brooklyn, New York where she studies graphic design at the Pratt Institute. A lover of all things music, she hopes to enter the industry from the design side by creating merchandise and promotional products like posters and album graphics.

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