Pinegrove impresses San Diego’s Observatory North Park

Pinegrove brought their headlining tour to The Observatory, North Park in San Diego recently on April 5th to promote their latest album release, 11:11 (Rough Trade). Alongside the band were the super vibey dudes of Peaer and a completely down-to-earth guy known as ‘Drench Fries’ (a solo project of Levi Natrass).

It was a night full of emotion, dance, laughs and fantastic indie rock/emo/alternative jams.

Starting the night off strong was Seattle native (although current Oceanside, CA resident) Drench Fries, with his fantastic jam band to perform Levi’s creations live. He began with no hesitation into a few songs which captivated the already-filling audience immediately. The members onstage put the focus into the music and after the audience was completely hooked, Drench Fries brainchild Natrass took some time to talk to the audience, said “hi” to his grandmother in the crowd (instant AWE moment) and introduce his beloved touring players. Giving a very pleasant indie rock session, the audience danced along and shouted support messages to the younger artist throughout the set that I really was behind, to be honest. Things like “We Love You!” really warmed my heart! After an explosive farewell applause and heightened spirits in the room, Peaer took the stage.

Coming all the way from New York, the band is comprised of two studio engineers and a guitar teacher, creating a sound that communicates an unmated, raw meaning, balanced with social commentary and self deconstruction. It was really something where the lyrics sing total raw emotion, combined with beats that make the feet move and hit the soul JUST right. Some guitar riffs emitted auditable responses from the crowd that surely made the band feel good. Lead founder, vocalist and guitarist Peter Katz, bassist/vocalist Thom Lombardi and drummer Jeremy Kinney cruised through their set in such a dynamic way. We had the pleasure of hearing awesome hits like “Left / Felt. Pt. 2” and “Sick”.

A quiet energy then filled the room with the knowledge that Pinegrove was up next. When the lights dimmed, the crowd was ready.

Pinegrove totally gained a new genre of territory on their latest release, 11:11, and it made for a really entertaining performance. A slight twang was introduced into their well-known indie/emo instrumentation, bringing forth an incredibly amazing, unmatched sound. The band (consisting of Evan Stephens Hall on vocals/guitar, Sam Skinner on various instruments, including guitar and percussion, Megan Benavente on bass and other instruments, and Zack Levine on drums) had an electric energy onstage that kept the audience completely dazzled from beginning to end. Big hit songs the showgoers loved to hear included old favorites “Rings” and “Old Friends”, plus new hits “Alaska”, “Iodine” and “Habitat” all off 11:11. After listening to the wonderful discography of various hits from different Pinegrove albums, I can really see that even though the band has experiemented (successfully) in different sounds; the communication in the raw lyrics are something that the band stays true to. You have to see these incredible artists perform to truly feel the experience for yourself! The tour will continue through Texas until the end of April with artists Chuck and Katy Kirby (lucky ducks!), so don’t miss that lineup!

Photography by Franny Kovacs

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