Live Review: Blind Pilot @ The Fillmore 7/6

Published by Jay on

Guest review by Jay

Blind Melon. Psych! Blind Pilot hit the Fillmore this past Friday night with all the support in tow for a successful night. I have to admit, I was very skeptical… this was my first time seeing the band live and my first time reviewing a show, so I ran through my requirement list for “what makes a band decent” a hundred times before seeing their ridiculous blue tour bus parked outside. Lets face it; SNL, Portlandia, your 16 year old cousin in Tennessee, and the Billboard have all taken shots at Indie-folk hipsters overextending “quirky.”

I began the evening by surfing Craigslist for extra tickets, not because I needed them, but because I believe a great indicator of what to expect lies not only in the fact that the venue is sold out, but in whether fans are willing to buy tickets for above face value. You can begin to gauge passion for the artist based on the inflation of secondary market sales. When you compare that passion to a band’s accessibility, you begin to see whether an act is at its prime, is a budding cult phenom, or if your Pandora is just lazy.

People were well willing to spend extra money to see the show on Friday. As I saw Israel Nebeker walk right out the front door and onto the bus while people around him were haggling higher and higher for tickets to see Blind Pilot, I knew I was in for a pretty chill treat.

Blind Pilot's bright blue tour bus, parked right in front of The Fillmore

Blind Pilot’s bright blue tour bus, parked right in front of The Fillmore

As I walked up the stairs through the surreal entrance of the Fillmore, I was, as expected, transported a generation or two into the past. It occurred to me, about the time I grabbed a free apple from the bin at the top of the stairs, that there was no line for this sold out show. Why? Because nearly everyone was already there. As fellow Rabbit Tiffany suggested in the Show Alert and review of Blind Pilot’s show at the Great American Music Hall, Blind Pilot can put together one heck-of-a-tour. They simply “get it”. So I would be extremely remiss if I didn’t portray an accurate picture of the entire night, and I believe the entire night comprised the experience.

To kick off it off, Holiday Friends, from Astoria, Oregon, hit the stage for some super palatable Indie-Pop. The group unveiled some new material, gained some faithful cheers, and ultimately landed on a bunch of iPods. Next up was Laura Gibson from Portland, Oregon, who brought out some vocal driven folk. Her success recently overseas is no doubt deserved, but the crowd murmurs suggested she over-extended her welcome at this particular show. I attribute it to her 2 minute diatribes between songs about her career, but on to bigger and better things: BLIND PILOT.

Million Dollar Question: Why should I pay to see Blind Pilot?

Blind Pilot brings a lot to the table, under both skilled and unique columns, to be successful. Where many indie bands lean on over-simplification or a grunge edge to complete their on stage sound, Blind Pilot simply sounds outstandingly clear. Surprisingly, what you hear on their records in sound quality is exactly what you get live. To boot, Blind Pilot is a great band to see for a date if you’re down to dance and the crowd is chill so you won’t have to box people out from elbowing your significant other.

When performing live, Israel and company allude to a rhythmic intensity not heard on their albums. As seen in videos for songs like “The Story I Heard” strings were broken (on purpose), but songs played on to the amazement of the crowd (and guitar gurus present). As the band has grown in their second album to a bigger sound, lets hope they grow in the next to include this on-stage intensity in the studio.

The only negative from the show is not a real negative. Blind Pilot’s Kati Claiborn brought to light an ongoing problem with indie-folk:  The fact that outstanding women’s voices like hers, the Decemberist’s Jenny Conlee, or Head and the Heart’s Charity Thielen, continue to be underutilized. Hopefully they’ll just start a supergroup one of these days and end the madness. It’s time.

(Editors note – check out the Show Alert for a great clip of Kati performing solo during a Blind Pilot show.)

Snapshot – some key tracks from the artists

Laura Gibson – “La Grande”

Blind Pilot – “Go on, Say it (Live)”

Music and concerts are way better with friends!
Suggest this concert to friends who like: Coconut Records, the Head and the Heart, Good Old War, Death Cab for Cutie, Iron and WIne, the Shins, Great Lake Swimmers, Bon Iver, and Greg Laswell


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