The Postal Service Fox Theatre Pomona April 15, 2013 With the news of the horrific Boston Marathon bombing, seeing two police cars parked in front of the Fox Theatre Pomona produced an eery calm to the evening. The exhilaration of surviving Coachella quickly dissipated upon hearing the terrifying news. Fortunately, The Postal Service provided an enchanting evening of escapism. The Postal Service are currently celebrating the tenth anniversary of their platinum selling debut album, Give Up with an extended tour that has sold out nearly everywhere they have been booked to play.
The band were definitely one of the highlights of Coachella and seemed to be gathering steam as they had the entire crowd in the palm of their hand with the electronic pulses of "The District Sleeps Alone." The entire audience knew the album so well that it was difficult to find a spot on the floor where someone wasn't singing along.
The setlist was surgically selected as "We Will Become Silhouettes" kept the energy level high as Ben Gibbard ran back to a drum kit for the final minutes of the song. "Sleeping In" was flawless as Jimmy Tamborello replicated the hushed vocals behind his keyboard and laptop station. Laura Burhenn delicately tapped on her xylophone for the twinkly intro of "Turn Around" as Jenny Lewis intertwined her honey soaked vocals.
Throughout the evening, the energy in the room was palpable. During "Nothing Better," the crowd erupted when Lewis sang the female counterpoint section of the song as Lewis and Gibbard danced together in the center of the stage. The spacey vibe of "Recycled Air" was replicated beautifully with Tamborello adding some vocoder processed vocals at the ending of the song.
"Clark Gable" had Gibbard unraveling some nice guitar work with the addition of an ebow device which is used to provide copious amounts of sustain. "This Place Is Prison" had Lewis momentarily tapping into her heavy metal side with a short buzzing guitar solo. "A Tattered Line of String" is one of the "newer" songs placed on the deluxe reissue of their album and perfectly fit in alongside the older material.
Once the familiar arpeggiated synthesizer notes of "Such Great Heights" came blasting out, everyone soon mimicked the electronic sonic claps of the song as even more folks joined Gibbard on vocals by singing along. Lewis had a tape recorder that she held over her guitar pickup for the chaotic and noisy ending of "Natural Anthem" to close their main set.
A gigantic roar for an encore was eventually appeased as The Postal Service reemerged for the Dntel song "(This is) The Dream of Evan and Chan" which marks the first occasion of Gibbard and Tamborello working together under Tamborello's moniker of Dntel. The magical moment of the evening was at the very end when Gibbard asked the audience to sing along at the end of "Brand New Colony" by repeating the refrain of"Everything Will Change." It was goose bump inducing, especially given the events earlier in the day. Thankfully The Postal Service provided a beautiful escape from reality with a glimmering set.
Will Wisenfeld, better known as Baths, sculpted an interesting sonic tapestry with his laptop and AKAI controller. Wisenfeld seemed to be giddy knowing he was opening for band that was probably a direct influence. Baths has a new album, Obsidian that is due in late May.
Critical Bias: I flew to Reno last week to see the opening night of the tour.
The Crowd: Those from early naughts who remember this album as being the soundtrack to their life during that specific period of time.
Overheard in the Crowd: "That was worth the ten year wait". I fully agree.
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Random Notebook Dump: I highly recommend you check out Jimmy Tamborello's other project Figurine.
Setlist "The District Sleeps Alone Tonight" "We Will Become Silhouettes" "Sleeping In" "Turn Around" "Nothing Better" "Recycled Air" "Be Still My Heart" "Clark Gable" "Our Secret" (Beat Happening) "This Place Is A Prison" "There's Never Enough Time" "A Tattered Line Of String" "Such Great Heights" "Natural Anthem" "(This Is) The Dream Of Evan and Chan (Dntel) "Brand New Colony"