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A Talented Triple Bill at Webster Hall

October 5th, 2009

The Pains of Being Pure at Heart/the Depreciation Guild/Cymbals Eat Guitars – Webster Hall – October 3, 2009

The Pains of Being Pure at Heart (Photo: Jared Levy)

The Pains of Being Pure at Heart (Photo: Jared Levy)

A sweet smile drew across Kip Berman’s face as he took the stage. Taking inventory of the crowd and the moment, he said, “I think tonight is going to be special.” His band, the Pains of Being Pure at Heart—and the Depreciation Guild and Cymbals Eat Guitars—must get this feeling often. These three acts have been releasing some of the most critically acclaimed music over the past couple of years. While the groups differ in musical sensibilities, they are bound by their recent accomplishments and success.

It won’t be long until Cymbals Eat Guitars move from opener to headliner. But on Saturday at Webster Hall, they were first act of the night. CEG showcased material from their debut album, Why There Are Mountains. Joseph D’Agostino, the band’s guitarist, lead singer and songwriter, belted out raw, passionate vocals on top of dynamic songs like “Wind Phoenix.” D’Agostino’s guitar work featured ferocious riffs, feedback and plenty of whammy bar.

The Depreciation Guild followed with an audibly and visually stimulating performance. Playing behind a panel of Technicolor monitors, the band created distorted melodies complemented by a Famicom, an eight-bit Nintendo soundcard—controlled by frontman Kurt Feldman—which produces synthetic and rhythmic complements to the live instrumentation

Capping off the night, the Pains of Being Pure at Heart put on a powerful and playful set. In a stream of noise pop, the band played “Twins” and “103” from their new EP, Higher Than the Stars. At times, the heavy drums and fuzzed-out guitar parts swallowed Berman’s vocals, making it difficult to digest the message of the songs. But the band’s enthusiasm was infectious. The group repeatedly gushed about returning home to New York City. And keyboardist-vocalist Peggy Wang-East even told a joke: “Why can’t witches make kids? Because they have crystal balls.” The Pains of Being Pure at Heart, the Depreciation Guild and Cymbals Eat Guitars epitomize the joys of youth and talent. —Jared Levy