It’s been too long of a time coming, but Pianos Become the Teeth have finally embarked on their first ever proper headlining tour in the US. Fresh off the release of last year’s seminal powerhouse Keep You, Pianos were admittedly cautious about kicking off their own headliner; a tale of caution unneeded, as the band (as well as the entire tour package) have outdone themselves in terms of performance and candor. I was lucky enough to catch the tour on its very first night at one of my favorite venues in Philadelphia, the now-legendary First Unitarian Church.
Opening the show were New Jersey’s finest, Gates. Before I continue, I need it to be known that both Pianos’ Keep You and Gates’ Bloom & Breathe landed in my top five records of 2014, so it’s pretty clear that I was just itching for the show to get underway. Kicking off their set with the quasi-title track “Bloom”, Gates effectively tore the collective, metaphorical roof off of the church’s basement. I hadn’t caught Gates in over two years, so I was ecstatic to hear some of my favorite songs of the last year performed live. Continuing with album cuts like “Low” and my personal favorite “At Last the Loneliest of Them”, Gates seemingly captivated the entire room with their flying hair, wild energy, and beaming floodlights; all the way down to one particular show-goer who was going more than hard during their set, all the while wearing flimsy flip-flops. Kudos to that guy.
Next up were Loma Prieta, a band I hadn’t quite been familiarized with prior to attending the show. They were an interesting addition to this tour, as they would easily have fit in back in Pianos’ earlier days as a much heavier-sounding band. Signed to Deathwish, Inc., Loma Prieta managed to grab everyone’s attention after the atmospheric high that Gates delivered. Taut with unrivaled energy, the hardcore band caught me by surprise, as they could easily shake the frame of the building one moment and intricately dabble with their songs the next.
As Pianos were setting up, I noticed a lighting rig behind their cabinets. After inquiring, guitarist Michael York informed me that they “went all out” on creating their own lighting setup for this tour, something I was itching to see. Beginning in total darkness, the band opened with “April” to much cheering and applause. Following with “Lesions” and single “Repine”, the band took a moment to switch gears and express their excitement and gratitude to begin such an important tour. Taking it back to 2011, the band played “I’ll Be Damned”, “I’ll Get By”, and “Good Times” from The Lack Long After. Something that older, diehard fans may be sad to see is that not one track from their proper debut Old Pride made it into their set.
After the burst of energy from the Lack Long After cuts, the band brought us back to the now with “Enamor Me” and “Old Jaw”, some of the harder-hitting tracks from Keep You. Following with album opener “Ripple Water Shine” and second single “Late Lives”, Pianos closed with their massive track “Hiding”, which came from their 2013 split with Touché Amoré; an indicator track, of sorts, which marked the sonic shift in their sound. Upon closing their set, the band slid “offstage” to the sides for a minute before casually walking out for one of their first encores ever, to play Keep You closer “Say Nothing”.
Do yourself a huge favor and do not miss the remaining dates of this tour:
Apr 24 Minneapolis, MN – Triple Rock
Apr 25 Kansas City, MO – recordBar
Apr 26 Denver, CO – Marquis Theater
Apr 28 Colorado Springs, CO – The Black Sheep
Apr 29 Albuquerque, NM – The Works
Apr 30 Scottsdale, AZ – Pub Rock
May 01 Anaheim, CA – Chain Reaction
May 02 Los Angeles, CA – The Roxy
May 03 Berkeley, CA – 924 Gilman St.
May 05 Salt Lake City, UT – Urban Lounge
May 07 Lincoln, NE – Vega
May 08 Milwaukee, WI – Cactus Club
May 09 Grand Rapids, MI – Pyramid Scheme
May 10 Toronto, ON – Hard Luck Bar
May 11 Montreal, QC – La Vitrola
May 12 Cambridge, MA – The Sinclair
May 13 Brooklyn, NY – Saint Vitus
May 15 Cleveland, OH – Spring Fling Festival
May 16 Pittsburgh, PA – Altar Bar
May 17 Asbury Park, NJ – Skate and Surf Festival
May 23 Howell, MI – Bled Fest