Pinback, Crescent Ballroom, 1/31/13

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Pinback performs at Crescent Ballroom.The size of Pinback's touring band has varied in the past. This time around, fellow San Diegan and No Knife drummer Chris Prescott joined the core duo of Rob Crow and Zach Smith. Two string musicians joined for the first two songs, adding emphasis and dramatic flair to the somewhat surprising opening song from the Offcell EP, "Victorious D."

Pinback's mellow math rock dalliance with indie pop ran the risk of being too subdued live, but as Crow dramatically sang "angels suffering" in "Victorious D," it was clear that Pinback's live songs were quite different than their recorded counterparts.

Some songs were sped up -- in fact, the band has been criticized in the past for playing too fast, but that isn't necessarily a bad thing. Most changes sounded great, as "Penelope" now included an electric guitar jam toward the end.

Changing tones and tempos resulted in the most memorable part of the evening. Crow set his guitar down for "Fortress" to dramatically sing along and dance around the stage. He did jumping jacks as a warm-up of sorts before he darted off the stage and wandered into the lounge, much to the bewilderment of Dry River Yacht Club's crowd.

To the delight of fans, some songs didn't change much. The introspective "Loro" sounded as beautiful as ever, as the audience quietly sang along to the "do do do" and struggled to keep up with Smith's random string of numbers in the chorus. The singalongs continued after "Fortress," as some folks jumped around to the true to form "Good to Sea."

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Melissa Fossum
Contact: Melissa Fossum