The Pains of Being Pure at Heart: The Perfection of a 30-Minute Set

jamminThe Pains of Being Pure at Heart: Long band name, short set. (By Annie Powers)

Consider this to be the opposite of our Rules of the Road series. On Monday night cumbersomely named New York indie-pop up-and-comers the Pains of Being Pure at Heart came to the Black Cat's backstage. And the sold-out show was awesome. Very awesome. The band's debut album, on recently resurrected seminal Slumberland Records, is a reminder of everything that's great about my favorite microgenre (take that, lo-fi noise!) -- shimmering guitars, slightly off-key vocals, an inviting wall of sound. The live experience was even better. Any hints of twee were gone. It simply rocked. Archie Moore, who mixed the band's album (and used to play in a bunch of bands that made indie-pop my favorite microgenre) even remarked to me halfway through the set how muscular it sounded. And he was right.

After about 25 minutes of fiercely fuzzy pop delights, singer Kip Berman announced it would be the band's final song. There was an additional one during the encore, but the set still clocked in at barely 30 minutes. And I couldn't have been happier. If you're paying $110 to see a show featuring four performers with storied careers, then you're going to want a long show. But there is no reason for a band that works within a single sound, has just one album to its credit, as is playing a three-band, $10 show on a Monday night to play for more than 30 minutes. Everyone there got the point. Nobody walked out disappointed. (Except maybe for fellow Going Out Guru Fritz who pulled his usual "fashionably late" thing and missed half the set -- sucker!)

So, young bands -- don't feel like you owe us anything extra. If you have a strong 30-minute set, that's plenty. Don't drag it out. Always leave them wanting more. Thank you.

By David Malitz |  February 10, 2009; 5:39 PM ET Live Last Night
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great show from all the bands, big thing in store for The Pains

Posted by: Deceiver | February 10, 2009 10:45 PM

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