Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Piebald at Webster Hall's Grand Ballroom

Travis Shettel
Four high school students formed Piebald as a hardcore band in 1994 in Andover, Massachusetts, then moved to Somerville and gradually evolved into a popular emo band. Piebald split in 2000, reunited in 2002, and split again in 2008, though the band reunited briefly in 2010 at the Bamboozle music festivals in California and New Jersey. This year, Piebald reformed for the Wrecking Ball 2016 music festival in Atlanta, Georgia, and the band announced a "You're Part of It" tour leading to that date. Piebald presently consists of its classic lineup of vocalist/guitarist Travis Shettel, guitarist Aaron Stuart, bassist Andrew Bonner and drummer Luke Garro. Piebald's most recent album, Accidental Gentleman, was released in 2007.

Demonstrating how wit had become integral to its song craft, Piebald opened tonight at Webster Hall's Grand Ballroom with "Karate Chops For Everyone But Us" from its 2002 album We Are the Only Friends We Have. Half of the 20-song set drew from that album, with the prior album, 1999's If It Weren't for Venetian Blinds, It Would Be Curtains for Us All, coming close with seven songs. The band introduced no new songs, for all intents and purposes revisiting where the curtain fell in 2008. The band has matured with the times somewhat, with a slicker presentation that diminished the earlier jangly indie guitar chords and occasional progressive hardcore spines. With story-songs designed with rallying, climactic choruses, Piebald saw its audience engaged in enthusiastic singing from the first lyrics. If there is still room for emo bands in the contemporary rock skyline, Piebald may not be soon forgotten. Footnote: tonight was Stuart's birthday, and he knelt onstage and proposed marriage to his girlfriend in the audience midway through the concert.

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