LIVE: Pianos Become The Teeth / Silver Snakes / Talons / New Native @ The Underworld, London

By Glen Bushell

Last year Pianos Become The Teeth stunned their fan base with their third full-length ‘Keep You’, which was a marked departure from their earlier, more abrasive sound. With that in mind, anticipation is riding high for tonight’s show. Pianos live shows are known for their intensity, and a lot of people will be anxious to see how the more fragile nature of the newer material will fit into their set, and given the fact that it has been nearly two and half years since the Baltimore quintet were on our shores, the sold out Underworld is waiting with baited breath.

Austria’s New Native take to the stage first at the excruciatingly early time of 6:45, and the room hasn’t had a chance to fill up for them, however their rich textured melodic rock is welcomed by those who have made it inside early, and will have certainly gained them more than a few new followers tonight. The tiny floor of the Underworld has filled by the time Talons make their appearance, with a line up bolstered by not one, but two violin players, and their performance is quite frankly mind-blowing. Their instrumental, apocalyptic post-rock is both terrifying and captivating, and with every eye fixated on the stage, they play as if they could have been headlining the show themselves. Due to that staggering performance it makes Los Angeles Silver Snakes seem a little flat by comparison. Their hard-rock swagger does pick up steam in some places but never really seems to get off the mark. On another night they may well have faired better, but following Talons was never going to be an easy task.

Pianos Become The Teeth suffer such issues of being overshadowed when they emerge, launching straight into ‘Ripple Water Shine’, and becomes immediately evident that the tracks from ‘Keep You’ will work in the live setting. Every word is being sung back at them through two more tracks from the aforementioned album in the shape of ‘April’ and ‘Late Lives’, with wafer-thin frontman Kyle Durfey pouring every ounce of his being into the songs as he writhes around the stage. Of course the more visceral ‘I’ll Be Damned’ and ‘Good Times’ from their now genre-defining album ‘The Lack Long After’ incite pandemonium from the crowd, and even some slight technical microphone issues fail to break the atmosphere.

As expected the set is very heavy on ‘Keep You’, with no less than 8 out 10 of the albums tracks being performed. ‘Enamour Me’ and ‘Old Jaw’ sound almost arena sized, and next to an inclusion of ‘Filial’ from their 2009 debut album ‘Old Pride’ shows how much this band have progressed. The biggest sing-along of the night is undoubtedly ‘I’ll Get By’, with the collective voices in the room eclipsing Durfey’s, followed by the stunning ‘Repine’ and rounding their set out with ‘Hiding’. The band treat the audience one final time with an encore of ‘Say Nothing’, and leave the stage looking genuinely humbled by the adulation they have received this evening.

Any apprehension about Pianos Become The Teeth losing their aforementioned intensity is firmly laid to rest after tonight’s show. The set flowed perfectly, and even if it seems like their loyalty now lies in their more melodic direction, the progression has been warmly welcomed. A triumphant show from one of the most creative bands in alternative music.