Arts & Culture

Silversun Pickups to play Dunkin’ Donuts Center

Indie rock band to perform April 1 alongside Bear Hands, Cage The Elephant, Foals

By
Arts & Culture Editor
Thursday, March 24, 2016

Stylistically akin to “the band in ‘Nightmare before Christmas,’” Silversun Pickups is currently on tour promoting its studio album, “Better Nature.”

Silversun Pickups will touch down in Providence April 1 to play at the Dunkin’ Donuts Center along with Bear Hands, Cage the Elephant and Foals.

Nikki Monninger, the bassist of Silversun Pickups, said the band is excited to play with fellow indie artists. “It’s always fun to play with bands we like to see,” she said. “We will go out and watch the show for ourselves.”

Silversun Pickups is on tour to promote its fourth studio album, “Better Nature,” which was released in September. The band started the tour a week ago in Fresno, California and has since toured through other cities in California and Texas.

Silversun Pickups has no rituals or “hand-clapping fun” before performing, instead preferring to “hang out with friends and then head on stage with one minute to go,” Monninger said. She is grateful for the opportunity to play on stage almost every night and to have a loyal and diverse fanbase including a wide variety of people, from college kids to adults, who have followed the band for the past 16 years and are now bringing their kids, she added.

“I am thankful to be able to make a living off of (music), and I’m grateful anyone wants to come to our shows.”

“Better Nature” is a testament to the band’s growth since its inception. The tracklist includes a lot of experimentation and “good vibes,” Monninger said, adding that the band “is going places that we had never gone before.”

She added that all the members are in a “good spot” to try new things — one song includes Monninger playing a vibraphone. The experimentation stems from the members’ loyalty and commitment to each other and to the success of Silversun Pickups since 2000, she said.

Monninger met frontman and lyricist Brian Aubert back in 1997 when she was on an exchange program in England. The two quickly became friends and, shortly after, roommates. At the end of the year, Monninger and Aubert started thinking of making a band, and they coordinated a four-person group including themselves and both of their significant others. Yet Silversun Pickups did not officially emerge in the music industry until 2002.

Christopher Guanlao and Joe Lester joined the band in 2002 after Monninger and Aubert created the band’s official title. Monninger remembers driving with Aubert and stopping at a liquor store they often visited on the corner of Sunset and Silver Lake Boulevards called Silversun. After stopping in, Aubert came back to the car and asked Monninger what she thought of naming the band Silversun Pickups. Monninger loved the name, and the group has built its brand on the title and developed a sound system of innovation ever since.

Songwriting is a smooth process for the band —“Brian comes in with the basis of the song, and then we work on it together and finish up our own parts,” Monninger said. The members have been able to work cohesively over the last 14 years because they are “friends first, and that helps keep us together,” Monninger added.

Silversun Pickups has defined its style as “the band in ‘Nightmare before Christmas.’” Despite the band’s dark and intense sound, its attitude toward playing is just the opposite. “We have a lot of heart and are along for the ride,” Monninger said. “We’re just glad we’ve been able to express ourselves.”