It has become fashionable for established bands to recall glory days on tours wrapped around signature albums, sort of a rolling greatest hits revue.
It wasn’t that long ago, for instance, that Weezer played two nights in Orlando, one each for its first two studio albums.
While it might be convenient to lump Wednesday’s sold -out celebration of “Give Up,” the 2003 album by indie-rock supergroup The Postal Service, into that category, the band’s stellar performance at Hard Rock Live was much more than a nostalgia trip.
The Postal Service – a short-lived, long-distance collaboration featuring Ben Gibbard (Death Cab for Cutie), Jimmy Tamborello (Dntel) and Jenny Lewis (Rilo Kiley) – only released that one album. “Give Up” has endured, however, as an influential indie-rock milestone.
On Wednesday, the reason was apparent from the grave, descending chords of the opening song, “The District Sleeps Alone Tonight.” This material is densely packed with ethereal instrumentation, propulsive rhythms and evocative wordplay, a combination that’s built to last.
At Hard Rock (the tour’s lone Florida date), the show unfolded with a palpable sense of expectation from both the audience and the band. At times, the musicians seemed to be rediscovering the music as it was happening.
On stage adorned with gorgeous pillars of light, Gibbard, Tamborello, Lewis and Laura Burhenn (Mynabirds) executed intricate turns between dance-worthy beats and evocative melodies, turning on dime from moodiness to mayhem.
As Gibbard sang, swayed and slashed away at his guitar, Lewis inspired numerous ovations for her soaring vocals on songs such as “We Will Become Silhouettes.” On that one, Gibbard pounded along on a drum kit, something that Lewis would do later in the 90-minute set.
Gibbard and Lewis were the group’s most engaging members all night, especially as duet partners on the lovely “Nothing Better.” Behind them, Tamborello worked multiple computer keyboards and Burhenn added textures in an instrumental mix that included keyboard and xylophone.
Although songs occasionally drifted too far into the atmospheric realm, the band rocked “Turn Around,” “A Tattered Line of String,” and a vaguely psychedelic cover of Beat Happening’s “Our Secret.”
And the instrumental anarchy of “Natural Anthem” injected the studio version with a dose of steroids that showed this band also can deliver the noise when it wants.Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun