Photos and review of Pentimento, 4/5/14 at GameChanger World in Howell, New Jersey.
Photos and review by Molly Louise Hudelson. More photos on Facebook here.
"This is more than a band; that’s what I’m trying to show people."
-Mike Hansen of Pentimento (drums/vocals), 2/22/14
You’ve probably heard about Pentimento. If you’re a fan of anyone from Less Than Jake to Reggie and the Full Effect to Real Friends, you might’ve even seen them live. While Pentimento has played New Jersey a handful of times over the past few years, this past Saturday was the band’s first headlining show in the Garden State.
Of course, first up were the opening acts- You, Above All, KYLE, Arrows in Her, and Forever Losing Sleep from New Jersey; A Will Away from Connecticut; and Bellwether from New York- and then, a few hours after doors opened, Pentimento took the stage, starting off with “Unless”, the opening track on their self-titled album.
Whether they play a bowling alley, a small club on New Year’s Eve, or a new venue on the side of a New Jersey highway, Pentimento brings to the table a live set that is emotionally raw yet incredibly polished- these are talented musicians, who know how to play their parts well. There was not a moment when a guitar riff was out-of-time, or a word sung out-of-key.
But what made Pentimento’s set special was how it connected with those in the crowd. While they did talk in between songs, you’ll rarely hear a member of Pentimento talk about what their songs mean- that’s for you, as a listener, to figure out. Instead, there was chit-chat about their past few shows in New Jersey (the most recent being a college show), how excited they were to be there, and how cool it was to see people singing along. And sing along they did- there were times when the crowd’s singing was louder than that coming from the stage.
In addition to fan-favorite “The Bridge”, one of the highlights was “Circles”, a song that starts off a bit slower and translates better live than it does recorded. “Almost Atlantic” started off gentle and vulnerable- "…and it caught me off guard / The way things that I was so sure of simply crumbled away"- with lyrics, melodies, and instrumentals rolling rhythmically like the waves of the ocean. A few songs later- ten in all- Pentimento closed their set with the catchy and direct “Just Friends.”
Music does not exist in a vacuum. When created, it does not get sent out in to an endless void, but rather to the ears, minds, and hearts of those who listen. There is, perhaps, no band that truly understands that concept more than Mike Hansen, Jeramiah Pauly, Vinny Caito (bass), and Lance Claypool (guitar)- the members of Pentimento.
Whether it is five, ten, fifty, or five hundred people at first, when a band truly connects with others through their music, they have become a band that matters. GameChanger World was not “packed” or sold-out that night- it’s a rather large room, and as always in a busy music scene, there were a handful of other shows going on in the area- but it seemed that every single person in attendance (from opening bands to those in the crowd to the four individuals on stage) knew that they were a part of a very special evening.
This may have been their first headlining show in New Jersey, but it certainly won’t be there last. Mike was more than correct about Pentimento- they are, most certainly, more than just a band.
Pentimento’s music video for “Just Friends” will be premiering this Wednesday, 4/9, via Hot Topic.
These are some of the nicest guys around. Whether I’m shooting or just attending one of their shows, it’s always a pleasure to see them live.