Sugarcult began their set in the same way that any second supporting band would – with their most well-known single off of their first album, “Start Static,” “Stuck in America.” The typicality of the song, however, did not take away from its innate greatness – loaded with power chords and relatable lyrics, “Stuck in America” was the safe, yet effective way to reel in their audience.
The acoustics throughout this first song were less than perfect, as the pickups did not relay the music through the entire arena well – however, by the second song, “She’s the Blade,” off of their new album,”Palm Trees and Power Lines,” named after their perception of California, the acoustics were fixed, allowing the entire audience to experience the show equally.
Frontman Tim Pagnotta engaged his audience before the song began, yelling, “What the fuck is up?” which convinced formerly seated audience members that now may be a good time to become more involved in the show.
“She’s the Blade” continued the momentum Sugarcult began with “Stuck in America,” as lyrics like “Cuz she’s the blade and you’re just paper / and you’re afraid cuz she’s got closer,” are fun when sung in conjunction with the music, and allow the audience to sing along.
Before the next song, “Crying,” Pagnotta once again reached out to his audience, ordering at the crowd,”Get your fucking feet off the ground.”
It may not be fair to blame the audience for their previous seated positions, as the crowd was mostly composed of teeny boppers, unaccustomed to their expected position as not just audience members, but participants as well.
Following the trend started with “She’s the Blade,” and continued with “Crying,” the band’s next two songs, “Memory” and “What you Say,” were also off “Palm Trees and Power Lines.” These songs were played in succession without any special live innuendos, which, although they were done well, they did not differ from their recorded versions.
“Pretty Girl,” from “Start Static,” brought fans, which may have come to hear the older tunes, back into the energy of the show.
Finally, Sugarcult ended with their second single off of their first album, “Bouncing off the Walls.” Although this final song was typical, like the opener, “Stuck in America,” it served well in ending the show with the audience fully engaged in the music.
Sugarcult even admitted it in their interview – they are not used to playing in such large venues. Had the band been playing in a smaller venue, such as Water Street Music Hall, you can be assured that the audience would have felt much more engaged, and the overall energy level would have been higher. Even so, the band was able to put on a solid show, and captivate the attention of those seated throughout the arena.
Katz can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.