All images courtesy of Paivi Salonen
Bands using video projectors at their live shows can be hit-or-miss. At their best, you can have a band like Godspeed You! Black Emperor, who count their projectionist as a full-on band member. He moves back and forth between four(!) projectors, mixing up a series of dark images to add to the brooding feel of the music. At their worst, you might as well stare at the iTunes visualizer on your laptop.
As I arrived at Pinback’s show on Sunday night at the Black Cat, the first thing I noticed was the projector. I had mixed feelings about how openers Judgement Day used it; it seemed gimmicky to me at first, but I was convinced by one song, where their playing synced perfectly with their video track. It was sick, to say the least; it showcased their skills as virtuosic musicians with creativity beyond musical composition. Pinback, on the other hand, wasted an opportunity to do anything exciting with their visuals. They weren’t very dynamic as performers either, so their use of a projector felt like a crutch, just to try to make their show more visually appealing.