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The Pains of Being Pure at Heart @ Johnny Brenda’s.

May 27, 2014

TPOBPAH_003Text and images by Timothy O’Donnell.

Walking into Johnny Brenda’s last week, you probably wouldn’t have even guessed it was a Monday. It was absolutely jam packed. And for good reason, as indie pop darlings The Pains of Being Pure at Heart took the stage in support of their new record, Days of Abandon.

Longtime fans of the band might have been mildly confused as to just who exactly was on stage performing that night. In a sort of mashup type scenario, very recognizable lead singer and guitarist Kip Berman was accompanied by several members of touring bands Ablebody and Fear of Men, with Ablebody’s Christoph Hochheim on guitar, and Jacob Sloan on bass, as well as Fear of Men’s Jessica Weiss on keyboard and vocals.

Berman took the stage with the newly added singing talents of Jen Goma (replacing former singer and keyboardist Peggy Wang), kicking off their set with the first track off of the new album, “Art Smock.” The song maintained an enchanting yet somber melody throughout, with Berman and Goma’s harmonization nearing perfection.

The rest of the band joined the stage, and immediately jumped into “Until The Sun Explodes,” a song heavily sustained and driven by keyboardist Jessica Weiss’s underlying and catchy melodies.

A few songs into their set, Berman told the crowd that this was a particularly special night because both his and Jacob Sloan’s moms were in the crowd, and then joked that he was hoping for a good review on mock website Momfork (clearly a riff on Pitchfork).

“Simple and Pure” was a stand out for the night, with the crowd hitting its peak of jumping, dancing and singing along. It’s the type of song that you can’t help but move and bop your head to. It has the perfect ingredients of Berman and Goma’s vocals playing off of each other in a way that allows each of them stand out moments, while also working cohesively together to produce a (no pun intended) simple and pure sound.

The rest of the set consisted primarily of new songs off of Days of Abandon, as well as some old favorites like “Heart in Your Heartbreak” and “Everything With You.” The enthusiasm and passion shown by both the band and the crowd made this one of the more memorable Monday night’s at Johnny Brenda’s.

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