Majestic and enrapturing, Peach Pit’s lead guitarist Christopher Vanderkooy leapt from The Fillmore stage to crouch on the railing during the guitar-smashing finale of the band’s popular song “Alrighty Aphrodite” on March 14. Perched precariously and fervently plucking the guitar, Vanderkooy cast an almost regal shadow over the magenta bright, revering crowd.
Marking only the second show of its sold-out tour, Peach Pit’s first night at The Fillmore was rife with the buzz of nostalgia. Cast in quickly shifting spotlights, soft colors became blunted by the smoke machine saturating the stage, and the band commanded the beanie-clad crowd with a practiced air of insouciance.
While Peach Pit’s newest album From 2 to 3 carries a different and folksier sound, the record still evokes the quintessential youthful reminiscence, and the group’s 52-date sold-out tour is proof of its success. The fans’ devotion was perhaps more striking proof: one concertgoer, originally barred for lacking a COVID-19 booster shot, made a quick dash to a nearby Rite Aid to acquire the vaccine, and the young fan made it back just in time for the opening number, “Brian’s Movie.”
The band emerged under yellow-filtered lights, accompanied by a drawn out metallic guitar riff in a debut equal parts sentimental and exuberant. Lead singer Neil Smith’s voice rang out “Oh man!,” and the audience echoed his enthusiasm back, promising poignancy and vivacity to come.
The band members bounced erratically around onstage, at times perfectly in sync and other times engrossed in their own worlds, careless and chaotic under colored lights. In moments when the spirit began to wane, Vanderkooy undoubtedly saved the show with his turbulent, high-energy dance breaks, a breathless whirlwind poised to unfurl into a full blown twister at any given guitar solo.
“If you lived right down the street/ Would I ever have to buy more weed when I’m low?” Smith asked in a sped-up, livelier version of the hit single “Vickie.” The audience’s response: a plume of smoke rising from the marijuana redolent mass. As orange spotlights reminiscent of the “setting sun” sliced across the stage, Vanderkooy slapped a tambourine expertly against his palm before sending it flying — it hit the ground and shattered. Trust Peach Pit to forego the violent guitar smashing of hardcore punk rock and opt instead for a mellower, more indie-oriented instrument to splinter.
Among the quirky instruments wielded was a violin — the haunting melody laying bare all other production — and a harmonica. Drummer Mikey Pascuzzi, who spent most of the show poised behind or above his bandmates, provided the performance’s percussive lifeblood and finally got his moment in the spotlight at the conclusion of the final song “Hot Knifer.” Bathed in red, his jeans and flannel lending him a country-inspired look, Pascuzzi puffed into a harmonica. Its evocative trill acted as an otherworldly voice divulging what could not be put into words before the lights dipped slowly into darkness signaling the finale of the show’s main act.
“Tommy’s Party please!” the audience chanted, blue lights blazing with the promise of an encore. “Please play Tommy’s Party!” The 2017 hit, which has garnered 13 million streams on Spotify, is a fan favorite. When the band returned to the stage, Smith was casually strumming the song’s opening chord in the night’s final moments, and the crowd’s delight was deafening.
As Smith crooned “Hey there bud, how’d it go last night?” backlit by purples and pinks with Vanderkooy and Wilton dutifully swaying beside him, The Fillmore was flooded with a sharp nostalgia. In that moment, interspersed with idiosyncratic guitar riffs and typefied indie headbanging, the nostalgia felt all-encompassing, pristine and custom built for the concert’s final, shimmering moments.