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Silversun Pickups with The New Regime at Fillmore Charlotte

Written by: Andy Frisk | Photos by: Cynthia Haithcock

“We were in Philly last night, and I was feeling terrible. I was like, oh no. I got the bug. But I woke up today feeling great, and I’m so glad! You know, every night the crowds are just awesome. You think maybe it’s just one good show. But each night is the same. And this might be the best crowd yet!”

The New Regime(10)

Exclaimed Ilan Rubin, frontman of The New Regime before launching into an extended bluesy guitar solo during an inspired performance of “Struggle in My Bones” off their new album Heart, Mind, Body & Soul.

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While he’s been fronting The New Regime for some time now, Rubin is probably better known for serving as touring drummer for NIN, Paramore, and Angels & Airwaves.

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His rock n’ roll guitar skills are equal to his skills as a drummer, if not superior.

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The straightforward rock show that Rubin and company put on was the perfect warm-up for what turned out to be a powerful, nuanced, and outright cosmically conscious expanding musical experience by The Silversun Pickups

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Okay, that might be a bit hyperbolic, but that was my experience of the Pickups’ performance.


I’ve always been a fan of the group, even through their less rock guitar-centric releases (Better Nature and Neck of The Woods), and they’ve never failed to move me.


Hearing Brian Aubert’s swirling guitar buzz live was nothing short of frisson inducing.


There is nothing about Aubert’s playing that is technically inspiring in an overt way. Aubert doesn’t shred. He doesn’t indulge in fretboard athletics. His playing is like a slightly less hard, but just as heavy, and slightly more expansive sounding version of Billy Corgan’s style. I hate to make the comparison, as comparisons between The Smashing Pumpkins and The Silversun Pickups were too numerous in the Pickups’ early days. It’s a valid assertion though.


I like to think of Aubert’s sound and style as a contribution to the stardust spattered conversation of sound that Corgan himself started when he evolved while paying homage to Brian May’s sound. Aubert has taken this genre of guitar sound to new dimensions and his unique sound was on sublime display live. 


Aubert’s performance served as a good contrast to Rubin’s, and while Aubert’s playing was personally more inspiring than Rubin’s, they were both flawless examples of their particular genres. Rubin and Aubert’s contrasting performances clearly demonstrated the raw power of creativity that the guitar, in the hands of two stylistic masters like these, can evoke. Rubin’s aforementioned blues solo was evocative of, and also a sublime representation of, a hundred years of evolving blues music. Aubert’s nary a blues note in sight solos and atmospherics were a representation of the evolution of the sound the instrument itself can make outside of while existing fully within the rock genre. Both were glorious to behold. 

The New Regime

Both bands brought their music to life in ways that surpassed their recorded versions of it. This was particularly true of The Silversun Pickups. Their aforementioned less guitar-centric albums, of which several songs of the night’s set were culled from, came alive in new ways in the live setting, “Circadian Rhythm (Last Dance)” being a particular standout.


The apocalyptic wail of the song’s bridge served as a powerful counterpoint to the lull inducing bass rhythm of the song. When the chorus exploded and the song began its musical ascent, which coupled itself to that ever inspiring cosmic expansiveness I alluded to earlier, it was hard to avoid the type of transcendent high that only the best music can inspire.


One of my least favorite Pickups’ songs became one of my most favorite with that performance. Aubert’s one heeled full-body revolution in perfect rhythm with the song and his droning playing during the performance of “Circadian Rhythm (Last Dance)” perfectly encapsulated the swirling ascension that the performance spiritually inspired in the audience…or at least in this particular audience member. 


Great music and great performances of that music can really create the type of escape from the mundane world that so many of us crave now and again. It’s even better when it happens when it’s not as expected, and in the company of so many.


Shame on me for not expecting to be elevated, heart, mind,  body, and soul, by both The Silversun Pickups and The New Regime that night at The Fillmore Charlotte. I should have seen it coming, but glad for the experience nonetheless…and that Ilan Rubin was well enough to go on and kick things off. 

Silversun Pickups Setlist The Fillmore, Charlotte, NC, USA 2020

See full gallery of the night here!

Catch this tour:

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Carolina's based writer/journalist Andy Frisk love music, and writing, and when he gets to intermingle the two he feels most alive. Covering concerts and albums by both local and national acts, Andy strives to make the world a better place and prove Gen X really can still save the world.

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