The Pines and Andy Fleming concert review

Parker Reed

The Pines and Andy Fleming kept a mellow vibe all night on Jan. 16 at the Maintenance Shop.

The show began with Andy Fleming, of Des Moines’ “Brother Trucker” fame, taking the stage solo with acoustic guitar in hand.

Fleming’s set was short and had a handful of memorable tracks, but was an average performance. “Walking To Work” had a lovely chord progression and a memorable melody, and “Friday Night Fight” had some frantic guitar work.

Guitar work aside, there were also a few tracks that were forgotten as soon as they ended. Overall, Fleming’s personality and storytelling salvaged an otherwise mostly average performance.

The Pines took the stage after a brief 10 minute intermission. The band’s setup consisted of two guitars, electric and acoustic and a keyboard.

The set, as previously mentioned, was very mellow and atmospheric.

However, the mellow setting sometimes led to long stretches when many songs would bleed into each other. This was not because of clever transitions between songs, but because many songs sounded similar to each other.

The set began with a mix of older and newer songs. “Meadows of Dawn” from 2009’s “Tremolo” and “Cry Cry Crow” from 2012’s “Dark So Gold” were early in the set, the latter of which was one of the best of the night.

Partway through the set, one will realize why most songs sound similar. Most of them started with either droning keys or lightly strummed chords, then the hesitant vocals will chime in, a short semi-guitar solo will begin and then the song will end before getting far.

Overall, the reason most songs fell short was because very few of them reached a true climax. Right as a song was heading somewhere interesting, the ending was near.

The standout tracks were clear whenever new sounds were thrown into the mix. “All The While” featured some sampled whistles, while “Rise Up And Be Lonely” saw some slightly more sinister guitar work.

What truly held the show back was the lack of crowd interaction. Silence occurred often as the band sat on stage in between songs, often just tuning guitars or chatting among each other. Some people in the crowd seemed uncomfortable.

The crowd wasn’t ignored for the entire performance though. Both singers thanked them for coming out a handful of times and even asked how the new year had been going, asking, “The ball dropped, right?”

While a few standout moments ultimately salvaged the entire show, the M-Shop’s spring schedule definitely got off to a slow start with The Pines and Andy Fleming.