This past Saturday, the indie-rock outfit Pinegrove played to a sold-out crowd in Asheville, North Carolina. This was their first time playing in the area, with fans coming from far and wide to see the show. Chatting with other concertgoers, I met a group who came all the way from Arkansas just to see Pinegrove. That’s the kind of dedicated fanbase that Pinegrove has garnered throughout their career. But the band’s future wasn’t always so clear. In 2017, frontman Evan Stephen Hall was accused of sexual coercion by a crew member touring with the band. They took a hiatus after 2018’s Skylight, returning in 2020 with Marigold and again in late January of this year with their fifth studio album, 11:11. And on this new album, the focus is centered around making amends.
11:11 Dominates the Setlist
Pinegrove indulged us with a whopping 21 song setlist. The band kicked the show off with “Alaska,” the second single from their latest album. Evan Stephens Hall stopped between songs to interact with the audience, condemning the war going on between Ukraine and Russia. He also took a moment to talk about the negative effects of climate change introducing one of the more popular tracks from 11:11, “Orange.” The stage was adorned with all kinds of plants and greenery, bringing them back to their Montclair roots and making the mood of the night feel more intimate.
I became a huge Pinegrove fan in 2016 with the release of the band’s second studio album, Cardinal. Believe me when I say I’d patiently waited SIX YEARS to see them play live. At the band’s show, the setlist drew most heavily from the new album. And don’t get me wrong, it’s a great album. But I couldn’t help leaving a bit disappointed I didn’t get to hear fan-favorite tracks like “Aphasia,” “Old Friends” or “Dotted Line.” Based on the crowd’s response, I don’t think I was alone in feeling this way. The crowd actively enjoyed the entire set, but when Pinegrove played “Size of the Moon” and “New Friends,” two tracks from Cardinal, the crowd lost their minds. Despite my discrepancies with the setlist of the night, for what it’s worth, Pinegrove put on an amazing show. Seeing them live made it all the more obvious that their poetic, cathartic lyrics truly move their audience.
The Orange Peel: An Indie Lover’s Dream
One of my only regrets is not attending more shows at The Orange Peel this past February. In addition to Pinegrove’s show this past weekend, rising queer-pop band MUNA took the stage earlier in the month. Mitski also made a stop at The Orange Peel with CHAI in support of her incredible new album, Laurel Hell. And last Thursday they hosted Lucy Dacus with Asheville native Indigo De Souza, along with Parquet Courts that Sunday. I mean, c’mon. That’s a lineup indie lovers dream about. If you’re itching to go see live music, check out our Onstage section for updated tour info from all your favorite artists.