“It's been a while,” said The Envy Corps frontman Luke Pettipoole as he absorbed the Maintenance Shop audience Friday night.
The Envy Corps returned to Ames, where they formed in 2001, welcomed by a sold-out M-Shop. The band showcased their expansive sounds and musical strengths, delivering a hometown performance to be remembered.
Opening the show with “Weather Baby,” their newly released single and among the first new music from the band since 2011 album “It Culls You,” the song was a warm introduction. A chilled-out beat with a hearty bass line felt throughout, “Weather Baby” was a relaxing, euphoric opener to The Envy Corps’ set.
However, the opener wasn’t exactly a vibe setter for the night. Dipping into the rest of their catalog, The Envy Corps displayed their impressive versatility.
While the band experiments with effects and ambitiously takes on inspirations from every corner of the rock music landscape, such as the progressive “Ms. Hospital Corners,” they also don’t stray away from triumphant power cord rock ballads, or an acoustic singer/songwriter passage such as “Rooftop.”
“Cmd + Q” incorporated dark psychedelic synths, punchy guitar chords and a fiercely-picked bass line to guide the sonic directions the song explores. Lead singer Pettipoole took his normally relaxing voice to aggressive grunge heights.
The crowd favorite, “Rhinesmaidens,” was a straightforward but infectiously catchy indie rock track.
“We haven’t played a show in a while, but we missed you as well,” Pettipoole said after the “Rhinesmaidens.” The audience’s energy made the band feel humble that listeners still enjoy their music over the years.
Pettipoole’s voice was a highlight as the most interesting instrument in the band’s arsenal, as it found a pocket and evolved in all ranges of The Envy Corps' sound palette. A driving force for the band’s toolkit is the creative bass lines, which are a highlight in almost every song.
Watching The Envy Corps perform the rest of the set was powerful and felt like an important moment for the band. Between beautiful chemistry and emotional musical climaxes in front of an extremely receptive hometown crowd, the set was impactful from a technical standpoint and also achieved the feeling of a live music spectacle.
“When we get together and play, we’re just friends having fun,” said Pettipoole.