For much of this year Poe the Passenger has been teasing the release of its second EP, “Authenticate”; like a lot of young bands, they make a social media event of each show announcement and recording. After posting singles and videos online they finally sent the EP into the world in September, and those five songs will likely form the core of their set when they return to Old Towne Pub Saturday night with brothers in musical arms the Relevant Elephants.
Formed three years ago, Poe the Passenger and friends have found a steady home base at the Pub. Chicago-raised frontman Jeff Pridgen, lead guitarist Stefano Capucci, bassist Matt Rosenblum, and drummer Trant Marderosian dressed up as a motley crew of pirates, captains and what looked like a reptilian space alien when they played there on Halloween, leading ghoulishly made-up patrons who were responsive to their calls for clapping and singing along. Their ballad “All in Line” prompted a joking invitation to hold lighters aloft in classic rock concert fashion, belying the song’s earnest delivery and intent.
Pridgen, who is also an actor, has spoken in the past about the band’s namesake as an imaginary character whose adventures and life questions they strive to chronicle in their songs. Relatability is key in terms of their subject matter. “Miles Apart,” which they recently promoted with a video performance on a pine needle carpet in Angeles National Forest, questions the viability of dreams and romance in the real, pressurized world of emotional and physical distance: “Can we have our dreams with oceans in between/ You remain in my heart/ … Is it ever enough?” Its acoustic textures and harmonies give way to the thrumming drums and urgency of “The Difference,” an angry rocker more focused on social and political tumult:
“They tell me we’re different …
A Gemini divides your face it’s taken over
Will we ever bleed the same as one another
If history repeats when will we be closer …
We learn to live but we all die off
Show me the difference.”
Foo Fighters and Green Day are obvious influences throughout “Authenticate,” whose title comes across as a mission statement of the need to be genuine in life. Its production is slicker than the EP they put out last year, “Temperature,” and not surprisingly it is more polished than the band’s live shows. But their energy is engaging, as is their open-hearted message.
Poe the Passenger returns to Old Towne Pub, 66 N. Fair Oaks Ave., Pasadena, 8 p.m.-1 a.m. Saturday, Dec. 1; call for full lineup and other details. Info: (626) 577-6583. poethepassenger.com, theoldtownepub.com