Saturday, February 19, 2011

Show Review - Hellogoodbye w/ Now, Now - 1/12/11 - Concert Review - Pittsburgh

Where else can you find music connoisseurs, first-time show attendees, and talented musicians under the same roof other than at a Hellogoodbye show. This past Saturday the 12th at Mr. Small's was no exception. In addition to Hellogoodbye, Now, Now, You, Me, and Everyone We Know, and Gold Motel made this show the best yet this year.

Now, Now knocked me off my feet. Signed to one of my favorite labels, No Sleep Records (La Dispute, Koji, Tigers Jaw), I was surprised I had never listened to the trio before. Casie and Jess both had guitars and sweet voices that bounced back and forth with harmonies and melodies, while Brad delivered spot on drums.They said they were from Minnesota, but I can hardly believe that as they had such a diverse sound. With almost whispered lyrics, beautiful harmonies, and dance beats they sounded like Cocorosie + Eisley + Donora, three bands that I adore. With such a newbie-dominated crowd, there was little noise, or movement sadly, during their set. It was refreshing, however frustrating to look around and feel like a dork for dancing at a concert. They have a full length, "Cars" and an EP, "Neighbors" that I have acquired since the concert and can testify both releases are fantastic.The members were so sweet, and made jokes amongst themselves and with the polite audience. Just as with almost any other show I've been to, this opening seemed like a perfect way to start the night.

The easiest way to set yourself up for failure as a band playing a show, is to take more time setting up than the headliner will. You, Me, And Everyone We Know has a ridiculous amount of members, but they just were not there when it came to set up, which made the process so much longer. Had there been people in the crowd who had attended more than two shows in their entire lifetime, there probably would have been an uproar. I seemed to be the only person who took notice, however. There was an abundance of instruments and microphones on the stage, which made me nervous, I wondered how the band would fit all that sound together into something ears could appreciate. I was looking forward to their set, especially to hear songs from my favorite of their releases, "Party For The Grown and Sexy," which set me up for disappointment. When they finally began I immediately wished they would all turn down their instruments just a touch, so I could hear Ben's vocals, one of the strongest attributes of the band in my opinion. By the second song, I had gotten used to the excessive sound and was kind of enjoying myself; the band certainly was, they all were so animated and bounced around the stage. It looked like a party, and felt like one, too. But like most parties, it got old. I kept holding on to hear just one song from "Party For The Grown and Sexy" but it never came. I was relieved when the band left the stage.

Mister Rodger's had a prime-time disco variety show, the soundtrack would sound like Gold Motel. The band seems to visit a time machine regularly and gets inspiration from the best music of each time era. Greta Morgan, of The Hush Sound, fronts this fantastic band from Chicago. They mean serious business when it comes to musicality. Everything was spot on, from the guitar riffs, to keyboard, to drums, to bass. I was mesmerized and could not stop from dancing. The band has only been together since 2009, and only have ten songs released, but have quite the fan base. Gold Motel's set distracted me from the excitement of Hellogoodbye, but after they had left the stage I could hardly wait.

Unlike almost any other show I have been to, there was no crowd-condensing before Hellogoodbye took the stage. None of the sheep pushed their way to the barrier, instead they patiently waited until the boys took the stage before they cheered. By far, the band's newest album "Would It Kill You?" is my favorite of all their releases, therefore I was ecstatic when the first couple of songs were from that release. In fact, there were very few old songs performed: "Shimmy Shimmy Quarter Turn," "Dear Jamie," and "Here (In Your Arms)." The boys in Hellogoodbye, despite their...bubble gum appearance, are actually very quick-witted and, for lack of a better term, snarky. The members asked a few people in the crowd their names and the band came up with ridiculous ways to remember them. The set flew by too quickly, as all great sets do. I left Mr. Small's with a rekindled love for shows with fantastic line-ups, just in time for spring tours. Special thanks to my dear friend John Ohi for take wonderful pictures on Saturday.

-Laura Lee Burkhardt

-Credit to John F Tohi for photos. Find more here