It's a HOchieS first - an opening act at a small venue in our now not-so-short concert history gets its own blog post.
Despite constant bitchin' that support bands are unnecessary for small venue concerts, I actually enjoy seeing them because I like to see what's under my radar that I should be all up ons.
Concert after concert of horrendous acts (other than the Cloud Room who were decent) had my faith wavering. How could it not after the monstrosity that was Mr. Lif & BYOP? Those two alone should have deterred me from going to any concert, period.
Finally, a band came along and dispelled the HOchie curse of long hours of standing around amongst assholes just to get a good spot in front.
The void was filled by them partially (there were two support bands and the second one was mostly ass so I still had to stand for a while in agony) with music that was not only good but in my opinion, their performance was even better than the headliner.
They were not without their fair share of 'WTF" moments, but overall, the band Illinois was phenomenal.
It's rare for me to enjoy a show to near max without knowing lyrics to songs but that was not the case here. I knew not much about them (but had previewed a little before I went and was slightly interested) and certainly not enough to know lyrics or what they even looked like.
The show was very well put together, played, fun, unexpected, danceable, rock-worthy enough for a headbanging session, crowd interaction was there and good crowd feedback kept it fresh.
That's a true testament. If your band can keep it fantastic even if the crowd doesn't know the material but you make them walk away talking about the greatness that is you, then that's saying a lot.
We actually were greeted by them when we entered the hall. There were a bunch of guys on the stage, setting up their own equipment in true "opening band" form.
They set up. Then they left.
Okay. So what now?
We waited around some more, and listened to some really bad music filler set.
Then, in came the boys from Pennsylvania. Yes. Not Illinois but Pennsylvania. They're slightly clever like that...I guess.
The first thing we noticed was one of the members was using a signed guitar. We don't know who signed it (maybe the Fratellis?) but then I realized my attention should have actually been focused on the lead singer.
The man had a banjo.
The banjo playing filtered in nicely with their set. It wasn't very distinguishable at first and he soon traded off for a guitar and later on a keyboard.
And then in came that banjo again.
...Banjos are no longer Deliverance creepy.
Okay, who am I kidding. Deliverance has ruined banjos for everyone. But still...I am willing to shove that memory to the back of my head and replace it by the excellent use of a banjo as brought to me by Illinois.
WTF Moments of the Night:
1. The "dancing" put on by the lead. It just should not have been done but ah, it's really funny seeing white boys trying to dance sometimes. I thoroughly enjoyed it even though I was cringing. It was an Elaine moment or something.
(This is not true of Alex Turner though. He may not 'dance' out in full but his head bopping is very cute. No one should speak ill of our little genius boy.)
2. So they may not lyrical geniuses at all times but not a lot of people are (unless again, you're Alex Turner and you were born, not only a clown hooligan but a brilliant one at that!). Not everyone can be a genius but no worries, they had music and style to cover up that bullsheet.
3. I'm not quite sure where the guitarist put his cigarette during the show but it was like magic. One moment it was there, and the next it was not. He probably put it in his guitar strings but I didn't see it. The man was a magician!
4. The guys were drinking some lame ass beer that upset Beetchie (coors, was it?). But then they graduated to heiniken which redeemed them some in her eyes, I think.
5. WTF was that telephone? It was cool. It seemed to be some kind of voice-altering synthesizer dealie. I liked it plenty. I want one too. Do you think E-bay or Amazon would have one?
So, I'm now on a hunt for clips of their live performances because they translate well live but not as good on their EP. I can live with that though and I'm determined to see them again in concert. I hope next time it'll be for their own headlining show because these guys from Bucks County truly deserve it. I'm waiting for them to break out. I'd hate to see them fade into nothingness and/or not grow musically. They've got serious potential.
Don't disappoint me, guys!
And thanks for putting on a fantastic show and salvaging the night.
Here's to Chris Archibald, Martin Hoeger, Andrew Lee and JohnPaul Kuyper.
Currently listening to: "Nosebleed" by Illinois.