Thursday, July 17th, 2003
All Your Summer Songs
I was pretty eager to hear Hawaii as they’d gotten some favorable comparisons to bands I like, and I was reasonably impressed. The male singer/guitarist was a one-man riff machine, churning out non-stop wacky guitar licks – mostly tasteful but not all. The female singer/guitarist was boredom personified. When she took her turn at vocals, she stood absolutely immobile, save for the occasional strum at the guitar. Her voice was remarkable, with a real Hope Sandoval quality, but points off for negative stage presence. They were definitely at their strongest playing the melodic, dream-pop numbers, but unfortunately there were also a couple of heavier riff-rockers that just didn’t fit or play to their strengths (the second guitarist didn’t seem to play a note for one of the songs – she just stood there, absolutely still, while the other guitarist went to town). Hawaii could do very well if they get the arena rock out of their systems and play to their strengths.
Clay and Mellonova served up some proficient song-centric space rock that reminded me more than a few times of material from OK Computer. I think the keyboardist was also a ringer, judging from the crib notes, but for a jury-rigged lineup they sounded impressively tight and cohesive. Apparently after Saturday night’s show, the Mellonova name will be retired in favour of something indicative of a new lineup/direction – tonight’s show was a worthy send-off.
After that, I biked up to Rancho Relaxo to meet up with 517 for Saturday Looks Good To Me, from Ann Arbour, Michigan as they were sure to inform us. Playing as a three-piece instead of the Spector-esque cast of thousands that appear on the records gave the material a markedly different presentation, but it was still a good set of pop music with strong Motown inflections and some crazy guitar work. Bloody loud, too. I used to carry earplugs around in my bag in case of emergency. I have to start doing that again.
np – The Wedding Present / Seamonsters