Fresh-faced youngsters play for fellow fresh-faced youngsters at NoHo’s Iron Horse
If last Saturday’s show was any indication, the future for the local indie rock scene is looking pretty bright. Fresh faced local rockers Who Shot Hollywood headlined a show at Pearl Street that featured other young and talented acts, Mountain Interval, Bad Vibes and Client Number 9. The crowd was pretty young themselves, with lots of shaggy haired, flat brim hat wearing middle-schoolers abound, relishing a night in which they could rock out free from parental supervision.
Mountain Interval was first to take the stage, and had to field a replacement drummer at the list minute as their regular drummer had fallen victim to the notorious swine flu. However, the six-member group didn’t miss a beat, as their opening number, “No Time,” opened with loud, rolling percussion and synth effects reminiscent of church bells. Lead singer Alexa Clark provided some impressive, powerful female vocals that were particularly resonant on songs such as “Upstrokes.” Their catchy, syncopated riffs and layered melodies may remind some of Minus the Bear or The Annuals.
In a somewhat bittersweet performance, Bad Vibes left everything on the stage after announcing that they were playing their last show for about six months. In what was perhaps the most impressive performance of the night, Bad Vibes pleased their youthful onlookers with great energy, heartfelt choruses and danceable riffs.
Bad Vibes front man Will Cole sounded a bit like Paul Banks of Interpol with his deep, sometimes raspy and angst-filled vocals. Highlighting their set were songs “Bars and Restaurants” and “These Days,” which evoked some passionate “whoas” from the audience. In an appreciative gesture towards their fans who quickly clamored to the the front of the stage, the band handed out about 50 free CDs.
Bad Vibes were followed up by instrumental rock act Client Number 9. The recent Amherst Regional “Battle of the Bands” winners provided a bit of a change of pace, giving the crowd some slower, more grandiose-sounding music. The three-piece act, consisting of a guitarist, a bassist and a drummer, produced an array of sound surprising for such a small ensemble, although they didn’t sacrifice musicality for volume.
Seizing on the opportunity to create intricate layers and dynamic builds and climaxes, Client Number 9 earned their comparisons to more established acts such as Explosions in the Sky. The highlight of their set was their impressive, instrumental adaptation of “Disorder,” a song originally produced by Joy Division.
They only played a three-song set, but after much pleading from the crowd and some coaxing from members of Who Shot Hollywood, the soundboard operator agreed to let them play one more song.
The most anticipated act of the evening, Who Shot Hollywood, took to the stage and jumped into their set ina frenetic fashion that sent their pubescent crowd into a tizzy. They opened with “Langston” off of their new EP “Cat Ears.”
The youngest ensemble of the show definitely showed their youth, as they danced around stage as if they could barely contain their excitement. They followed up with “Runescape,” a short minute and a half track in which front man Lucas Kendall showed off his simple yet catchy lyrics: “It’s too bad, you’re so sad,” wailed Kendall, “I can’t wait – to meet your dad.”
The band displayed a zanier side with the aptly-titled track, “Who Shot Hollywood.” “Scoutmaster! Astronomer! Scout’s Honor!” chanted the band before each chorus. With mostly distorted, yet sometimes dissonant guitar riffs, and keyboard arrangements that seemed effortlessly melodic, Who Shot Hollywood displayed a lot of skill and raw ability for a group so meager in years.
Although their energy was a bit over the top at times, their enthusiasm was infectious. They closed with the title track “Cat Ears,” perhaps the most well-crafted song from the new EP. Kendall sang lyrics tinged with the furor that only youth can supply, such as “You won’t ever get me, cause I’ll kill you if you try!” which really summed up the band’s punk rock attitude.
Before being called back for an encore, Kendall displayed how adept he was at being a salesman. He reminded the crowd that they didn’t have to buy their album, but that they could just download it for free off the band’s website. During the encore, keyboardist Eamon Wick and guitarist Lucas Graham ditched their instruments to stage dive, while brothers Lucas and Dana Kendall treated the crowd to one more song, capping off a show that no doubt left a lasting impression on spectators young and old alike.
Dave Mansfield can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.