Salt Lake City, UT
October 7, 2010
Headliners Jukebox the Ghost were--appropriately--the highlight of the night, but both Hooray for Earth and AB & The Sea added to a thoroughly enjoyable fall evening in Salt Lake City.
San Fransisco's A B & The Sea opened to a tiny crowd, but made the most of it with a high-energy performance that ended up being a great introduction for most of the audience. The band's jangly retro-rock sound (think Dr. Dog with an extra helping of sun and sand) was easy to love, with plenty of bright melodies, smooth harmonies, hand-claps, and insanely catchy riffs putting smiles on the faces of all those in attendance. One song that stood out in particular (I looked up the title afterward) was "Yellow-Haired Girl," which is as catchy a pop-rock tune as I've heard in some time. It was an incredibly fun half-hour set that makes me feel confident in saying you'll be hearing much more about these guys in the coming months. MySpace
I had heard a little from Hooray for Earth, but I was not prepared for their awesomely strange, almost chaotic live act. Utilizing squealing guitars, spacey synth and thunderous drums, the band's songs ranged from dense, noisy rockers to otherworldly dance numbers all of which were both punishingly loud and unusually captivating. This bombastic take by the group on their comparably tamer studio material seemed to catch the crowd by surprise, but despite being the odd band out stylistically, Hooray for Earth was electrifying. The soaring finale was especially awesome, but their entire set was an impressive showcase of talent and creativity that was certainly enjoyed by those who didn't mind traveling well off the beaten path. MySpace
Download: Comfortable, Comparable (via Stereogum)
Though a fairly young band, Jukebox the Ghost were easily the veterans of the evening and it was evident immediately. Right from opener "Good Day," the trio had the crowd's undivided attention, executing each song to perfection while seeming to have a great time in the process. Dual singer/songwriters Ben Thornewill and Tommy Siegel both proved to be excellent showmen, as did drummer Jesse Kristin, whose intricate beats stole the spotlight at times. The crowd was still unfortunately thin, but that didn't stop Jukebox the Ghost from giving a performance fit for a sold-out show in this very modest setting.
Every tune was well received, inspiring awkward dance circles and plenty of clapping and singing along that seemed appropriate for the band's buoyant brand of pop. Highlights from the night included "Popular Thing," "The Stars" and the encore, "Empire," though I guess those are probably my favorites from the band anyway, so I should simply say each song was excellent and added to a hugely entertaining set. If there's any justice in this world, Jukebox the Ghost will play to a packed house next time around, these guys deserve it.