Thursday, June 7, 2012

Live Review: Here We Go Magic with Hospitality, Black Cat (5/14/12)

First things first: this show was absolute uncharted territory for me. I'm used to be surrounded by either teenage girls wearing puffy-painted shirts with the band members' faces on them, or straightedge tanktop wearing bros ready to punch me in the face for pretty much no reason. But the crowd for Here We Go Magic and Hospitality wasn't here for extracurricular activities and backstage passes, they were here simply for the music. And boy, did the bands deliver, albeit in two totally different fashions.

Hospitality just released their first widely available release via Merge Records, and the large majority of the cuts came from that self-titled release. Vocalist Amber Papini's voice was sweet, yet raspy, just as it was on record, and she showed off her ability to get into the higher octaves on tracks such as "Betty Wang." But guitarist Nathan Michel and bassist Brian Betancourt stole the show, especially on "Friends of Friends." Michel showed the ability to move throughout the guitar, effortlessly moving from riff to riff, while Betancourt kept a powerful groove flowing throughout the song and the rest of the show. The self-titled album's bouncy closer "All Day Today" was also a highlight, though the lack of saxophone was a tad disappointing, the band performed it to the best of their ability. Hospitality put out a fantastic debut LP, and their performance assured them as far more than a studio band, and definitely one to keep an eye out for in the future.

Here We Go Magic wasn't focused on keeping a tight and focused sound, instead focusing on psychedelic jams during segments of songs. Songwriter and vocalist Luke Temple used his flowing voice extremely well for the performance, allowing it to soar over the instruments in songs like "Hard To Be Close," and letting it settle into the instrumentation in songs like the last few minutes in "How Do I Know." Both those aforementioned songs were from the band's latest album A Different Ship, which was released exactly one week before the performance, so it made sense that Temple in the band focused off the new record. Seven of the nine (not including the intro) songs from the new album were played, but the band made sure to play older cuts, such as upbeat fan favorites "Collector" and "Fangela." But the band did best when they were simply jamming out, such as in the ethereal "Over The Ocean," where the keyboards and ambient guitars grasped the entire room, before ending with an ambient instrumental section. It may not have been the most accessible of performances, as there were very few crowd singalongs, and the band actually seemed fairly disinterested in fan interaction. They were there to blow away the minds of the relatively sophisticated crowd, and based on the awe in the crowd's eyes as Here We Go Magic walked off, they did it pretty damn well.

Here We Go Magic Facebook
Hospitality Facebook

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