Live: Hooray For Earth Throw A Wednesday-Night Dance Party At Pianos
Better Than: Most Wednesday-night DJ residencies.
Last night, Hooray For Earth kicked off their month-long residency at Pianos, the first of four such November shows, all curated by the band. "We asked 16 bands to do it, and 13 said yes," said frontman Noel Heroux. "I don't personally know them all, but they're all musicians we feel affiliated with." Why? "We just want to have fun."
Brooklyn-based quintet ArpLine started the night off. For the most part, the band plays synth-blurring, '80s-inspired electro-rock backed by pulsating drum loops, a sort-of pop aesthetic supported by singer Sam Tyndall's angsty vocals, which walk that precarious line between a teenager with an attitude problem and complete nonchalance. Self-assured with a hint of cheekiness, he's got the charm to pull it off, making the audience chuckle while the keyboardist and guitarist jumped offstage to switch instruments between songs. While the band's down-tempo tracks -- including a cover of Sade's "No Ordinary Love" -- are what drew us into a swoon-y daze, the hyped-up drum-pad frenzies of "Fold It Up Like a Piece of Paper" were what ultimately won the audience over, creating a momentary dance-huddle by the door.
By the time Hooray For Earth took the stage, Pianos' sound system was acting up somewhat -- weirdly, though, the spacey microphone blips and occasional unsolicited drones only complemented the band's laid-back stage presence. We'd like to credit Heroux's smooth, beachy vocals alone for rising above to conquer the crackling, blown-out speakers, but the night's success was a group effort: Drummer Joseph Ciampini pounded away with driving, vaguely tropical-sounding beats and stop-kick patterns (plus his goofy grin and floppy hair evokes '90s teenage rom-coms), and the synths and guitars shared the load as well, with an occasional elaborate metal-inspired solo by the latter. It doesn't make sense, but it does work.
An echo-filled, clap-tastic run of "Comfortable, Comparable" featured the also-billed Zambri sisters (Cristi Jo and Jessica), who stuck around to provide deep, booming backup vocals on a handful of other songs, standing alongside a friend with a tambourine who jumped onstage for the cutesy (and appropriate) "Surrounded by Your Friends." But it was the longing ballad "True Loves" that really pulled at our heart strings. I'm a sucker for love songs, but lyrics aside, what drew the audience in here was the simple off-beat synth that inadvertently directed the song into an awesomely reggae-infused, dance-friendly beach party. Helps that those Zambri chicks are total babes, too.
Critical Bias: I kind of wish I was still in high school.
Overheard: "I'm not writing about this because they wouldn't put me on their guestlist."
Random Notebook Dump: That guy from ArpLine looks like John Lithgow. Wait a minute...
Hooray for Earth Set List:
Surrounded By Your Friends