Visqueen, Say Hi, and Mt. St. Helen’s Vietnam Band at Neumo’s

Visqueen photo by josh [flickr]; more pics in the photoset [#].

I was a little surprised to see that Visqueen was opening Friday night’s extravaganza, I suppose because I always expect them to be headlining the universe. But they kicked off the night nicely, with an adorable new bass player, a promise of a new album coming out soon, jokes about MSHVB selling soap, and an always-too-short set. The all-ages crowd, full of neon teens and primed for a dance party, shouted happily in answer to Rachel Flotard’s announcement that they would be giving out hugs for free (with purchase) after the set in lieu of CDs.

Say Hi, photo by josh [flickr]; more pics in the photoset [#].

Say Hi has a new album out, which they played straight through. This is a move that is only really excusable in the wake of an album release because while Say Hi always plays great songs, album tracklists don’t always make for a well-mixed set list. Still, the new album sounds great, and Eric Ellbogen has a great talent for staying true to a style while at the same time writing songs that are different from each other and almost always interesting. They blew through the album with sixteen minutes to spare, which left them with time to throw in some old songs too, and by the end of the set a dance party pit had fully formed in the middle of the floor.

Toward the end of Say Hi’s set the ice cream started to come out , which was by all reports very coconutty [josh adds: chewily delicious! and hand delivered from Molly Moon’s by Molly herself.], and which quickly made the room smell like a beach. Which was actually a great strategy, getting the crowd all sugared up before MSHVB took the stage.

Mt. St. Helens Vietnam Band, photo by josh [flickr]; more pics in the photoset [#].

Mt. St. Helen’s Vietnam Band amazes me more and more each time I see them, because they really shouldn’t have been able to live up to their own adorable hype bubble from last summer. But live they’re all angles and harmonies and crazy layered circus pop songs and matching vests and tambourine sticks, and it is mesmerizing, I think partly because they’re so sincere about it all. The neon teens made a valiant effort at dancing, which is always difficult because MSHVB changes tempo and style lightning fast mid-song, which often leaves the enterprising dancer bobbing merrily to something that’s not even happening any more.

Mt. St. Helens Vietnam Band, photo by josh [flickr]; more pics in the photoset [#].

Both times that I have seen MSHVB they have played a song that sounded like it should have been the climax, should have sent the show out on a high note, only to play one more song that sort of kills the momentum of the sound that had come crashing down on the audience only a moment before. But they made up for it with an encore that took full advantage of having two drum sets (you know how I feel about extra percussion) and brought the whole thing to a crashing end that damaged the ears of a taller companion for at least a full day.

1 Comment so far

  1. Sound Space - free music space » Blog Archive » Indie Rock: Say Hi (pingback) on March 9th, 2009 @ 10:21 pm

    […] release because while Say Hi always plays great songs, album tracklists don’t always make for a go to postNew Music from Say Hi, Jeniferever, The Laughing, The LovetonesNew Music from Say Hi, Jeniferever, […]

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