Shorthand for Hungry Pines
posted by September 8 at 13:05 PMon
While heading to the Shorthand for Epic EP release party at the Comet last night, I was curious as to what openers, Ukulele Pop, were going to do. Would their name ring true? Would they stand in front of the crowd with a chorus of baby guitars, maybe even play a version of “Tonight You Belong to Me”? I really hoped so! I love ukulele’s and they are never used enough!
But nope. They didn’t even show up.
The Hungry Pines were there, though.
They were really great. They’re a fairly new trio—two guitars, one drum set—featuring Lucas Carlyle and Irene Barber and Chrysti Harrison of the Conversation Heart. Irene’s voice is gorgeous. As smooth and pretty as Chrissie Hynde, but with a little bit of a bite. I expected them to sound more abrasive or dirty than they did (as that seems to be the case with many bands boasting only two guitars and drums), but they were surprisingly mellow, with a darker and sexy PJ Harvey vibe at times. Hear them here, or better yet, see ‘em in October when they play the Nectar Lounge in Fremont on the 19th.
The show’s EP-releasing stars, Shorthand for Epic, lived up to all the pre-show hype. (Although the band wasn’t donning the pastel sweaters from their promo photo, singer Billy Bullock did flaunt a pretty rad neckerchief.) I’ve only ever heard the three songs on the CD, but seeing them live proved they’re more than the upbeat keyboard rock I knew them for. Instead, their songs were a clusterfuck of cool. The band clearly draws inspiration from everything—Elton John, Elvis Costello, the Clash, the Arcade Fire—and they wrap up their sometimes venomous messages in a hook-filled and totally danceable package. You’re smiling, they’re singing about drinking themselves into a coma, and everyone’s happy. Their next show is next Saturday at Cafe Venus/Mars Bar, should you be intrigued.
Unfortunately I didn’t stick around for Via, even though I’d heard good things. The haunting thought of a 9 am meeting convinced me that going home earlier rather than later was the best idea. Were you there? What’d I miss?