One of my favorite local bands over the past few years has been Parade. The band appears to be on hiatus, in that they haven't played out in forever, they are giving their latest (final?) album away as a free download on MySpace , and, perhaps most tellingly, lead vocalist Carrie Hodge has a new project. She is now in the awkwardly named What Happened To Your Fire, Tiger?
What happened to Parade, Carrie?
Let me digress here slightly to rant. Why are band names getting longer and longer? I blame … And You Shall Know Us By the Trail of Dead for this whole irritating trend of band names which are really sentences. Remember when a band name was a cool word, or maybe a phrase? When a band name was like a name and not like a bit of dialog? The ever lengthening band name trend annoys me, so in an act of protest, i will only refer to the band by its initials from here on out: WHTYFT.
Okay, so, WHTYFT is actually a sort of Atlanta supergroup. Carrie Hodge plays bass and sings. Brian Slusher (of the defunct and sadly missed Slushco) plays guitar. Hillary, no last name given, who used to/also plays in No Dissamble is on keys and vocals; and Brian, no last name given, from Pistolero is on drums. So WHTYFT is a supergroup made out of lead singers. Interesting. They have two songs available on their MySpace page, and both are really lovely, slow pop tunes. I was very curious to see this band live.
Brian, Carrie, and Hillary, all trying desperately to NOT look at the camera.
And they manage to pull it off. Carrie and Hillary harmonize really well. That is not surprising, i guess, seeing as they both are wonderful singers, but i was really surprised to hear how utterly beautiful it was live. Ms. Hodge has a deep, full voice – she projects and has a great range. Hillary is quieter and higher in pitch. Together, the two different female vocal tones blend together remarkably well. In general though, live they rock harder than the MySpace samples led me to believe. I guess that is typical of bands. In the studio the songs are more thoughtful, but when you get them is front of a crowd and give them a few beers, they become more active.
What happened to your pants, Hillary?
The first half or so of their set was vaguely priggish. The songs moved in seemingly complex structures, with one vocalist starting out, another joining in, then one dropping out. These songs morphed and changed in interesting ways, always keeping the listener on his toes. Then, in the middle of the set, they played a "hit" – one of their MySpace tunes. I am not sure which one, but it was lovely. And after that they played a few more songs that were similar in structure to the MySpace song, meaning these were more verse-chorus-verse types of song. Not bad or worse, just different than the first half of their set.
The mysterous Hillary in action.
It was about a 30 minute set, and i was very pleased with it. WHTYFT are doing some interesting and very enjoyable things. I will look for more from this band.
After they geared out, Knoxvillian disco-pop act Royal Bangs set up. This is a five-piece band who EvilSponge had seen once before, about a year ago, when they opened for Oh No! Oh My! I enjoyed their set that night, so i stayed around to see what they did tonight.
Royal Bangs. Notice that the Korg is in focus.
Yes, the band members jumped around that much for their whole set.
They played a 40 minute set of swirling, gyrating dance rock tunes. At times they reminded me of Parts and Labor, Octopus Project, Duran Duran (specifically, there was one tune that reminded me of Notorious), and Queen (in the soaring lead guitar parts). The band jumped around on stage, i bounced happily in my place, and a great time was had.
Royal Bangs in different lighting.
Seriously – Royal Bangs put on a great show, and i would definitely go see them again if they come back through town. But after that, Pistolero were scheduled to perform, and since i am not a fan of 1970s country rock, i thought it prudent to just call it a night right there. So i headed home, thoroughly enjoying the two acts i had seen.
Royal Bangs, once again blue.