If someone tells you they went to a sold-out show at Emo’s, you can usually guess what the crowd was wearing: tight jeans, Toms shoes and t-shirts that look way cheaper than they actually are.
But the sold out Hot Hot Heat show at Emo’s last Friday was a little atypical. Sure, there was a fair amount of ratty-haired hipsters. But there were also fratty guys, middle-aged men and women, and high school girls whose hands were covered in ink from the massive stamps that Emo’s doles out to the underage. In a way, it was kind of refreshing to see the indoor venue filled with such an eclectic crowd.
But whether or not the diverse concert-goers were looking for more than the spastic synth-pop of Hot Hot Heat, they got some quality music from openers Hey Rosetta! The Newfoundland-based power-pop ensemble gave what may have been the most musically compelling performance of the night with their full, orchestral sounds. A cello player and violinist added a depth and texture to the folk-rock outfit that you wouldn’t normally expect from an opener. From the steady build of “New Goodbye” to the determined thump of “Red Heart,” it was clear that Hey Rosetta! had their stuff together.
|22-20s at Emo’s|
The second band, Brit-rockers the 22-20s, weren’t quite as on their game. They had an unfortunate start when the bassist’s amp suddenly cut out, leaving the rest of the band to riff over the same blues-rock progression for a good three to five minutes. To make matters worse, when the bassist couldn’t revive his amp, the lead singer stormed off the stage and out the door to smoke a cigarette while the sound techs tried to fix the problem. It was a moody display, and one that didn’t frame the rest of the band’s fairly derivative classic rock set in a very favorable light after the amp was revived.
But Hot Hot Heat gave a strong closing to the night. The band got the crowd moving and grooving with familiar tunes like “No Not Now” from their breakthrough album “Make Up the Breakdown,” as well as brand new songs like [email protected],” which featured the adrenaline-pumping ring of a siren-like synth line. These sounds, coupled with the spastic strobe lights that backed the band, made for an energizing, eccentric set. Given all the flashy music and showmanship from the band, it only seemed appropriate when singer Steve Bays took off his spike-studded leather jacket to reveal a Queen shirt.
The crowd was more varied than usual at Emo’s, but ultimately Hot Hot Heat brought what everyone was looking for—a dance party.