Attention those within immediate radius of Neumos, Wednesday June 13th: That wasn't an earthquake shaking the ground. It was just a sold out show of jumping and dancing people. Who pumped the audience up to near collapse of the venue? Architecture in Helsinki, whose nonstop, infectious energy won a new fan with me. In fact, there's a handful of reasons I became hooked on this Australian band:
1] You can't really classify them in a genre. Were they disco based? Is there a heavy funk influence? Oh wait, that song really sounds like 80s synth throwback. To hell with genres, what A in H has is deep groove basslines, duel keyboard/synth, and an arsenal of songs you can't avoid dancing to. They're definitely a different option to choose if you're looking for good party music but have exhausted the cliche dance mix.
2] They did it all while swapping instruments. Fewer things win my respect more during live shows than if the band members show off their multi-instrumental talents. Guitar, synth, percussion, vocals, drums, all with the exception of bass, were rotated between the six musicians as if they were playing musical chairs.
3] They were obviously having a fantastic time themselves. Actually, I couldn't tell who was having a better time, the band or the raveneous crowd. I guess front woman Kellie Sutherland was jealous of the crowd, with her remark, "You look like you're having so much fun out there, I wish I was down there instead of up here!" They did, in fact, bring a taste of the floor to the stage: First with a fan from the front who wiggled out some moves reminscent of interpretive dance, and then a young couple who answered their request for waltzers, only to start grinding once up on the stage. Even when there was a slight technical difficulty, A in H were still charismatic, cracking jokes and leaving no dead air. All in all there was positive energy all throughout the venue, which brings me to my next reason:
4] They put a much needed smile on my face. After one hell of a week, being treated to such an entertaining performance with as grateful a band as A in H, I couldn't fight the huge grin that had formed. I say grateful because they repeatedly gushed how much they love Seattle and felt honored to be here. Genuine crowd pleasers, they played an old song requested by a fan, even after inititally saying no because, "They had grown up; it would be like looking at a picture of your 10-year old self while 15." They pulled out all the stops on their closer, which quite frankly was pretty epic.
Of course an encore ensued, with a theme of raising Jimi Hendrix's spirit. The lights were turned off, they played in pitch black; then slowly the red was brought on and they played another rising crescendo. They weren't successful in the spirit raising, but I couldn't help leaving feeling more hopeful about the world-and for that, I say thank you Architecture in Helsinki for kicking ass and putting on such a huge dance party. I can't wait until they come again this fall for their album tour.