Another cute night of brightly clad, skinny jeans sporting, over-caffeinated and under-sexed teenagers at the Say Hi show at Vera last Friday. I really love Vera. It feels different than seeing a show at a nightclub because everyone there is paying rapt attention to each band… there’s nothing else to do.
Fences and The Pica Beats opened the show. Fences was interesting because the music is such a surprise next to the physical appearance of the band members. The Pica Beats played an upbeat, ambiguously ethnic extended jam. They could have opened for Dengue Fever.
The whole night the crowd was clearly waiting for the headliner. When the lights went down to signal the beginning of the end there was tangible excitement. The drummer set up a flashing bright red kit with which I was allured by the sparkle. Say Hi walked on, all smiles and jokes at first but then, promptly commenced to teach their instruments how to rock.
It took me a few minutes to get into the music because of the barrier that their band name creates. They used to be called “Say Hi To Your Mom” and I just don’t find joke names funny. I don’t want to get too hung up on their former name though and not give proper attention to their sound. These guys are tight. They wield intensity that comes from many years of playing together. They came to Vera to finish off a five-week tour and the pleasant exhaustion showed on their faces.
The music is candy coated indy rock. I listened and enjoyed; it goes down easy. After a little bit into the show I started to get the creeping impression that their music is subtly twisted. The singer looked over his microphone with sinister understanding and it struck me that what they are doing is more complicated than I first thought. Maybe it is part of their intention to package their content in an easily accessible way. They played a song called “Northwestern Girls” and the singer hit the word “air” over and over in a beautifully off way. The crowd loved them all night long. I tip my hat to that.