A few weeks ago I was making plans for a free Friday and selected Hoots & Hellmouth at the Beachland on the strength of a blurb that praised their inventive songwriting. The two opening acts were kind of country-tinged, but I've been exposed to "alt-country" before and I expected the main act to be more "alt". Nothing in the show's description gave any suggestion that this was going to be Country Night. But Hoots & Hellmouth were unmistakeably a country band. The thing is, they were tight. I don't see too many bands--rock, country, jazz, whatever--that can stop on a dime like these guys did. I was impressed. And I had a good time.
I was wearing plaid unironically (I'd been doing yard work), but for once, I was the only one there thus attired. I thought it might be a joke when I walked in and heard the third act's sound check: the vocalist's mic check was "RRUAAARRRAGGGH MMNORRRSCHH FFLAAAUUUUUGGH...." But no, he really uh sang like that. Nonplussed, I hung around for the main act. But about one beer in, I realized that behind the vocalist, the music was highly organized, syncopated, mathematically precise rock. It was, in a nutshell, prog with screaming. The fourth act (see video below) was actually very good. They were real showmen. And for the whole night, the musicians comported themselves with a bizarre mixture of joking around and taking the proceedings way too seriously. Seems like metal fans and musicians are a close knit community.
Bonus: local venue Now That's Class wins the award for booking bands with the most amusing names.
- Puffy Areolas