Friday, June 5, 2015

Bells and Hunters - Hank & Cupcakes - Uptown Boys Choir -- Rock'n'Roll Hotel - June 4 2015

Uptown Boys Choir - This is a strong little quintet featuring the songs of bassist/lead vocalist Kevin de Souza. I also see Black Checker's Tony Porreco on lead guitar with a female vocalist/acoustic guitarist, a guy on keyboards, and of course a drummer. The range of instruments helps with their powerful sound and all of the band seem to be a pretty sharp group of players. They have some Americana in their along with strong rock moves that they can pull back into a more acoustic quieter feeling when they choose. There is a lot of potential here and their better songs really cooked.
Hank & Cupcakes - Hailing from Brooklyn via Israel is this intriguing pop/rock duo featuring bass/synthesizer and backing vocals with a female lead singer on drums. The key is both the synthesizer in the backing and the bass sounds that work in unique ways. This is far from NoMeansno (yes, I'm old) or Lightning Bolt (yes, I keep up) and their funk or nu-metal moves. Instead, this duo has pop moves with a bit of blues in the vocals and an overall energy that pushes things into some fairly intense rock that stays catchy. The vocals come close to Penetration's Pauline Murray at times with that melodic clarity and power. The band is colorful (in dress and sound) and although I didn't quite see the point of watching them in 3D glasses, they had a great quirky humor and stage presence. This is the first date on a four month tour so they were fresh and energized. But I bet most every city on the tour will be treated to a very fun filled show.

Bells and Hunters - When I see a local band a few times in short succession, I appreciate a break from them as I will get some new songs and maybe some other features that will be fresh and welcome to my ears. I had plenty of that here as this fine local band has even become sharper and more on the mark than ever. I am not sure they ever quite had the power and confidence I saw last night, especially in some of the early songs, which were well executed with the drummer pushing things along and the lead guitarist cutting loose. Everyone else locked into the groove and it all worked as you hope it does when you go out for live rock and roll. And a new song had a sixties garage feeling worked into it which I quite liked and kept the set moving along well. I knew I would enjoy the bands tonight, but all three offered something unique and special and Bells and Hunter capped off a great night of music.

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