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Lukewarm Heat

By Sagar Jha, Staff Contributor

 

The West Coast of Canada has provided us with some catchy tunes and unique bands. This includes the wild disco-dance-rock style of Hot Hot Heat, who performed at The Paragon Theatre on Oct. 14. The group was supported by Hey Rosetta!, and Rich Aucoin.

Leading the show that night was Aucoin, and if you haven’t seen him live, you haven’t lived. He is one of the most engaging performers around, as his set always includes parachute games, glow sticks, tambourines, 3D glasses and copious amounts of confetti. His set had the entire crowd dancing and singing along. Aucoin makes sure to incorporate the crowd into each song by teaching them the chorus before he plays the song. He only played a few songs but had the entire crowd stoked.

Following Aucoin’s high energy performance was the incredibly popular Hey Rosetta!. The six piece indie-rock group captivated the audience. They played a wide variety of old and new tracks and had the entire audience rocking out. They also played a couple of more mellow and sentimental songs which left the crowd feeling numb. Despite the fact that the group’s van was broken into earlier that night, they still went out and gave the audience what they were looking for. It seemed that the crowd anticipated and enjoyed them the most of the three bands playing.

After Hey Rosetta!, it was getting late and the crowd had significantly thinned out. While Hot Hot Heat were setting up, the audience seemed relatively impatient. Before they took to the stage there was an entirely new crowd who were seeking a more psychedelic experience. Interestingly, the only performer of the entire evening who did not set up their own gear was frontman Steve Bays. Instead, Bays had his band mates set it up for him.

When the headliners took to the stage they were greeted warmly by a half-empty venue. The group opened the show with their hard-hitting track “YVR” from their latest album Future Breeds. Most of the set consisted of songs from this album as well as a few old favorites like “Goodnight Goodnight.” The lighting choice of the group was very appropriate to their music style. The dark venue with spastic strobe lights created a high energy and trippy environment. All members of the group had incredible stage presence. They used the space very well and created an up-close and personal show.

Despite the energy of the band on stage, the crowd just wasn’t into it. This may have been a result of inappropriate opening acts. Hey Rosetta! and Rich Aucoin brought a warmth and intimacy to the stage. Hot Hot Heat then followed them with an in-your-face music style that stressed you out. The chemistry of Hot Hot Heat closing the show did not work.

Hot Hot Heat did a poor job of directly engaging the audience. Front man Sam Bays did not acknowledge the crowd until the band was halfway through their set. Also by using incredibly dim lighting, it was difficult to see any of the band members, even from the very front of the room.

The live sound of the band was mediocre, at best. They attempted a new and unique disco-psychedelic rock style which ended up sounding like a cheap Of Montreal knock off. It seemed as if the group was trying too hard to be something they weren’t. Their sound has changed so drastically since their more poppy style of the mid 2000s.

The West Coast group left the Halifax venue slightly disappointed and it was as if the stars of the night were the opening acts, who created a very unique and personal show.

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