Back in the summer of 2009, I went to Fort Lauderdale's Culture Room to catch the MySpace Let's Make a Mess Tour. I was writing a column on the sexiest local band for a now-defunct weekly publication's Sex Issue, and going with the assumption that a sexy local band must emanate sexiness to both male and female fans. So I sought out bands that featured male and female members. Which is what brought me to this show, because among the several emo-cribbing indie-pop acts on the bill was Hey Monday.
The pop-punk group had "Band of the Moment" status back then, and so despite the fact that the audience consisted almost entirely of teenage girls and a few of their moms, it was a must-do for the Sex Issue, because this pop-punk band was fronted by a then-19-year-old singer named Cassadee Pope.
The four acts that led up to Hey Monday were a mostly forgettable amalgam of 2009's indie-pop fashions and sound. My notes for those first four bands read as follows:
The Bigger Lights ("so-so emo-pop. Skinny jeans? Check. Vests? Three out of five band members"); Stereo Skyline ("weak vocals, solid rhythm section. Skinny jeans? Check. Vests? Bassist only"); The Friday Night Boys ("pretty good, sounds like early Strokes, with a soupçon of Nickelback. Skinny jeans? No. Singer's pants are somewhat baggy. Vests? None. Possible inverse relationship between quality of band and reliance on poser fashions should be subject of later column"); and This Providence ("harder than the other bands, drums insistent throughout set. Skinny Jeans? Yes. Vests? One")
Hey Monday came on last. None of the acts could be called my preferred genre, granted, but Pope's manic energy put Hey Monday far beyond the rest. Sure, she wore a vest, but she also had the audience in the palm of her hand. The girls in the crowd screamed along to every word, despite the fact that Hey Monday had just come out with its only full-length. The group played almost its entire then-forthcoming EP, Beneath It All, and despite the fact that that record wasn't out yet, the crowd knew all of these words as well. Among local bands, this has always been a good indication to me of future regional or national success. Chris Carrabba and New Found Glory managed the same feat before they blew up. And so, I expected great things to come for Hey Monday.
Of course, I was only partially right.
Hey Monday is now on hiatus, but its lead singer, Cassadee Pope, is one of the final four contestants on the hit NBC talent show The Voice. At the beginning of live performances, when each of the four coaches had three singers, I figured the winner would come out of either Team Blake or Team Cee Lo. Aside from Melanie Martinez, Team Adam and Team Christina were way too cookie-cutter. Too many big-voiced pop-rock American Idol-style contestants that would split the big-voiced pop-rock American Idol vote. It was hardly a surprise when Team Christina went extinct last week, and it was less of a surprise when Team Adam followed last night.
No, this contest was always one between Team Blake and Team Cee Lo. And of them all, Pope has the best chance to walk away the winner.
Although there are a variety of ways to vote for your favorite on The Voice, the best way to help your new-found obsession is to download his/her songs on iTunes; if the artist breaks into the iTunes Top 10, each iTunes download counts as 10 votes. So far, since iTunes voting began with the final 10 contestants, only one artist's every performance has landed them in the iTunes Top 10, including both performances in this past Monday night's top 6 show. That artist is Cassadee Pope.