Concert Review: Hot Hot Heat at The Culture Room

Hot Hot Heat

October 19, 2007

Culture Room

It's exactly 8 p.m. when I pull up to the parking lot of Culture Room. The night air is surprisingly cool and comforting as I freak out about not being able to find parking. A few maze-like trips through the lot yield no results. The clock is ticking, and as I desperately begin to contemplate parking in an undesignated, pseudo parking spot, I realize De Novo Dahl is probably minutes away from performing.

Thankfully, a chick who obviously works at Culture Room directs me to meter parking, leaving me with no choice but to walk across an intersection where I fear I will face imminent death. But somehow I miraculously make it and arrive safely inside as De Nova Dahl performs their infectious pop music.

De Novo Dahl, energetic and almost dizzying, resemble cartoon characters with their loud outfits and rambunctious demeanor. Decked out in brightly colored suits and a white dress adorned with vibrantly colored flowers, the band looks exactly as they do on their website. Upbeat songs tinged with catchy lyrics like, “Shout! Shout! Let all your feelings out,” blare from the stage. The crowd is an accurate reflection of the band-chaos has ensued.

It's not long before Bedouin Soundclash, a Dub/ Reggae band, takes the stage. The audience is greeted by a lead singer who looks like he could be your quintessential stoner friend who is lacking ambition and is fairly listless; instead, his performance is anything but indolent. Who knew Bob Marley had been reincarnated into a soft-spoken dude from Toronto?

The music is grandiose and robust, taking the audience on a journey from soft, understated songs like “1259 Lullaby” to resounding songs like “Walls Fall Down.” Halfway through the set, they covered “You Don't Love Me” by Dawn Penn, a classic reggae song from the mid '90s. The last song of the night from Bedouin Soundclash was “Stand by Me,” originally by Ben E. King, which had the crowd singing in unison.

It took about an hour for Hot Hot Heat to begin playing, but the wait was more than worth it. Frontman, Steve Bays, knows hot to satisfy a crowd even when he's stuck behind his space-age looking keyboard. With moves rivaling that of Jerry Lee Lewis, the crowd couldn't help following every nuance of his movement. After opening with the latest album's title track “Happiness Ltd.,” they followed with crowd pleasers from each of their albums including “Middle of Nowhere” and the their claim to fame, “Bandages.” Keeping up their rockstar style, Hot Hot Heat delivered a powerful encore, bidding us farewell with their song “Goodnight, Goodnight.” --Ashley Rousseau

Critic's Notebook:

Random Detail: During Bedouin Soundclash, a drunken girl kept asking the lead singer for his hat until he told her to stop being annoying. Thank you.

By the way: Hot Hot Heat sounds better live than on the album.

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Tovin Lapan