Long live rock, I need it every night

Saturday, March 08, 2008

Your Mom

as in, SAY HI [TO]...

Say Hi, 3/4/2008 - Black Cat - Back Stage, $10

Tuesday night was back stage night at the Black Cat for a taste of Seattle-based, SAY HI. Formerly called Say Hi To Your Mom (SHTYM), the band dropped "your mom" - like the anchor everyone knows she is - and is touring simply as Say Hi.

Reworking a band name is something I thought only a relatively new band might do under pressure (Green Jello?, Charlatans [UK]?), or something an established band that has been dealing with a high level of turnover might do (Jefferson Starship!). But Say Hi doesn't seem to fit in either category given the fact that they (Eric Elbogen) have put out 5 albums since 2002, and since Elbogen does most of the work, it doesn't seem to be about turnover either.

At any rate, thanks to my best friends at WOXY, Say Hi were on my radar screen when it came to picking a show for my week. I enjoyed the few tracks that I had heard online, namely, Back Before We Were Brittle, and Northwestern Girls, and that was good enough to give them a look-see. But then they visited the studios of WOXY last week for a live performance in the "lounge," and I had second thoughts. It didn't sound that good, especially the "it must be in the air heeeeeeeeere" line from NWrn Girls, and I thought, uh-oh. Maybe this is a better studio band than live band.

With my expectations lowered, we paid the $10 and joined 50 other indie rock dudes and the 3 women that happened by the back stage. As it happens, Say Hi currently consists of two fellas: a drummer (Westin Glass) and Elbogen (who handles the vocals, guitar work, and who runs the computer that fills in for the rest of the "band"). While a great way to cut down on overhead, I have a slight problem with the reliance on pre-fab tracks (see: my earlier post on this subject), unless you are a band like Holy Fuck, who have a full band and need their gadgets to help send me on a drugless acid trip. But I paid $10, and who am I to judge. Maybe it's better this way. As long as the power's on and no hidden viruses emerge during the show, it's another way to get the job done.

The long and short of it, I was pleasantly surprised by this act. I thought they gave an inspired performance. There were no problems with the live show (as live as it is), and, as is often the case, seeing the band perform and feeling the bass (again, such as it is) pound you in the chest somehow helps the ear appreciate the music in ways that listening through computer speakers while at work simply fails to do. Go figure.

I also appreciated the point in the show where Elbogen walked us past the charade of an encore, telling us to basically pretend that they left and changed clothes while we clapped and eventually reappeared on stage. Instead, he simply played a couple more tunes before calling it a night. Well done. Other bands should give up on the encore farce and do the same. Unless the crowd loves you hysterically because you are super awesome "OMG LOL!!1!1111!!one!!" Then you can have your encore.

Here's a clip I shot:

Here's another clip I shot (apparently from a boat in high seas):


sacklunch said...

I ahve to admit, I was bit bored at this show. All the tunes sounded the same to me. I saw about 4 -5 songs and read The Onion in the Red Room.

In regards to the encore, These United States did the same thing at their IOTA show last week. It was pretty late, so Jesse just said "Okay, pretend we went backstage and you guys clapped for a few minutes..." I was a good move.

G.H. said...

good call on the encore. cant stand the obligatory encore, especially when you look around and see over half the crowd just sitting there waiting, letting someone else do the cheering.

Jimbromski said...

I didn't mind this band so much. "Brittle" is a pretty good song and I remember hearing like 2 or 3 not-so-bad songs along with it. All in all a good return for a $10 ticket to a backstage band.

Jumbo Slice said...

I was a fairly big Say Hi fan when I saw him play about four years ago at the Warehouse Next Door. The performance was disappointing and in the years since my interest was waned. However, I was pleasantly surprised at this show. He sounded much better. Plus, he played all my favorite songs with the exception of The Fritz.

Forgoing the contrived encore was a nice touch.