Given my penchant for the various earobic goodies that keep coming from the Silver Lake music scene, I'm always thrilled to see the live version when one of the bands happens to make the trek east. This thrill gets even more amped when it's a long-time favorite such as The Happy Hollows/MSPCE who played here last week at The Red and the Black. The Hollows, a three-piece who play rhythmic indie-pop songs punctured with jagged rock edges, had been namechecked to me countless times by bands and reviewers from that scene, and all with the same comment: "great live show." And boy, were they right.
Leading this musical geothermal friction was lead singer/guitarist Sarah Negahdari. There's a cool dichotomy in terms of stage presence between her and her band mates, bass guitarist Charley Mahoney and drummer Chris Hernandez, in that the guys provide a calm background to the female Jekyll/Hyde pairing that is Negahdari on stage. While off-stage she's soft-spoken and well, sweet (an adjective I'm sure she's sick of hearing about herself, but she really is), onstage she seems to channel another personality altogether, one that stomps and screams and seriously rocks her face off.
The way the Hollows played their hearts out at TR&TB, it was obvious that this is a band that thoroughly enjoys playing music. Be it playing for 20 people in the crowd, like it was at TR&TB, or 200 people like it is for them typically back home, the Hollows play with the same level of enthusiasm and intensity all the time. Hell, these guys probably rock out in their practice space just playing by themselves. It's easy to play an invigorated show in a venue filled with friends and fans; it's much harder to do that in a room 3,000 miles from home, to a crowd of 20, where maybe two people have heard of you. And while that's something you should probably be able to do if you're in a band, that's not something every band does.
The Happy Hollows may have only played to 20 people at TR&TB, but their obvious enthusiasm for playing definitely captured those people enough that they happily tossed themselves against their jagged rock edges, and walked out as new listeners to the Happy Hollows siren call.
See more photos from the Happy Hollows show here.
Listen: Vietnam-The Happy Hollows