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Monthly Archives: June 2012

I wrote about HITS awhile back, but hadn’t had a chance to see them live until last night at their EP release show at Mercury Lounge. And let me tell you, they. Are. Fantastic. That energy! I missed this kind of electrified pop punk Though the venue wasn’t packed, those who were there were stoked on the music; not one person was standing still, and there were even a pair of overtly enthusiastic Japanese girls going nuts in the front (the mark of a successful show, in my opinion).

Their sound is mostly ’80s-infused synthesized pop, maybe borrowed from the Weird Science soundtrack, but seeing them live lets the punk influence shine through more so than listening with no visual. It’s definitely in part to singer Louis Epstien’s whole Joey Ramone-with-short-hair thing (toothpick legs, skinny suit, the upward vocal kick on the high notes), and the stage presence of all five guys–anyone else bored of going to shows to see people stand around behind a computer? Their opener, the single-worthy St. John, set the mood with a low clap and electric echoes that turn into an on-your-feet dance fest for the chorus, “Deliver the message, yeah truth be told/ so don’t be scared/ you’re gonna get burned.” Burned by all the lasers, maybe–the ’80s never die in this world, but work in and out of thumping percussions for the kind of rhythms that get into even the most stoic concert-goers skin. Drug references on new song Veins could very well have meant the electronica: “Why you shaking / it’s in our veins, our veins, our veins/ Do too many but we always want more.” They had some production help from friends Cobra Starship; it’s duly noted, in the energy, fun atmosphere, etc, but without the Warped Tour/Top 40 side effects.

Extremely fun show by some obviously talented musicians; I’m happy they’re local, because that won’t be the last time I hit one of their shows (sorry). Check out their Soundcloud RIGHT NOW, their stuff is free to download (for now). I’m stoked, you’re stoked, we’re all stoked on HITS.

I’ve been talking (and tweeting) non-stop about Firefly Music Festival since it was announced earlier this spring; as the first weekend-long, camping, legit headling bands plus smaller equally-amazing acts, music festival the Mid-Atlantic region has ever see (Warped Tour does not count, guys), it’s kind of a big deal. I may live in the Big Apple now, but I grew up in small town Maryland, and let me tell you, no concert worth seeing happens around those parts. You’re looking at a 2-hour plus drive to D.C. or Philly or Norfolk to see anything cool. Needless to say, when I saw that a festival with Jack White and The Black Keys headlining was happening in Dover, Delaware for $180 ($220 now) for a three-day pass, I got right on that shit.

But maybe you’re not acting on a desire to see musical notoriety come to your childhood region. Why should you care about this festival when there’s Bonnaroo and Lolla and SXSW and all that jazz?

For one, there’s the lineup. Headliners: the aforementioned Jack White and Black Keys, tickets for whom (if you can even get them before they sell out) run around $50 each, then Death Cab for Cutie, The Killers, and the just-added-today (and fulfilling all my 7th grade dreams) Modest Mouse. You’d be spending over $200 just to see any 4 of those bands. Besides the headliners though, the organizers really did their homework on bands who are fantastic but not totally blown up yet: my favorite of the moment Reptar, last year’s fav The Head and the Heart, The Knocks, Grouplove, Mayor Hawthorne, Bombay Bicycle Club. And then there are the solid additions that will definitely put on a swell show: Lupe Fiasco, Cake, The Flaming Lips, Passion Pit, Silversun Pickups, Young the Giant, Cults, Chiddy Bang. And that’s not even everyone! So you’re already looking at a well-curated selection of musical tastes in varying degrees of popularity that’s well worth the $220 price tag.

Two, location location location. If you’re in Cali, well, this isn’t your thing. But for all us on the heavily populated East Coast, the central Delaware location is pretty prime. It’s easily accessible from New York, D.C., Philly, and Baltimore by train; even Boston is only a few hours away. And if you’re driving, it’s a straight shot off I-95 (a super easy trek I’ve done innumerable times). How many non-exclusive music festivals are a 2.5 hr drive from New York City? None. Literally. Also, it’s not Texas or Tennesse–less sweating and chance of heatstroke.

Three, this is the first one! Ever! And maybe I’m counting my memories before they’re made, but the inauguration of any festival is a story in and of itself. If this becomes the next played-out, everyone-and-their-brother-going scene in a few years (I see you, Coachella), I’ll be very happy to say I got there before the crowds did.

They also got their own beer from Dogfish Head. Andthere is an option to see any of the shows from a hot air balloon, if you shell out for the VIP glamping pass (only $1200!). That’s pretty baller.

I’ve made my case. If you’re not convinced… get out of here. If you are, well, I’ll see you on the music field.

Fireflymusicfestival.com