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LIVE AT THE GARAGE | Huck, Niiice, 90% Elves and City Mouth

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photos by Jessi Norblom 

review by Desney Cody

February 18 was an interesting lounge show at The GARAGE. There were four performers, all of the same genre but each and everyone had a very different sound. All bands could be classified as pop punk, but where they are on the spectrum varies. Some were more raw and unplugged, while others were very loud and upbeat. Some right in the middle. None shied away from audience interaction or moving about the stage.

Huck was the first performer and is a cross between James Franco and Ryan Adams, very uncut and unplugged. His performance was very casual and laid back; he didn’t have any lighting, other than the spotlight, and he wasn’t dressed up in dressy clothes or in any kind of costume. It was just a guy in a beanie with his guitar on center stage. The songs were personal and between his lyrics and presence, it was a very unapologetic performance. He has a raw and raspy voice, that made him appear to be more vulnerable…and he definitely has a lot of potential. With familiar basic structure and sound through nearly all his songs he slid through his performance, a fact future punctuated by Huck’s decision to play most of his set with eyes closed. Overall, it was a good performance, but with greater variation in songs and increased audience interaction. Huck definitely could better reach his full potential.

Niiice is a four piece from McNally Smith College of Music, they started jamming together in October this past year. They showed a lot of character and their unique personality throughout their entire set. Every member was able to focus on their own special talent, but then when they came together, it was somewhat overwhelming, but in the best way possible. Their set included original work and  covers, they did an excellent cover of “Creep” by Radiohead. Their songs were fun and quirky, but they were also personal and relatable. It was a good balance, and it kept the audience’s attention. It’s not easy to perform when not a whole lot of people know your music and the words to all your songs, but that’s what stood out about Niiice the most–not everyone knew who they were but they had such a different sound and look, that you couldn’t help but pay attention, and jam out just as hard as they were. Niiice has a come along way with only being a band since October, but they are really going to go places.

90% Elves was very different. They had a wide range of material, it was a mix of rock, punk and spoken word rap/poetry. The band wasn’t very loud and all over the place, so you could really pay attention to their words and lyrics. Their songs were not presented in a serious manner, but they were angsty nonetheless. It seemed like a ”Mr. Brightside” kind of angst. It was very passive and the tone of the lyrics weren’t put together with the music that seemed “natural,” yet, it worked and went well together. 90% Elves paid attention to the audience and interacted well, but there wasn’t a whole lot of obvious chemistry between the band. They kind of just stayed in their own space and didn’t mingle with each other. However, it was still an interesting performance and they definitely are unique to themselves.

Headliners, City Mouth, were the loudest band of the night. They were very party anthem kind of punk. But they had such a wide range of instruments that it was interesting to watch. They had two guitar players, a drummer, two singers, a bass guitar player, a keyboardist, and a trumpet player. There weren’t eight people in the band, there only five, but each person played one, or if not two or three different instruments. The only woman in the whole group, played keys, guitar and the trumpet. City Mouth was really fun to watch, but they had a very classic pop punk sound. So their voices didn’t make them stand out, but the way they played their instruments, the emotional ties to their songs (the lead singer started crying during their last song) and their overall stage presence did for sure.

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