Welcome to the hot spot. Last Friday, we witnessed the birth of Indie Rock night at the Hub. It was an evening of new lights, new sounds and lots of beer. The premiere event, sponsored by After Hours @ the Hub, was a packed night of drinking and dancing, with Moving Units headlining the festivities.
The Young Turks opened the show to a crowd of adoring fans. This new breed of hometown heroes is unlike the rest, with influences ranging from the Killers to Wolf Parade. Young Turks has quickly risen up the I.V. ladder and it’s easy to see why. The boys, grinning from ear to ear, had fans and friends singing along to every song. The Young Turks is all about their fans and it’s been fun to chart their success along the way. At the end of their set, vocalist Brendan Finch blew kisses to a crowd of admiring girls. It was a cheeky gesture that worked perfectly to end a great set.
Test Your Reflex had the perfect formula. Step 1: Swing microphone around neck. Step 2: Pretend you have a British accent. Step 3: Wear a tight T-shirt to make girls horny. This band took me way back – back to bobbing teenagers and Converse shoes. And, I liked it. These SoCal rockers were the perfect mixture of catchy middle school pop punk and intergalactic U2 rock. Regardless of the sing-song lyrics, it was refreshing to see a modern-day band focus their attention on instrumentals. But do they realize they aren’t British? Many times I caught accents in the music. Perhaps they are taking the U2 influence a bit too seriously.
The Henry Clay People was straight up garage show material – think back to boys in seventh grade with rock star dreams. Swaying from left to right, they looked like “Animal House” puppets. As a fan of Saves the Day, I noticed the band try to work the same satirical shtick. While it didn’t quite work, their lyrics were outrageously funny and much more enjoyable than the fashionable mantras of the other bands. The best part of their set was when the guitarist started playing with drumsticks – for no apparent reason. Though their influences include promising sounds like Pavement and Guided by Voices, that sound was absent from their live performance. The Killers cover was much appreciated, however.
“This is crap.” The phrase echoed throughout the Hub as we encountered the greatest injustice of the night. The next band and alumni, Kissing Tigers, only got to play three songs, including the greatest failure song “I Give Up.” Their sound is wonderful, like floating on a sunny cloud of good energy. It was hard not to catch dance fever, as the band worked the crowd effortlessly. Lacking overdone theatrics or bubblegum lyrics, a Kissing Tigers experience is music in its purest form. They give hope to the future of the Santa Barbara music scene. And this time, the British accent worked.
Of course, the Kissing Tigers were just a tantalizing tease before the evening’s headliners took the stage. The Moving Units definitely got the crowd moving, as they proved why they are truly the next big thing when it comes to combining disco, pop and punk. “Emancipation” was a crowd favorite, as the lead singer got sexy with the lyrics “you control me, I am your slave.” The song “Anyone” seemed to mimic the crowd, as the energy died down halfway through the set. However, “Between Us and Them” caused an explosion of energy and the creation of what looked like a mosh pit/chicken pen. From bros ready to throw down to sloshed sorority girls, everyone got jumbled up in the pen of perversion. It was utterly hilarious. Ending the night with “Melodrama,” the lyrics “let’s go to the disco” echoed as the clock hit 1:30 a.m.
It was a late night, but boy was it worth it.