Having already seen The Hundred Days and The Limousines, I arrived at The Independent earlier than usual to catch the opening band, A B & The Sea.
A B & The Sea play catchy surf rock and they look damn good doing it! The San Francisco 5-piece asserts influences such as The Beach Boys and Paul Simon and it’s apparent in their flawless harmonies. Playing with a modern pop edge mastered by more recent favorites like The Format and Nada Surf, A B & The Sea perfectly combines the classic elements with good old indie pop. Lead singer Koley O’Brien is the ultimate frontman; decked in cowboy boots and shades he possesses a timeless charm befitting the band’s ‘old-school’ influences.
Song after song provokes toe-tapping throughout the venue and on this rainy San Francisco night, it’s a wistful journey to someplace sunnier. Listing ‘bonfires on the beach’ and ‘couches on rooftops’ as influences, it’s easy to see what Koley and guitarist Joe Spargur were chasing when they packed their bags and left Wisconsin in 2008. They sure found it in A B & The Sea. The single “In The Sunshine” was released back in October 2011 and it’s the picture of summertime. Bassist, Ben Laatsch, and O’Brien flaunt perfect harmonies that complement the classic simplicity of the song. A B & The Sea have not only proved that they can write great pop songs, but they also know how to deliver on-stage.
With this being the second time I have seen The Hundred Days play live, I have to say that their charm was lost a little at a second glance. The four-piece electro-indie band seemed to race through their songs seamlessly, yet I couldn’t help but feel a little underwhelmed. While it can be tough to pull from the same repertoire show after show, local artists need to work harder to impress fans each and every time they hit the stage. It can’t have helped that the set was sandwiched between two of the best performances I’ve seen this year.
All that aside, The Hundred Days bust out lyrically strong tunes that get the crowd going, just as they did for me the last time. It may well be that the intense sexual energy exuded by vocalist Jon Smith, is better the first time! I’ll definitely check out this band again, I’ll just be looking for something fresh on stage.
Check out a live clip of “Sex U” here.
In preparation for the Limousines, the stage was transformed into a set fitting for an electro-pop dance party and the crowd waited in anticipation as the house music slowly dropped out. In true showman style, vocalist Eric Victorino rushed onto stage armed with a megaphone, his face and clothes dripping with fake blood. Joined by (a similarly ‘deathly’) Giovanni Giusti, the band busted out their vocally heavy hit “Dancing At Her Funeral” in the dark.
The rest of the set was just as explosive, incorporating strong lighting and huge balloons that were bounced around the crowd. The confetti-filled toys hung around just long enough to be interesting, at which point Victorino would shower the crowd with confetti with the prick of a pin. The well-known ‘Internet Killed the Video Star’ came right on time, as the duo delivered a tune to really dance to.
The Limousines have built a name for themselves since being signed to Dangerbird Records in December of 2010, touring with Neon Trees and The Sounds in 2011. Looking forward, the band announced mid-set that they will be going on a European tour soon, an experience Victorino said: “will show (them) a whole new sense of humility.” The European tour consists of shows throughout Britain, Spain, Germany, and France and will no doubt attract even greater support for these talented San Francisco artists.
They concluded their set with a cover of Paul Simon’s classic single “You Can Call Me Al”. The relevance of the track was probably lost on a large proportion of the crowd who may have been too young to know it well but played with The Limousine’s characteristic electro-pop sound, the crowd kept dancing to the end. Victorino gave a shout out to his dad in the crowd and it was one of those moments when you realize rock stars have parents, too!
Check out The Limousines playing their single “Internet Killed The Video Star.”