Bad Bad Hats – Live At Rough Trade: Review
Mon, 21 Dec 2015 10:29:51
(September 25, 2015, Brooklyn, NY) Bad Bad Hats had a pretty good summer. The Minneapolis indie-pop trio released their debut full length, Psychic Reader, in July to solid praise and then headed out on a national tour shortly after. On Friday, September 25, that tour brought the band to Rough Trade in Brooklyn, NY where they endeared the audience with sweet-as-can-be melodies and Midwestern charm.
The show, which featured all lady-led acts, kicked off with Brooklyn's own Stranger Cat. Backed by only a drummer, vocalist/keyboardist Cat Martino's looping synth jams swept over the early-arrivers in attendance with a danceable haze. The highlight of the set came when Stranger Cat sauntered into an unexpected cover of Sia's "Chandelier." Despite reducing the song's tempo significantly, Stranger Cat left a lasting impression by bravely hitting the falsetto choruses.
Bad Bad Hats would take the stage next, picking up their instruments to excited cheers from the Brooklyn crowd. The band decided to open their set with a bit of a throwback as vocalist/guitarist Kerry Alexander launched into "Secrets Are No Fun," a track from the It Hurts EP. Next up were Psychic Reader standouts "Say Nothing" and the characteristically catchy "Joseph," the latter of which Alexander winkingly dedicated to all of the Josephs in attendance.
Perfectly placed in the middle of Bad Bad Hats' set was "Super America," which as Alexander prefaced to the crowd, is "a song about gas stations." "We've been stopping at a lot of gas stations on this tour… mostly to buy gas," she informed the crowd, who chuckled in response. Also from the It Hurts EP, the track is perhaps the most addictingly sugary out of everything in the Bad Bad Hats catalogue. If songs that get stuck in your head are earworms, "Super America" is a whole package of gummy worms.
The band would then play a few more from Psychic Reader, including first single "Midway," punchy rocker "Shame," and the chanty "Fight." Appropriately, Bad Bad Hats chose to closeout the set with "It Hurts," the titular track from their obviously meaningful EP. To their visible delight, the members were not alone in recreating the song's adorkable kazoo solo as much of the crowd at Rough Trade happily joined in on singing it.
After a brief set change and house music interlude, Laura Burhenn walked onstage alone to start off The Mynabirds' set. The band's singer-songwriter stood at her keyboard and played an unaccompanied rendition of "What We Gained in the Fire" from their 2010 album, What We Lose in the Fire We Gain in the Flood. Burhenn's fellow Mynabirds quickly joined her as the song finished and the band seamlessly started into a well-assembled set rich with tracks from their new album, Lovers Know.
When the house lights returned to illuminate the attendees of Rough Trade a little after midnight, there was a satisfied buzz that carried over the crowd shuffling to the exit through the venue's record store. It was a night of pure pop goodness, which everyone in attendance seemed to thoroughly enjoy. For Bad Bad Hats, their NYC debut turned out to be one that neither they nor the audience will soon forget.
—The ARTISTdirect Staff
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