Show Review: Foxy Shazam, The Young Veins, Bad Rabbits at Bottom Of The Hill, 4/18/10

by Dakin Hardwick on April 20, 2010

Thanks to seperate16 for providing the photo most characteristic of the band

Thanks to seperate16 for providing the photo most characteristic of the band

I often times enjoy a mellow a Sunday evening spent enjoying the soothing sounds of traveling minstrels with the company of fellow locals. I opted to spend this past Sunday eve at a popular Portrero Hill tavern to enjoy the song stylings Foxy Shazam. The show filled me with great joy, despite the fact that I’m unsure as to whether or not everyone managed to survive.

The evening began, unsuspiciously enough, with a set by Boston soul/rock band Bad Rabbits. They sounded good,with a nice solid groove and some pretty impressive musicianship. Singer Dua Boayke has some really impressive range, and the kind of stage presence that would keep even the most jaded hipster focused. Also, the band had some Tempations-esque dance moves that were pretty mind blowing.

Considerably less mind blowing was The Young Veins, a project featuring former Panic! At The Disco songwriter Ryan Ross as well as former Panic! bassist Jon Walker. When I saw them at SXSW last month, I felt that they were boring and emotionless. At this show, they were considerably more energetic and passionate, but still lacked something. Their songs were decent early 60’s-inspired power pop, primarily influenced by The Zombies and The Dave Clarke Five, but still lacked the whimsy that made the last Panic! album, Pretty. Odd so great. I am still curious as to how this will sound in the studio, which was always where the band was strongest.

Two bands down, and both of them were very different from each other. Closing out the set was a little band out of Cincinnati, Ohio combo called Foxy Shazam. And words are not the best vessel to use to convey what they are, but, as a journalist, I will make an attempt at it.

Foxy Shazam are a rock n roll band. They have a guitarist, a bassist, a drummer, a keyboardist, and a trumpet player. There are a lot of rock n roll bands these days with this kind of set up, but they are about the furthest thing in the world from fellow trumpet rock bands like The National and Okkervil River. Their sound is a fusion of many different sounds, but if I’m forced to nutshell them, they kind of sound like what would happen if The Darkness did a set of Polyphonic Spree covers. And yes, I know that doesn’t make any sense. You just have to live with it.

The live experience, though, is far more than just music. Not to say the band isn’t musically proficient, in fact singer Eric Sean Nally’s rich tenor can run from soulful croon to hair metal squeal without breaking a sweat, while the rest of the band tackles some complex arrangements with ease, and they look like this is the easiest music in the world to play, which it’s not.

But the music, though very, very good, is only a small part of what happens at a Foxy Shazam show. Nally is the kind of frontman that continuously does the unexpected. He’s small and slender, and can mold his body in to nearly any shape. Trumpeter Alex Hauth manages to compliment Nally’s insanity with his own blend of crazy movement, as well as an equally impressive voice. Then we have the band’s secret performance weapon, Sky White, whom celebrated his birthday with us at this show. He played keyboards. He played them from every direction. He played while jumping on the keys, he played while wrapped around the keyboard stand, he even played upside down while Nally was dancing between his legs.

And this was what you learn about the band during the first song.

As the show progressed, the band slowly upped the crazy throughout the set, and the crowd reciprocated. In fact, this may have been the best audience I have encountered in years. As the band’s energy increased, so did the audience. People danced, even did the unheard of act in 2010 of moshing! Yet, everyone was also immensely polite. The tall people made sure the shorter people could see, and nobody was left out of the fun.

And the best part of the crowd? Absolutely nobody was waving their cameras around during the set. This band is highly visual, and chock full of great photo moments, but everyone was there to enjoy the band in the moment. It was so refreshing!

So, since nobody has a visual account of the night, it’s up to me to tell you what happened. I’ll just run down some of the events, and you can put it together in you imagination.

-Nally sang songs while sitting on the shoulders of every member of the band at different times.

-Nally told many stories as a deranged preacher.

-Nally ate 5 lit cigarettes

-Nally drank from his shoe

-Nauth sang the bassline for an acapella number co-written by Greg Puciato of Dillinger Escape Plan, with Nally on lead and the rest of the band on harmony, aside from the great White, who insisted on dancing maniacally.

-Nally choreographed a stage diving cycle with the crowd to correspond with the different verses of a song.

-Nally slithered his way the lighting fixtures of the venue.

-Nauth and Guitarist Loren Daniel Turner pretending to swing the guitar rig into the audience, only opting to destroy the drums instead.

-Everything was nearly destroyed on stage, and the crowd continued to beg for the impossible encore.

So, in a nutshell, it was a pretty good, fairly lively show. I think that, if they survive the tour, this band may be a live force to be reckoned with.

Here’s a setlist:

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{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

cfmceroz April 20, 2010 at 9:05 pm

spot on review. great show

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