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Home of the Wildcats, Y.O.U., Hot Young Priest
The Star Bar
February 2005

Home of the Wildcats do sorta math rock, mechanical stuff with long instrumental breaks where they're obviously straining to make the interplay of the guitars, or guitar and steel guitar with effects pedals, to be terribly interesting. Incredible technical skill yet somehow dull as hell. Maybe it's the lack of stage presence. Only the drummer seems to be enjoying the effort. Or maybe it's just me. There's nothing worse than an aging critic in any genre. After a while you can't help but become jaded and everything seems dull and rehashed. How can anything seem fresh? The musical frontier that once was rock has long since turned into the burbs. Now I prefer shtick, the familiarity of something old redone in some new way. Heck, that's what Hollywood has been banking on for a couple of years now, why not the local music scene too? Dave, bartender and booking agent for the Star Bar says they almost sold out the night before for the two Weezer cover bands. That's why kids these days like hip hop. Rock is dead, they say.

On stage, Home of Wildcats are shouting lyrics out but they're drowned out by the guitars and I can't catch a word. Back into their interminable instrumental break, I'm somehow reminded of the more tedious moments of Rush. All technical bravado and none of the heart and soul that make a creative effort catch my attention.

After a long break to set up equipment, locals Y.O.U. crank up, sort of something between Radiohead and Cheap Trick, power pop with lilting, soaring vocals and guitar. Would work well on radio stations formerly known as alternative. Punchy in parts, good melodies, upbeat stuff that got people moving and suddenly I don't feel old and jaded.

The bass player switches to keyboard and bass keyboard from time to time a la The Doors but the music stays upbeat and poppy. The drummer played along with a drum machine for a couple of songs in there somewhere too, giving the music a bit more of a dance or 80's vibe, in a fun way. I wrote down in my notebook "My Sharona" to remind me of their sound and the next tune they did was a spirited cover of Elvis Costello's Pump It Up.

They brought in an extra member on keyboards for the last few tunes, fattening up the sound a bit. They're releasing an EP in April - what the hell? Don't they own a PC? They played a full hour set, enough for a full CD worth of tunes. C'mon, guys, get with it!

Spotted this sticker in the bathroom.

A nice looking woman next to me asked if I'd seen Hot Young Priest before. I told her I had and then struggled to describe them. "Good if you like sort of hard and heavy stuff, but not like hardcore or heavy metal. Some tempo changes here and there, but not like math rock or anything. Uh... well..."

I still struggle. I'm reminded of a local band from some 10 years ago, but unfortunately the DP archives don't go back that far. "Ellen James Society" rings a bell, but I wouldn't swear to it. I just remember being impressed way back then, and I'm impressed again with Hot Young Priest. The female lead softens the hard edge of the driving guitar work.

But that doesn't tell you much. It's the crunchy guitar banging out interesting melody, contrasted by a delicate female lead that really makes this music interesting.

They cranked out a bunch of new numbers, wrapping the set up with a few off their EP. Again, what the hell? Drop that stuff on a disc and get me a copy!

Bow down before the power of Andisheh Nouaree!

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