CHASE FRANK, HELL AT NIGHT AND PAPER PLANES
FITZGERALD'S PUB, HUNTINGTON BEACH
FRIDAY, DEC. 9
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It was loud and heavy and over before you knew it: a triple bill, maybe the best one that Chase Frank has booked in months and certainly the best in the county that evening, pitting Chase's one-woman guitarchestra-on-the-go against twin-powered drums-and-guitar duo Hell at Night and capped off by reigning Long Beach rock & roll trio—and really smart, nice dudes—Paper Planes. Stumbling out of the bar at five after one, it seemed you could still hear the night echoing along Magnolia: Chase's loop-de-loop mix of reverb and pedal effects; Hell at Night's dirty, blown-out riffs; the stop-stop-start-stop drumming on Paper Planes' last song, the eternally awesome "Mexico." And it was fun, watching as Chase convinced half a dozen girls to ditch their boyfriends and pick up guitars simply by being confident enough to stand onstage and sing, as Hell at Night's hybrid bro-dawg/hipster friends—I blame Seth Cohen for their evolution—toasted with beer bottles and karate kicks, unfortunately not simultaneously—and as Paper Planes singer Micah Panzich secretly smiled to himself during a particularly twangy guitar solo that even the lone, depressed-looking indie boy present couldn't resist tapping his foot to. And while perhaps in the past this review would have been unfairly dedicated to the beer-bottle salutes and karate kicks, I realize now it's fairly lame to judge a band by their fans—of which it should be noted Hell at Night, given the fact it was the twins' birthday, by far had the most. So I'll forgive them for their dudely friends—and for being really, really good-looking—and instead applaud Hell at Night for what they do really fucking well: synthesize a lifetime spent listening (I'm imagining here) to U2, and then to grunge, and then to the Pixies, and on to the White Stripes, Interpol and the Arcade Fire into a crude, raw cyst of noise and pop and screams that's more developed and different and worthy of praise than much of what the ironic-band-T-shirt-wearing community routinely churns out. Congrats, boys. Now, everybody else? Please join me at their next show.