Christopher Victorio/OC Weekly
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The Hype: On the Saturday after the Weekly's 2010 Summer Guide hit the streets, it was obvious that sand, surf and sports were the three main criteria for our Liquid Aloha Festival near the Shorebreak Hotel in Huntington Beach. Prepared to shut down the festival in all their ripped jean, long-haired glory, Iglu and Hartly are still riding high on the bright, synthesizer waves of their 2009 debut, &Then Boom, garnering steady buzz on international radio stations and a recent performance at this year's Coachella. They seemed prepared to kick off summer with a coveted spot on the Liquid Aloha stage.
: Though I&H have made a few trips into Orange County over the past couple years, this was their first chance to play for an HB crowd. And despite the fact that they didn't seem to know where they were half the time during their performance, it actually went kinda well for them. Sauntering on stage with white, strategically ripped jeans, moccasins, a bandaged wrist and a ratty tank top, singer Jarvis Anderson's signature look was a perfect fit for his sunny surroundings. He and the band took the stage in a shady out cove sandwiched between the Shorebreak Hotel and a Sketchers store off Pacific Coast Highway and Fifth street.
Launching into the poppy, synth swirl of "Out There" the band did their best to captivate the sun-fried surfer crowd--a mixture of bikini-wearing blonds, dog-walkers, starry-eyed cougars and the drunken corral of party goers in the back at the festival's makeshift beer garden. Despite that love-it-or-hate-it feeling that their music draws out of people, this crowd was definitely gobbling it up. Even though Anderson and his MC/keyboard co-pilot Sam Martin were hellbent on making making us aware of how cool they were by asking shit like "What's this festival called?" with a huge Liquid Aloha Festival banner right behind them on stage. And the fact that Anderson's butt crack was on display for pretty much the entire set was also pretty polarizing (we bet the cougars in the audience loved it though).
Aside from rehashing the rest of the track listing from & Then Boom-- "Whatever We Like" and "DayGlo" included--the band also hit us with a couple unexpected gems. The first being a new song called "Hearts Bleeding on the Highway," a slightly more rockin' tune about the band's life on the road, getting huge in Japan, Europe and other countries that probably enjoy shirtless, white-boy hip-hop a lot more than this one does. And they even indulged the audience with a cover of Tom Petty's "I Won't Back Down" after coming back for an encore. It was a move that certainly ended things on a strong not for the group, even though Martin's last comments to the crowd were "Good night, San Diego." Yeah dudes, next time we suggest you do at least a sliver of research on the town you're playing before you get on stage. At this stage in their careers, remembering that kind of stuff is still important. At least it should be.
The Verdict: If you weren't into I&H before, this performance probably didn't sway you, but we admire their attempt to rope in a few Tom Petty fans.