Soft Hands, The Youngs, De Luxe
January 15, 2008
While at The Prospector last night, some friends and I were discussing how the venue has really been on its game as of late, consistently hosting the best shows Long Beach has to offer. It is pretty much guaranteed that any night of the week you can walk into the tiny bar and see a great show from up-and-coming bands from Long Beach, Los Angeles, Orange County and even San Diego, as well as the occasional out-of-town touring act.
Last night was no different as Soft Hands (LBC), The Youngs (LA), and De Luxe (SF) came together to help celebrate Zach and Reid's (not me, Reid the bartender) birthdays. De Luxe, the name of Katrina Skalland's solo act, opened the evening with a soft set that was just Skalland and her guitar. Unfortunately The Prospector is not an ideal setting for the solo singer-songwriter due to the volume of people's conversations in the “loud seats” (what I've dubbed the 5 seats at the bar closest to the door), and the stripped-down versions of De Luxe's recorded work continually had to compete for the aural attention of the crowd.
Volume was no issue for Los Angeles' The Youngs, who were back at The Prospector for the second time in a week. Initially fooled by their recorded work, The Youngs rock pretty hard, coming off somewhere between the Pixies in the most epic moments and Hot Rod Circuit in their earlier work when they had killer guitar hooks one after another. At their core, The Youngs are Tim (guitar/vocals) and Eryn Young (drums/vocals), and it is when Eryn takes the main vocal lead that everything they have going gels together, which is excellently represented in the song, “America.”
Soft Hands have long been on my list of bands to check out for a while now. Their hyperactive Talking Heads-meets-Wire songs sound as though they might explode at any second and the band can barely tame their own sonic creations. Only being familiar with the three songs Soft Hands have posted on their MySpace (which they've made downloadable, thank you), I was immediately treated to my favorite of the three when they opened their set with “I Hope So,” a song that has been driving me nuts because I can't put my finger on what other band it sounds like. Soft Hands blasted through a half hour set that included the only other two songs I knew, “I'm On Fire” and “Up The Ladder,” as well as few that I can only assume will be on an their full length that they will hopefully record soon.
Personal Bias: John the bass player from The Youngs is really nice and has been inviting me out to see them forever now. I'm glad I finally saw them, even if was out of coincidence.
Random Detail: This was the first time I ever met anyone with the same name as me spelled the same way.
By the way: I had dinner at The Prospector prior to the show with Chris Ziegler (former OC Weekly Music Editor) who scared me away from ordering the fish with “Woah, I've never seen someone order the fish here,” needless to say I instead opted for the veggie burger.