Hard Candy Hearts @ Bear’s Place

Ur ambiance...itz makin my fotos all artsy

Last Friday (May 28th) we made our way to Bear’s Place to catch the Hard Candy Hearts with openers The Hot Stiffs and Hot Mess.  Foolishly arriving at the time advertised, we had plenty of time to eat some fries and fiddle with our phones before the show began.

First up was relatively new band The Hot Stiffs.  Led by Amber Frost, the three piece band played material that was equal parts rock-a-billy, garage rock and honky tonk, with occasional moments of 60’s girl pop surfacing.  The band seems to be coming into it’s own, with more confidence exuding from both Frost’s vocals and the lead guitar work of Ryan Briles than in earlier outings.  We’re looking forward to seeing more from the Stiffs.

Up next was Hot Mess, whose set we missed as we had to talk with someone outside of the venue.  Professionalism, what blogs are known for.

We returned to our seats in time to catch the theatrical entry of headliners Hard Candy Hearts.  In almost complete blackness, the members of the band carried singer Birch Miller into the room and onto the stage while music that sounded like a wild west mariachi funeral dirge played over the house system.  Laid upon the stage, Miller was propped up and a mysterious liquid was poured into his mouth, causing him to rise from the throes of death to take his guitar and start the show.

Braaaaaaiiiinnnnsssss (we're assuming he's thinking, after all he was dead)

With the first notes, the stage was semi-illuminated by the film Vanishing Point being projected onto the band – matching their evil blues stomp with a visual presentation that was more shadow than light.  The band plays a type of muscular swamp blues that comes off a bit like a jam session between Danzig and Queens of the Stone Age reworking the catalog of Screaming Jay Hawkins.  But even that doesn’t fully capture it.  There’s something else at work here…bubbling just under the surface…just out of reach of description, and that certain “it” is what makes the Hard Candy Hearts a band you need to check out.

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