Do you ever like a thing that you know most people around you find disgusting? Like M. Night Shamalayah,plums, Chablis, sweaty feet, or oysters? Well, I like oysters,  you sickos. I can tell you every rotten fish market that has a special on a Monday. I dove into the swamps of Cape Cod and stabbed my hands just to get at the velvety, supple, briny slurps inside of those shells.

Tonight, as I sat down next to a guy who was really anxious to see the girl who a) definitely sees him only as friend material and b) he wasn’t gay, I mean it fucked me up, he was not gay, he really liked her — and she made him cut off her sweater tag — while she talked on the phone to her c) undoubtedly yelling boyfriend and d) he said the oysters were good here. The oysters “here” were absolute fucking swamp shit, they weren’t rotten, they were just the bottom of the barrel, the shit that’s not even to be canned. I thought… whose opinion can I trust?
Never trust an opinion that’s free. Don’t trust an opinion that’s too easy. Trust a bartender to make you a good drink. Trust a band to play you good music. That’s what they do and that’s why we’re here. This is how Hooray For Earth started their month-long residency at Piano’s for me.
Tonight started with ArpLine, who dragged every piece of equipment they had onstage and still managed to switch players around between sets. Sam Tyndall sung with a Thom Yorke note, but with more grit behind him, while simultaneously manipulating a laptop that was trying to catchup with the rest of the sound. He was chatty, one phrase: “tonight is definitely the best lineup, I haven’t looked at the other nights, but tonight is definitely the best,” tongue firmly in cheek.

Sam Tindall in the pages of this magazine
Zambri, frequent collaborators with Hooray, devoured us first with their allure as dark-haired vixens, then with the four microphones that Cristi Jo sang into with dexterity, thankfully making this much more than equipment overuse. For the record, three microphones were tied together and hung around her neck in a necklace, and another in her hand, each tuned to a different sound filter. This was topped off with an outstanding overall beat that started from the drummer and suffused through to the keyboards, guitar and the stage.
Often it’s said at live shows that the sound was off, the timing didn’t happen, but at that moment when everything moves exactly as it should, as it was at this show, the opposite needs to be said. Everything was perfect, better than a recording, and the sound was on.
Hooray For Earth, the second to last set of the night, was subdued in a way that is clinically proven to raise anticipation and lower cholesterol. It seemed carefully woven to fit somewhere in the midst of the others that shared their stage that night. I’m positive that many of the people who were there this past Wednesday will be there again on the next, though this is akin to breaking the unwritten rule to never play a city more than once a month. Hooray’s set was the shortest, though with plenty of volume and dancing fans up front, they played up or bowed down to the presumed headliner, (I always presume the last band at a curated show is “the headliner”), Shilpa Ray & Her Happy Hookers.
Shilpa Ray & Her Happy Hookers take their amazing name and leap into a mystifying, blazing set that me jumping up and down with abandon, so I was entirely sated by night’s end with the first event of this series.

Shilpa Ray and Her Happy Hookers


So, Shilpa Ray… wow, I’ll try to cut through the word chase and summarize something quickly, it’s going to sound annoying but I still have to do it: she’s like MIA without all of the parts that make MIA eating truffle fries such a bloody annoying story  [Zabatay: as commenter ??? pointed out, I'm unenlightened with this phrase ]. Also nothing like MIA and more Billy Holiday, or even P.J. Harvey (or Nick Cave, Birthday Party-era, for all Shilpa’s visceral energy and her gutteral cries), but with modern equipment and lots more inventive craziness.
That’s the voice, but now let’s talk a bit about that accordion that Shilpa was playing. Did you see it? It was the pulpit upon which she rested to hit a long note (I tried to hold my breath for as long as she hit a note and I gave up half way through, thanks for the cigarettes, 18 year old me). Then she would translate her breath into the accordion and this kept on going, supported by the frenzy of the band and the even more frenzied crowd and into, well, a hell of a good time.
 
  1. not surprised you enjoyed the set, but really? Shilpa is like MIA? Beyond her being female and looking indian what other comparisons are there really? Open up your mind Dmitri

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    zabatay Reply:

    @??? Sorry. I actually remember cringing when I wrote down that “comparison”. You’re right, there’s no similarity as far as the beat/tone/tembre/content between the two (I think in my ecstatic post show state I thought there was but I just re-listened to the tracks and no). Hence the second sentence noting that they are “nothing like MIA”.

    I should have just taken it out as it was unnecessary; in any case I prefer to emphasize the unique rather than point out similarities. More so in this case where I am making a fool out of myself.

    [Reply]

  2. [...] residency at Bruar Falls every Wednesday of December 2O!o, and after the last good residency by Hooray For Earth at Piano’s, we fully support this as it will be, we think, louder, [...]