Hot Hot Heat

A review of Hot Hot Heat at the Paradise Rock Club on October 11, 2007

, Staff

The Paradise Rock Club was near capacity Thursday night as Hot Hot Heat played to hundreds of sweaty indie rock parishioners pumping their fists and shouting the lyrics of each song at the top of their lungs.

Hot Hot Heat\’s latest record, Happiness Ltd., has been labeled as safe and middle-aged by a throng of critics. It is not as inventive as Elevator or Make Up the Breakdown. It fails on almost every level at trying to succeed these two otherwise perfectly conceived pop-punk records.

Many say that they have taken a more radio friendly path, which is in all likelihood the truth. However mediocre the album is, though, it did not by any means come off that way live.

If you can first get over the fact that when lead vocalist Steve Bays sings he looks like nothing short of a velocer raptor, constantly and unflinchingly sticking his tongue out with every lyric, then you can begin to enjoy the show. Bays\’ energy, along with a myriad of splendid pop punk riffs and quick, clean drumbeats make it hard for even the stiffest of stiffs to stand still.

The band kicked the night off with the first single from Happiness Ltd, "Let Me In," one of those safe sounding made for radio hits. But from there on out it was a veritable survey of their entire body of work.

Hot Hot Heat played for nearly two hours, Bays\’ frumpy afro puff more of a sweat rag by nights\’ end than a hairdo. Hanging above the stage were numerous oversized light bulbs that would flash on and off throughout the set. It looked like a scene out of Tim Burton\’s Big Fish.

"5 Times Out of 100" revved the crowd up, as did songs like "Dirty Mouth" and "Shame on You." "Bandages," the band\’s first and arguably biggest hit to date, was held till later in the set, but to a large ovation.

The band exited the stage for a few moments only to come charging back to as loud a din as can be created by a few hundred frantic fans. They closed with "Goodnight Goodnight." A tad cliché, but fitting nonetheless.

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