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Brandeis University's Community Newspaper — Waltham, Mass.

Hotter in person

Published: October 19, 2007
Section: Arts, Etc.

Steven Bays has sweat on me. Why would I want Bays' or anyone else's sweat on me? The same reason anyone would want the bodily fluids of his favorite artist on him.

Now you might ask yourself, “could I ever have the opportunity to be sweat on by my favorite artist?” Well, sure! Just head on down to the intimate Paradise Rock Club right here in Boston.

The show was this past Thursday (October 11) and I was supposed to be finishing up an essay for my American Health Care class (which is a good class, if anyone is curious), but I decided to pull an all-nighter in the interest of seeing Hot Hot Heat. Nothing, not even an essay on health care, would keep me from seeing one of my favorite bands in concert.

My friend and I arrived at the venue just as the doors were opening. Neither of us had seen shows at this venue so we were shocked to see just how small it was. We positioned ourselves at the front, right at the stage, and became increasingly excited as show time loomed nearer.

The opening band was one I had never heard of from Nashville. They had great stage presence and matching outfits. Their songs were a mixture of upbeat alternative music with a bit of salsa mixed in. Even though most people had never heard the band's songs before, it was nearly impossible for the audience to keep itself from dancing to the music.

Second up was the Bedouin Sound Clash who were wonderful. They were much more mellow than their predecessors, and really kept the crowd entertained as well as feeling very much at peace with itself during the set.

Then, after what seemed like the longest sound check in history, Hot Hot Heat came to the stage. I have a friend who saw them at a festival recently. He saw them immediately after watching the Red Hot Chili Peppers perform. When he told me that he preferred Hot Hot Heat's performance to the Red Hot Chili Peppers, I was in total disbelief. Yet, after experiencing this show, I may just hold the same opinion as my friend after all (I was fortunate enough to see the Chili Peppers last year when they were here in Boston).

The band has possibly the greatest stage presence I've seen. The entire audience felt like it was a part of the show and Bays, the band's lead singer, played a major role in this. He was constantly running around the stage, shouting out to those in front as well as those positioned furthest from the stage. He would, at times, single girls out who were nearest stage and sing directly to them (yours truly may or may not have been one of these oh-so-lucky ladies).

I have never before seen a crowd respond so well. Everyone, whether they knew the band or not, was belting out lyrics left and right. They were putting all they had into singing one Hot Hot Heat verse or another. It was really refreshing to watch a group of people enjoy music that intensely.

Hot Hot Heat's set list was very well thought out. They had an even distribution of Make up the Breakdown, Elevator, and Happiness, Ltd. songs. Though most of them were their more commercial hits, the show was spectacular. When the band came out for its encore, Hot Hot Heat played an insane medley of various tunes before saying, “you've been an amazing crowd, but we must now say Goodnight, Goodnight,” and then proceeding to jump into the hit song.

Luke Paquin, Hot Hot Heat's guitarist and newest member, especially captured my attention. When asked who my favorite Beatle member is, I always reply George Harrison. Paquin so struck me due to his very Harrison-like mannerisms. He did not draw a large amount of attention to himself, not even whilst he was solo-ing, and yet he almost seemed to be enjoying the show more than anyone else. It was refreshing to see an artist so enjoying what he was doing.

The show was amazing. I would recommend a Hot Hot Heat show to anyone who has the desire to watch a band that truly loves and appreciates what it does. Also, even if you hate Hot Hot Heat, be sure to escape to at least one Paradise Rock Club show as the venue was truly amazing and gave fans the rare opportunity to be up close and personal with their favorite artist.