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All photos Jeff Martin
All words Josh Stewart

I think Bear Hands took the small but collectively earnest crowd by surprise by playing consistent pop-rock hooks.  The drums were automatic and the bass was huge, giving the weekend warrior-ish crowd some much needed groove.  Bear Hands combined this with the right amount of the “good kind” er… of MGMT.  They have the COOL DAD demographic locked down for sure.  Songs to check out are “Blood and Treasure” and Tablasaurus.”

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Yeasayer (minus) vocals x Ratatat = Delicate Steve.  Caribbean rhythms, jangly guitars, and strangely catchy melodies made this band an interesting fit for this bill.  Lots of almost too epic builds and some serious guitar work by front man… Steve.  Songs to check out are “Butterfly” and “Sugar Splash.”

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This was my third time seeing Small Black; the last was a very cool basement show in Bloomingdale, so I was anxious to see if they could win me over a third time.  I was not disappointed as the band played their self-branded casio-blaze pop, accompanied by strategically placed flashing neon lights.

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A knee-jerk reaction is to write them off as an homage to The Cure, but the band wins you over despite that, converting an aesthetic (think… dudes with calculator-watches riding jet-skis) into a tangible feeling powered serious nostalgia.  My only suggestion is that the band invest in an industrial smoke machine, lasers, and Mega-Man NES b-roll projected onto a big screen.  Songs to check out are “Despicable Dogs”, “Bad Lover” and “Camouflage.”

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