The Hoa Hoa's @ Comfort Zone
By: Orlando da Silva
The second Hoa Hoa's LP caught my eye out of a long list of albums SoundProof received last year because of its title - Pop/Drone/Pedals - three of my favourite things ever, all represented rather aptly across 13 tracks of dreamy psychedelic indie pop.
I know all of these things sound like buzzwords for the kind of music critics drool over, because they are. But so what? In the end, The Hoa Hoa's rely on tight catchy songs (catchy even when they're slow and dreary) that rely as much on smart melodies as they do on reverb and too-cool-for-school lyrics. Considering how much I have listened to and loved Pop/Drone/Pedals in the past year it's mildly shocking that I haven't been able to catch one of their many shows in Toronto until now, but alas.
The good news is that The Hoa Hoa's were just as good as I had expected. They didn't go apeshit crazy and beat the crowd into submission or anything, they just stood there, all dressed in white, played mostly two note riffs, and shared vocal duties. A friend once described this to me as the reason he didn't like them live, but frankly I couldn't see them doing anything else. This is swaying music, if you wanna rock out just wait for the next band. Not to say that they're tame live, they just do the volume thing way more than the energy thing. Set highlights included "Vinyl Richie", "Feels So Good", and especially "Hey Joe" - the songs that filled the room with swirling echo worked best in the modestly packed Comfort Zone.
The only complaint I have is that I don't think they played "Postcards". Can't say with certainty though... I came to this show right after having seen Anti Flag, whom I blame for making me drink too much in order to cope with their legion of ugly fans (ugly on the inside mostly), so I may have been a little drunk by this point. That's not really a complaint though, it's more so a way for me to state that "Postcards" is a really great song, and mention one last time how much I hated Anti Flag.
Video: “Vinyl Richie“ by The Hoa Hoa's