The show at Hailey’s Friday night might have to go down in the books. It was outstanding and substantial. For a mere $8, people were given more of an actual concert than just a live show in the venue. The O’s opened up with a small set but Gentleman Reg and The Hidden Cameras played sets worthy of a bigger venue. If only more people were there.
The O’s opened to a small crowd of about 15. That didn’t stop them from performing their Americana rock at full force. They sounded crisp and their multi-instrument playing at one time is kind of phenomenal to watch. It was a small set but they tore through every minute of it without abandon despite the small turnout.
When Gentleman Reg took the stage, he owned it from the get-go. His four-piece band performed in perfect cohesion and even though his music is a folkier pop style, they rocked it out.
Without a lot of fanfare, they tore through each song to the growing crowd. Reg’s light banter with the audience was cute. When he’s with his guitar he’s like a force to be reckoned with. If he’s just singing, he’s a little daintier but in the way a frontman should be striking the right poses and emoting where he needs to. His presence is both commanding and friendly and his voice came through strikingly. Everything about their show was right. The sound caught each member’s vocals and instruments perfectly, the songs were the rights one for the right night. Although all the band members were on target, his drummer Dana Snell kicked so much ass, she was as much a show herself. She never butched it out either which was refreshing. It’s no fun to watch a female drummer try to match her male counterparts. Never a pretty sight.
But overall, Gentleman Reg gave the show of a lifetime that night, which he probably forgot by the time he got to Austin for his next gig.
The Hidden Cameras began in gloriously strange fashion. Coming out in the dark with candles and black hoods, they took the stage in creepy druid fashion. It was cool because in such a small venue, theatrics are hard to pull off but the band was committed to it and it was both weird and exciting. After their opener, they went into full fledge concert mode and gave a solid and long show. The funny thing is, they were always good, just never great. Perhaps it’s because the band is so big, there is lots to look at like charismatic frontman Joel Gibbs, the energetic keyboardist Laura Barrett or Jamie McCarthy, the hunkiest violinist this side of anybody. So perhaps it was the divisive attention that was necessary to take the whole show in that made it something to just enjoy and dance to. Which the young crowd did with abundance.
Snell told me later that this was one of their better shows and crowds from the tour so far. The crowd grew to about 35 and by the end, it was a big fun dance party. Guys dancing with guys, girls dancing with guys, girls dancing with girls, it was the kind of revelry one would hope for in a bouncy live show.
TOOLBOX: I’d like to take this moment to introduce my Toolbox segment. Somehow, at every show I go to, someone has to go and be a tool. This guy below decided he would talk as loud as he could during the slower moments of the show. What made it more douchey was that he clearly did it on purpose. When a song finished and applause quieted, he had to ask his friends out loud, “Wanna go somewhere else?” Or when a song finished he yelled, “Who smokes?” He got his attention but I just wanted to give him a little more. So please add this Dentonian asshat to the Toolbox.