Since I know a lot of people only read the first few sentences of these reviews, I'll say this now: Even if you've never heard of the Horrorpops / not a big fan / whatever, GO SEE THEM. They put on a hell of a show (no pun intended), and to be quite honest with you, it was a bit of a surprise. Being a fan of the Horrorpops, I've of course always wanted to see them, but I never expected a show like the one that was given on Monday at Mr. Smalls in Pittsburgh. The Horrorpops were simply amazing, which I'll get into after introducing the two opening bands.
The show started relatively late in the night, around eight or so, with the Wilmington, California band Left Alone taking the stage. I wasn’t familiar with this band’s material, but I didn’t need to be. The stage presence of Elvis Cortez (guitar/vocals) and hell, even the rest of the band completely made up for any first-time listeners who might have felt “left alone” (pun fully intended). The whole band just seemed to have this energy that extended into the crowd, getting everyone to move, which is something I rarely see happen at a show. Usually kids are just standing around staring at the opening bands they’ve never heard of, not starting circle pits and skanking. The band played a healthy amount of songs (“Another Feeling” seemed to be a crowd favorite), and the sound that was coming out of the speakers was nearly perfect. It honestly felt like I was listening to a CD; the balance between the guitars, drums, and vocals was great. I’d try to pin down what this band sounds like, but whatever example I’d give would probably be wrong. Personally, I’d just say that they’re straight-up punk with ska influences but hey, that’s just my opinion. Do yourself a favor and check ‘em out on your own.
The next band to take the stage was Roger Miret and the Disasters, who I’m sure some of you are familiar with. Hailing from NYC, the Disasters also did not disappoint, even though once again, I wasn’t too familiar with their work. They put out a solid set, but the sound was nowhere near as good as Left Alone’s was. Roger Miret’s vocals were unfortunately muffled, which slightly took away from their performance. Overall though, the band came out and put on a great effort.
Finally, the time had come for the Horrorpops. The band took the stage like they owned it, and immediately opened up with “Ghouls.” Now, I knew they had dancers and the like, but I just didn’t realize how great everything went together. Naomi and Kamilla could put on a show of their own if they wanted to, with their constant dancing and playing around with lollipops, toy guns, paper hand fans, and heart-shaped pillows. I have honestly never seen so much underwear at one time. Incredible. The sound the Horrorpops produce isn’t really “jump up and down / smash everyone around you.” Instead, you basically just want to dance, which is exactly what the crowd did (for the most part, at least), sometimes following Naomi and Kamilla’s every move. As for the actual sound coming out of the speakers, it was as nearly perfect as Left Alone’s. Oh, and if you own a Horrorpops album, pop it in and give it a listen, they sound that good live.
The Horrorpops had a lot of crowd interaction throughout their set, constantly telling us to give them a “Hell yeah!” or to start dancing. During the early part of the show, they asked us if we wanted hear a ska song and that they would only play it if we all kept moving. They started the song, but about ten seconds in started to trail off, with Patricia putting down her huge bass and sitting on it. Apparently we weren’t moving enough. Normally, this type of thing just pisses me off at shows, with my view being that if I want to do something, I’ll do it, with or without the band’s approval. But the chemistry of Patricia Day and Kim Nekroman with the audience almost immediately won me over along with everyone else there. Nekroman was great, constantly urging the crowd to throw their fists in the air, and at the end of the night went around introducing every band member to the crowd in their own hilarious way. As for Patricia…well, she just had to stand there and look gorgeous as always.
The whole show just seemed to fly by, so I might be off a little bit with how long the Horrorpops actually played, but I do believe it was close to an hour and forty minutes. They played what seemed to be an equal amount of songs (if not all the songs) off of Hell Yeah! and Bring it On!, pleasing just about everyone in the crowd. After they left the stage with what was supposedly their last song, “Kool Flattop,” they came right back out for an encore, playing my personal favorite “Psychobitches Outta Hell” and finally “Julia.” The perfect end to a perfect show.
So, if you ever feel like going to show without getting the shit punched and kicked out of you and just dance around and have a good time, go see the Horrorpops. You won’t be disappointed.