Early in the morning of September 1st, I found myself sleeping on a rather sketchy street in Los Angeles, lining up to see HUNNY. Passerbys could not even fathom why two young girls would be alone out here for hours to see one of their favorite bands. Despite the blistering heat and exhaustion, the excitement lingered throughout the day until doors opened.
The show finally began with a quartet from LA called Boyo. I had never heard their music at all but was pleasantly surprised. Overall, the instrumentals took a slightly slower route than HUNNY, or even Hot Flash Heat Wave, but still had a groovy vibe. I was really impressed with front man, Robert Tilden, and the way he hit a wide range of notes including falsettos. Hot Flash Heat Wave was up next. I first saw this San Francisco based group in their hometown only two weeks prior and immediately fell in love with their retro sound and live performance. The LA crowd was almost completely unfamiliar but quickly wanted more. Something about the LA show made everything seem electric, particularly during Hot Flash Heat Wave’s set. The most interesting thing about Hot Flash Heat Wave is that Adam (guitarist), Ted (bassist), and Nathan (guitarist) all sing backup and lead vocals on different songs bringing forth a unique quality with their interchanging voices. By the end of the show, these talented boys had the crowd wanting more.
Finally, HUNNY was up to perform. Right out of the gate, the LA crowd got wild as soon as the first notes were played. Every HUNNY show is extremely physical and exhausting, but a very worthwhile experience. The band played almost all of their songs including an unreleased track called “Rebel Red” which was extremely catchy and fun. As the set was winding down, I honestly didn’t think it could get any better, but before the last song, “Vowels (And the Importance of Being Me),” Christo Bowman of Bad Suns ran out on stage and dived into the crowd. Not too soon after, HUNNY lead singer Jason followed suit. After Jason was returned to the stage, he picked up keyboardist and vocalist Kevin and threw him over his shoulders and ran around the stage. A few moments later, drummer Joe played the last few notes and the show ended. Afterwards with the help of my newfound friend, Ted of Hot Flash Heat Wave, I was able to give bandmate Nathan an early birthday present. As I waited to say goodbye to all the lovely lads from Hot Flash Heat Wave, my heart stopped: Ryan Winnen of COIN emerged from the ballroom doors and stood right in front of me. I could tell that he, Chase, and Joe Memmel were trying to make an escape but I had to say something. I honestly don’t know where I got the courage but I exclaimed, “Ryan, hi!” and stretched out my arms to receive the biggest hug from him. Chase was at the end of their little line and I hugged him as well. They all seemed so happy to see me and I told them I was excited to see them next weekend at High and Low Fest. They blew me kisses as they walked out of the venue. Afterward, still in shock, I headed home to shower, pack, and start the drive to Fresno for night two. I honestly thought, “After a night like that, how can it get any better?” Boy was I wrong.
7 a.m. marked the start of a grueling day in the Fresno sun. Armed with two hours of sleep and several bottles of water, my friends and I waited to relive the magical night we had at the Teregram Ballroom. The stage was smaller and more intimate than the night before. Wee Beasties started off the show with the assistance of friends from local Bakersfield band, Hate Drugs. As a first time visitor of Fresno, I had no idea that the crowd would be so crazy for Wee Beasties. Their set was very intense and dance-y and the crowd was very involved. I thought that similar to the LA show that the crowd would only get more pumped as the show progressed.
When Hot Flash Heat Wave came out, my friends and I were the most dedicated and into their music, but the rest of the crowd kept up with us. Nathan was wearing the birthday girl pin I gave him from the night before and the whole crowd sang “Happy Birthday” under Adam’s leadership. Ted even looked down on us during the set and said, “Hello again!” and smiled at us. I personally felt that their set at Fresno was even better than the night previous. The set list changed slightly with the addition of “Jacuzzi” and one of my personal favorites “Bye Bye Baby”.
Once HUNNY came out, the crowd’s energy intensified. Despite some early errors with a smoke machine during “Televised,” the song ended with a lovely moment when Jason sat on the barricade and serenaded the crowd with a snippet from “Parking Lot”. During the set, Jason and Kevin remarked on how surprised they were that anyone showed up. As the set wound down, I started to realize that these magical two days were about to come to an end so I gave my all during the finale. After the show, I was able to talk to HUNNY’s drummer Joe, my personal favorite. I first met him in June at the Bad Suns/HUNNY/Field Medic show in LA. As I approached and hugged him he said, “Hello there front row!”. We talked for a while about the show and the upcoming tour with Bad Suns in the fall. Afterwards, I said hello to my favorite boys from Hot Flash Heat Wave. I highly recommend that you should give them a listen. They are honestly some of the sweetest and most beautiful people I have ever met.
Both nights had their highlights and I’m so blessed that I was able to go to both. I can’t wait for what HUNNY and Hot Flash Heat Wave have in their future. All I know is, I will try my best to be there for all of it in the front row.
Written by: Savannah Rico