The Hippodrome’s stage was graced with the talent of two amazing South Carolinian acts this past Saturday. The Lovely Few of Columbia opened up for Charleston’s own Steven Fiore, providing two different yet equally enjoyable music and performance styles.
After enjoying some introductions and chit-chat in the lobby of The Hippodrome, we found our seats as The Lovely Few began their set with “Smoke in the Field,” a nostalgic expression of memory that leaves a bittersweet mix of emotions behind it. Where the recorded version of the song is more upbeat and sweet, TLF slowed the tempo for the live performance, giving it more of a painful tone. Songs from the group’s recently released EP The Orionids were featured as well. “Try Again” was the perfect song to hear in the midst of finals week—it gave me the juice to keep on going. They also played “Sci Fi Novels,” a personal favorite of mine, a song about “thinking too much and not being able to sleep.” Along with “Smoke in the Field” Mewborne and Davis played a couple of numbers from their full-length release The Perseids like “Perseus,” about the Greek hero of the same name and “Cassiopeia.” Although the lyrics to “Cassiopeia” are dark and ominous, it nevertheless made me feel like I could crush an entire planet with my bare hands.
As if the songs themselves weren’t amazing enough, the guys behind the melodies are musical masterminds. The electronic beats and riffs are a combination of recordings on Mike’s Macbook and whatever multi-instrumentalist Alan plays on his iPad. I don’t know about you, but I don’t know of many bands that use an iPad as an instrument in their live shows. Their tunes are catchy but not annoyingly so, and their lyrics bring show full circle. It’s people like these that make me proud to be from Columbia.
After The Lovely Few finished up with “Cassiopeia,” Steven Fiore took to the stage with a full band backing him. He played mostly upbeat songs, which I wasn’t expecting but was nonetheless pleased with. They played songs of the past, such as “Light Gun” and “Styrofoam Airplane” as well as songs from his yet to be released album like “White & Blue” and “All This Is,” the latter of which is to be a B-side. If Steven were to play a cover, I would have expected “Skinny Love” or another go at “Hallelujah” but we were given a good yank of the chain with his rendition of Katy Perry’s “Teenage Dream.” While the original isn’t necessarily my favorite track in my iTunes library, Fiore’s cover of the song made me laugh but also sit in awe of his bold choice. All in all, it was a wonderful set. Fiore with a full band, while different from what some of us are used to with him, worked his charm just as he did from that little wooden chair in front of the stage at the PURE Theatre; it merely showed another side to his versatile musical persona.
While the musicians put on a good show, I do believe that the real star of the show was the remote-control shark seen floating about the theater from time to time. Dubbed “Wally” by Fiore, the shark is one of many characters spotted at shows held at The Hippodrome, along with a clown fish and who knows what else. Their presence in the air does make sense, since The Hippodrome is right next door to the Charleston Aquarium.