If you weren’t at 5 Points Pub last Wednesday to see Heyrocco and Civil Twilight put on a show, then I feel very sorry for you. Both bands came to play (literally) and both bands won the crowd over. Heyrocco started off their set with “The American Tourist” and then went on with “Whales,” from their recently released album Comfort. I took the fact that they played my two favorite songs of their’s at the very beginning as a sign that the show could only get better as the night went on.
In Heyrocco’s case, that was definitely true. After a couple of slower songs, they launched into “Brothers,” an upbeat, kind of anthem-ish tune from their Friends Mixtape that really can only be described as infectious. After that they played a new song, the title of which is either “Math” or “Meth,” I couldn’t tell which one, but whether it’s about that subject in school that we all love to hate or that drug thing, it’s amazing. Then came another song from Comfort, “Alaska 1957,” the live version of which was just as amazing as the recorded version, even though there was no cow bell. They covered “I Ran” by the English 80’s rock group A Flock of Seagulls; I’ve never really been a fan of the original, but Heyrocco’s rendition of it made me appreciate the song a tad bit more. They closed their set with “Rave Monks,” which gave us enough juice to make it through the rest of the night.
Heyrocco is an impressive band, not just because they write amazing music and are great performers, but also because they have formed such a versatile and mature three-piece entity at such a young age. I know many wannabe musicians around their age who don’t have even a fraction of the talent that Nathan, Tanner, and Chris of have and constantly throw in our faces, leaving us with dropped jaws and a desire to buy all of their music. What with their awesome lyrics, instrumentality, and Nathan’s unique voice, I have high hopes that they can go very far in their musical career.
After a twenty-minute wait, Civil Twilight hit the stage, starting off with “Highway of Fallen Kings,” “Every Walk I Have Ever Taken Has Been In Your Direction,” and “Move/Stay.” These songs and the four that followed all blurred together and sounded the same to me. Thankfully, the last part of the set was so much better. As soon as they started playing “Letters To The Sky” and then went straight into “Fire Escape,” there was hope for redemption. They then covered Massive Attack’s “Teardrop,” the hook of which many of you would recognize as the theme song to the popular television series House M.D. During “Teardrop,” lead vocalist/bassist Steven McKellar jumped into the crowd for a run through of the chorus and a solo. I would have found this entertaining and, dare I say, charming, if he wasn’t stumbling into people left and right. Overall, this was a pretty decent cover; although, why anyone would even attempt to cover it after Newton Faulkner took a shot at it, I’ll never understand. My favorite moment from their set was when Steven played “Quiet In My Town,” acoustically, just him and a guitar on stage. He took hold of all of our hearts when he sang, “Today is quiet in Columbia, South Carolina.” I was so pleasantly surprised by this number that I almost forgot about the first half of the set. They ended the night with “What You Want,” and even though most of the ground chanted a resounding “One more song!” the set was complete.
I feel like my disappointment in Civil Twilight’s set was kind of egged on by how impressive and entertaining Heyrocco’s was. Civil Twilight didn’t engage with the audience as much, and to me, interaction with the people who took time out of their lives to come and see you play is almost as important as the music. I understand that they’re from a different country and the etiquette may differ somewhat, but in a venue that small, it’s easy for some members of the audience to feel a disconnect from the performer, especially if there is hardly any acknowledgement from them. Overall, Civil Twilight seemed like they were putting up an indifferent front and while they were really into the music they were playing, they didn’t seem excited to be playing it. They’re all wonderful musicians and their music is great, but the live show kind of put a damper on my Civil Twilight party train.
Suffice to say, Heyrocco won the evening with their quirky charm, infectious energy, and unique sound. Make sure to check out Comfort, download it a time or ten, and do your darndest to see them play live as soon as possible.