with The Young Electric and Timmy The Teeth
“You don’t seem impressed,” Jacob, my brother-in-law, said midway through Desert Noises’ set, “Do you not like them?” The thing is, I did. I was actually quite impressed with their skill and their songs—it was a much-better-than-average performance. The issue was not how good the band was, and they were quite good—the issue was who performed before them. “That’s not it at all, it’s just hard to have this,” I said, motioning toward the stage, “Follow that,” I point to the back of the room.
“This” was, of course, the aforementioned headliners, Desert Noises, a four-piece indie folk-rock group from Provo. Noises is a pretty well established local group, having toured quite extensively and played with such bands as Blitzen Trappen and The Head and the Heart. They have a tight sound, charming stage presence and an amazing lead guitarist, Pat Boyer. In fact, they have quite a bit going for them. But the “that” in the equation, The Young Electric, have all of that plus energy and presentation rarely seen in local groups.
It’s not that I would say one band is better than the other. It actually is quite debatable that, overall, Desert Noises is a more talented group of musicians. Hell, I would even go so far as to say that I prefer their genre of music. But Desert Noises’ laid-back style made for a bit of an anticlimactic evening, following the electricity and madness of their predecessors. In short, Desert Noises played a bunch of good songs; The Young Electric put on a show.
Riley Hamnett, lead vocalist of The Young Electric, is a force to be witnessed. It’s like Eli Sunday and David Marchand had a baby and summarily abandoned that baby on the doorstep of Mick Jagger’s house. Hamnett has conviction in the songs he is sings, or at least feigns that conviction incredibly well, and his band, as well as the audience, feed off of it. He was often seen jumping off of Natty Coleman’s bass drum, dancing around like Jagger or falling to his knees mid-song as he reached deep for a scream. Though “Golden” is probably their tightest, most radio-ready song, it’s hard to point out only one or two highlights from their set because the whole thing was set up in such a way that the songs flowed well, one into another—almost as if they were telling a story.
They started the set off with an intro version of “Patterns & Process,” quickly jumping into “Machines,” a track that shares the title of their upcoming album. They then marched, stomped and head-banged their way through a raucous show that had the entire band and a good chunk of the audience sweating through their clothes by the time they ended, with an outro version of “Patterns & Process.”
Desert Noises, as I mentioned, were a pronounced change of pace. I blame the placement of bands more than the bands themselves. If The Young Electric would have closed out the night, it would have been a different story completely. But I digress. Desert Noises played a mix of old and new songs, the highlight being “Oak Tree,” which I think was the best individual song played all night. Lead singer Kyle Henderson busted out of his shell for it and, combined with Boyer’s command of the guitar, the folky groove track was a great example of a very good band hitting on all cylinders.
A few other impressive tracks were opener “Hey Ah,” a slick, chanty track that adeptly introduced their style to the uninitiated among the crowd, and the Stephen Hawking inspired “Birds,” which featured Boyer absolutely shredding through a long guitar solo, leaving everyone in attendance speechless.
Before The Young Electric and Desert Noises, Timmy The Teeth held the stage in all of their moody alternative folk rock glory. Timothy George kept the whole thing together on acoustic guitar and lead vocals, but a lot of the acclaim was given to Dylan Schorer, who thrilled the audience on a pedal steel guitar, not an instrument often seen gracing the Velour stage. Playing through their White Horse album, Timmy The Teeth impressed the hundred or so people that were there early enough to see them, most notably the girl at the door taking money, who on a number of occasions was shushing the crowd during the band’s quieter moments.
As the evening ended, I was left both impressed and frustrated by the three bands who performed and the order in which they played. It was a diverse bill, and I feel like if The Young Electric and Desert Noises would have switched, it would have resulted in a much more rewarding experience for the audience.