Someone Still Loves You Boris Yeltsin/Ha Ha Tonka; October 8, 2011; Hotel Utah Saloon, San Francisco
The Hotel Utah Saloon has its charms- the food was delicious, the staff super friendly- but its capacity as a venue is not one of them. In fact, I’m not even sure why someone thought they should have shows here, at least not ones they expect to draw more than twenty people. And this co-headlining bill certainly did that. The room was tiny and oddly shaped, with a balcony above it that offered a right on top of the band view of the stage, still, over a hundred folks braved it. My friend who lives in San Francisco picked a safe corner to watch the show from. It was her first time seeing Ha Ha Tonka and she reported that she really enjoyed them and that the sound didn’t suck in the back. I was glad on both counts, especially because the sound did suck in the space stage right that the merch area was wedged into. In fact Someone Still Loves You Boris Yeltsin’s very entertaining merch guy Nathan elected to wait the show out just outside the music room. Good call.
I had seen SSLYBY several years ago at the Belmont Street Festival in Chicago. I watched one song before deciding they weren’t my thing and wandering off to another stage. I feel bad about that now, because as it turns out they are exactly my thing. There are two lead singers in the band, John and Phil, and they split the set between them. It would be hard to pick who I liked better if it weren’t for Phil’s song “Yellow Missing Signs,” which became my new favorite song tonight and I looked forward to it every night. It’s actually a sad song about three women who went missing several years ago in Springfield MO and still haven’t been found, but it’s disguised in a ridiculously catchy dance beat. I look forward to seeing them again the next two nights.