I don’t often book bands I haven’t seem, and it’s been years since I’ve booked a band I haven’t actually heard, but sometimes there are exceptions. The only thing that I knew about the Hushdrops is that they had been around forever, though they seldom play and even less frequently release a record, and that drummer Joe Camarillo was one of the members. Add to that the fact that Kelly Hogan was the one who sent them emphatically my way, and I said yes in a heartbeat. In addition to Camarillo, who drums with the Waco Brothers, Skull Orchard and many others, the other band members keep busy too. Lead singer/songwriter John San Juan has solo projects and a real job, while bassist Jim Shapiro is the drummer for Veruca Salt, who have recently been quite active. Given the schedules, it’s no wonder they took so long between releases and why scheduling a tour can be a bit of a challenge.
Tomorrow Vol 2 followed volume one almost a decade later, and the double record set is an eclectic mix of classic rock ready anthems and catchy power pop. Some instantly memorable, some harder to pin down. Live they also varied from one end of the spectrum to the other, from polished rockers to gritty breakdowns. While much of the time their vocals were smooth and harmonic, they could also be raw and cacophonic. Though the latter might have as much to do with a bottle of Powers as it did with infrequency of playing. Even when it didn’t sound amazing, it was still a ton of fun, and the just past awkward sized audience was enthusiastic about a band some of them hadn’t seen in years.
I was a bit at a loss of who to ask to open. The only band that came to mind already had a gig, which was surprising since they don’t play that often. Eventually I came up with Paul Otteson’s Faux Fawn. They aren’t the same genre, but they are really good. Vocalist Audre Rae is the newest member of the band, and an excellent addition. Her grounded vocals serve to anchor Otteson’s almost too pretty voice. Even more remarkably, she manages to keep up with him lyrically. There are a lot of words in his songs, and she gets by with only a few glances at her page of notes. The rhythm section is impeccable, the always smiling Luke Bassuener on drums and upright bassist Tom McCarty make for a formidable combo. Otteson reminisced about his CD release show in the basement years earlier, and how Rae had been in the audience that night, “falling in love with the drummer.” The two do make an adorable couple. In fact, everything about Faux Fawn was perfect tonight. My sound guy swooned over them, declaring his perfect show would be them and Team Awesome (who had played just a few weeks earlier). Not a bad idea.