Thursday, July 23, 2015

Run With Me When Hope is High | Humming House Live Review

What better way to spend a Friday night than a girls’ night in the city with the best young ladies in the Midwest? Add Humming House performing live at the Blue Door to the equation and you have a recipe for pretty much the best night ever. Before I launch into the rest of this review, I want to throw a disclaimer out there. This is not going to be so much a critical review as much as it will be me gushing about how amazing this group is! If you have never heard Humming House’s music, I suggest you go and take a listen to their latest album here.

Out of all the artists I have seen perform live, Humming House might just be my favorite. It’s a close tie between Humming House and Mumford & Sons right now but honestly Humming House might win and here’s why.

They kept it classy.

Presentation is not everything when it comes to performing musicians but it is a very important factor. Humming House kept it classy all evening. Their outfits were clean-cut and presentable but not too formal. There was no excessive swearing on stage and while there was some playful banter and back-and-forth between the members on stage, they never let this distract from their music and performance. They also maintained a humble and grateful attitude without being apologetic.

Their chemistry.

The best performing groups are the groups that communicate with one another while they are playing. This not only makes the show more exciting for the audience, but it also keeps the group in sync and makes for a stronger performance all around. Humming House has an amazing chemistry. They have so much fun playing together and it shows. I could feel the genuine joy and energy they put into their music and it was hard to keep from clapping, dancing and singing along. 

The pace of the program.

They kept the performance going at a good pace. This is a key element to live performances, one that often gets overlooked especially with smaller audiences and venues. Humming House kept things moving at a fast clip, often going straight into another song after finishing the previous one. They took time to tune, of course, and every now and then they paused to briefly explain or introduce a song, tell a funny story or thank their audience and host. But they never took too much time in between songs or rambled on for too long which kept the audience engaged and also kept their momentum going throughout the whole evening.

The venue.

The venue was one of the main contributing factors that made this live performance so much fun. The Blue Door is a fantastic, intimate listening room. There is no bar, people are not noisy or rowdy during the performance (unless the band encourages them to be) and the audience is respectful of the musicians performing. I am all for hooping, clapping and dancing during a live performance...but only if the artists request it. Our culture has lost a common respect for artists as well as proper etiquette for live performances. It was refreshing to be in an atmosphere that recognized and promoted that respect. The balance of the sound was clear and clean and we were sitting in the VERY FRONT ROW which was pretty spectacular. That, my friend, is why you show up thirty minutes before the doors open.

Consistency, variety and creativity.

There are those bands whose songs all sound the same. Then there are the artists who can't pick a genre and every song is completely diferent. Humming House successfully integrates a variety of instruments into their songs, fusing together a mixture of classical, jazz, Irish and bluegrass influences into a sound that is uniquely and consistently their own. They like to throw in something just a little different into every song, whether it’s dueling ukulele and violin, a harmonica, a sweet mandolin or bass solo, a sudden change in time meter or tempo, or a sweet jazz chord progression...still they manage to stay true to their sound while expanding new horizons. 

The vocals.

Humming House has some of the best vocals ever. The vocals are good on the recording, but even more powerful live. I loved the back-and-forth and the harmonies between the two leads. Admittedly I was taken aback when the whole band started singing and they all sounded good. There was never that one, warbling voice that sounded a bit off. They all sang in tune and their voices blended so well together, kind of in the same way their personalities complimented one another. Vocals are often the weak point of a band. I am more willing to forgive mediocre vocals if everything else is there, but it’s refreshing when a group sings and harmonizes really, really well.

The musicianship.

It doesn’t matter how good of a performer you are if you are a bad musician. Humming House did not disappoint on this level. They kept their musicianship and instrumentation at a quality level at all times. I always appreciate a band that knows their limit but is still willing to be adventurous musically. I also appreciate a band that obviously knows their stuff, when I can tell every member has practiced, refined and devoted themselves to their skill. I was seriously impressed with how versatile every single member of the band was. They were always pulling a new trick out of their hat.

On their website Humming House describes themselves as “fundamentally and emphatically a liveband.” I could not have summarized them any better. Their recordings are clean and well-produced but you really do not get the full effect until you witness them live. In today’s culture of overly produced, electric and auto-tune music, it is so encouraging to see a band committed to mastering and preserving the live performance with excellent musicianship, beautiful vocals, unmatched energy and enthusiasm and a whole lot of class. I suggest you go to their website, read their bio and familiarize yourself a little more with this superb band and then go and download some of their fantastic music.


Highlights.

Personal favorite highlights of the evening include basically any time the bassist had a solo, when the fiddler started beat boxing, when they played "Dawn" because it's my favorite song and because ukulele and pizzicato violin duets are the best, when the fiddler and mandolin player were practically dueling one another, when the band finished their set and exited through the back of the stage out the blue door...and then when they came back on and played "Gypsy Django" and told everyone to get up and dance! And then when they stuck around afterward to say high to fans. Yeah, they are pretty much the best people ever. 

Much thanks to the Blue Door for hosting such a great band. Thank you Humming House for coming to Oklahoma and please come again soon!

Also, a big thank-you to my friend Hannah for taking pictures and letting me use them. See more of her photography here. As always, your pictures are fantastic Hannah, almost as fantastic as you. Thank you Hannah and Bridget for inspiring and instigating this adventure! Thank you Ruth for being my partner in crime. Thank you Abby for fangirling about books and anime movies with me and for adding so much joy and fun to the whole night. You all are the best and make life beautiful. 

After seeing Humming House, all of us starry eyed girls went to iHop to hang out (and rave about how good Humming House is). No late night city adventure is complete without a trip to iHop. Below I shared some pictures of our restaurant shenanigans. The last photo was taken by our waitress who was a personable woman with a thick southern drawl. She called us all "sugar" and "darlin''" and was pretty much the sweetest ever so we left her a big tip and a note of appreciation. Here's to good times with the best sort of people! 

Let's do it again soon.


Waiting for the doors to open. 

All of us
Waiting for Humming House!! 

These two lovely faces.

We can't stop smiling and talking about Humming House!!


Sleep-deprived Dani struggles to remember how to pour coffee.

All of us! Thanks to our wonderful waitress!!


Photography Credit

8 comments :

  1. It was the best of times. ^.^

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. "... it was the worst of times"?
      I guess I should probably read the rest of it before trying to make any more references.

      Delete
  2. Sounds like a lot of fun! Also, I think you have just introduced me to a new favorite band. I had never heard of them until now, but I really liked it! Thanks for sharing! ;)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm so glad to hear that, Hannah! They are really fun. :)

      Delete
  3. Lovely photos, Dani! It looks like you had a beautiful time :). Much love <3.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Sounds like you had a wonderful time! And from your review, at least, they sound like a great group! :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It was, indeed! Thank you for stopping by, Bethany! :D

      Delete

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...