Add balloons, candy in jack-o-lantern buckets, chocolate raspberry cake, and Hot Hot Heat together, and you have the makings for one of the best birthday parties on the West Coast. Indie club Popscene turned 11 last Thursday night, and the Canucks were in town to host the affair, complete with rocking synth keys and giant curly hairdos.
Taking tracks from their first two albums and their newest Happiness LTD released last week, the band tore a solid 40-minute set for the club's birthday. The audience danced and blew party horns throughout the set, which featured new single "Let Me In" as well as old favorites "Good Night, Good Night," "Talk To Me, Dance With Me," and "Bandages," which first broke them onto the music scene. Lead singer Steve Bays continually enthused his adoration and love for all things San Francisco between songs, professing his love for Popscene during one heartfelt speech by thanking the crowd for following them for so long and coming out to support not only the group but indie music as well.
While a slideshow of the club's flyers and live band photos throughout its history played on monitors across the dance floor, Bays and co. rocked mostly new material off Happiness LTD, the title track finding a more mature electronic sound and "Give Up" offering dance-worthy beats and the return of a more indie sound. Though I did notice the cowbell was missing, I forgave HHH by noting the supreme growth the band has taken on in the three and a half years since I had last seen them: they've been able to solidify a sound and voice all their own, and their focus to combine dance-friendly songs with more poignant rock-oriented themes pays off. I can only wish they'd be able to play my birthday party. Happy birthday Popscene!