Words by Will Suter
Photos by Maia Stern
I originally went out to The Blender Theater At Gramercy last night to support my good friend and emo folklore tour manager Jon Cheese. He's been on a million tours, keeping 16 year old girls off stage, selling reasonably priced merch, and getting wasted in a different city every night. This particular night he was coming through town with Hellogoodbye, a 5-piece from Long Beach, California.
Much like T-Pain, Hellogoodbye rose to fame on the heels of the vocoder and it plays a heavy party in their live show. Lead singer Forrest Kline was actually surprised every time that he would talk into said vocoder before he began a song. It was weird, but he kept mentioning how the sound that the vocoder emits is what it feels like to be on drugs. There were actually a ton of drug references during the performance to the all ages (16 and under must be accompanied by adult) crowd. Didn't really go into the show thinking that this was going to be an open forum on hallucinogens and general mind-expanders.
They were talking about E, Acid, and smoking drugs. Around the 5th or 6th reference to be whacked out on acid I realized what this bands MO is: they are taking The Beatles route. They've taken their name from a Beatles song and they've realized the best way to get your music out there and to a wide audience is to start your career by making shitty pop music that little kids (specifically young girls) swoon over. Subsequently, as those kids get older, they take more drugs and you can start to write decent songs (without the use of a vocoder).
That said, this band is no Beatles, but their songs are getting much, much better. Their new stuff leans more towards Beiruit than it does Fall Out Boy. Also, they played a brand new gem last night that was reminiscent of early, "Tenleytown" Walkmen. For most indie-music heads that find their way to this site and this article, I wouldn't go out and buy any Hellogoodbye albums (yet), but I would suggest taking some Ecstacy and going to see them live.