H&LA founding members Kim Ann Foxman and Andy Butler.
Hercules & Love Affair
Wednesday, August 11
When I got to Neumos last night at around 9:30 to pick up my tickets, there were maybe 5 people inside the venue. A worrisome sign, since the doors had been open since 8:00. But by the time we had a few drinks at Oddfellow's and returned for Hercules & Love Affair's set at 11:00, the room was packed. Hercules' mastermind, DJ Andy Butler, took to the back of the stage but spent the entire set dancing energetically, while his three vocalists took front and center, all in a row. Kim Ann Foxman is H&LA veteran with a peppy, nasally voice (think Nelly Furtado) and she was joined by newcomers Aerea Negrot and Shaun Wright. The vibes between the entire group were flowing -- Foxman, Negrot, and Wright rotated for the center position and spent the entire show working up an amazing chemistry amongst themselves, sharing harmonies, hugs, and some kisses. They look great together, too -- the sensuous and smooth Negrot wore a silky polka-dotted blouse, Wright was in an awesome African getup with a tribal printed tunic and a headwrap, and Fowler (and Butler) was in self-promotional mode, wearing a H&LA t-shirt.
My one point of confusion is why this show was advertised as a "full band" -- unlike past H&LA concerts which have featured bass and guitar, this show was only vocals and electronics. The group played a smattering of new songs that will likely appear on the upcoming Blue Songs, and there's a large focus on the loud bass and sharp, techno rhythms. They also played favorites from their 2008 self-titled debut, like "Athene," "You Belong," and, of course, the crazy-popular "Blind," in which Negrot and Wright shared lead vocal duties in Antony Hegarty's absence. Wright was the standout of the evening -- gender-ambiguous, constantly voguing, a huge, booming voice -- just fucking fabulous.
The crowd: Young, drunk, and eager to show off their dance moves. (I include myself in this group).
Overheard in the crowd: "You people in the back aren't even dancing!" I got tired, ok?
Random notebook dump: Can someone please tell me what Andy Butler had hanging out of his mouth the whole time? It wasn't really a tampon, was it?