Hot Hot Heat @ Public Assembly, Cinco de Mayo 2010

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The unofficial start of summer, Cinco de Mayo was an auspicious date for Hot Hot Heat’s residency to begin at Williamsburg’s own Public Assembly. Rocking it out every Wednesday in May, this Victoria BC based act preemptively supports their new album due June 1st. In studio for the last year, this first show had a ‘shake the jitters’ out vibe, though they’ve played much larger venues. It was mighty cool to catch an act that’s had such success in an intimate setting for a pretty good door price ($12).

Halfway through the set though, they found their groove and got serious about laying down the dance-punk. Coming off fresh and pop infused, especially considering how long this act has been at it, Hot Hot Heat did not disappoint. Drummer Paul Hawley is a huge Viking beast of a man and absolutely killed his kit, including an awesome big red fire alarm bell (get it? Hot Hot Heat, firebell, anybody?).

Lead Singer/Keyboardist Steve Bays had a very comfortable stage presence and seemed genuinely interested in crowd interaction, engaging and expressing appreciation towards those attending… somehow the Canadians always seem really good at this.

The one aspect that I was a bit disappointed by was the guitar work. At first, I thought Luke Paquin might be new to the band or something, but my research found he’s been with them since 2005, and while the quality of his playing did rise as the set warmed up, I was still left with the feeling that he was a bit out of step. I’ll chalk it up to opening night kinks.

I definitely recommend checking the act out sometime in May, I’m positive they’ll blow the roof off that place at their final show.

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