Over the weekend: Hearts of Palm at the hi-dive
Hearts of Palm, To Be Eaten
Friday, November 6, 2009
Better Than: One of the best bands of recent years quietly slipping into history.
To Be Eaten probably seemed like an odd pairing for this first of two final Hearts of Palm shows, except this band plays its music with the same level of passion and excitement for its material as the headliner. Sure, To Be Eaten's music is an unapologetic critique of the status quo in society, but it's done with a sense of hope coursing through the aggressive precision of each of its songs. Guitarist Ben Pittz dedicated "End of a Flight" to Hearts of Palm and bassist Eric Fuller urged us to find a Till brother -- you know, anyone with facial hair and glasses in the audience, and give him a hug. Drummer Justin Trujillo has proven to be at least the equal of Brian Miller behind the drum kit in this band and played with the same ferocity his bandmates always bring to the show. After uplifting final section of "Burn the Filth," a song that makes triumphing over the forces of industrial evil seem attainable, Fuller called the Hearts of Palm guys to the stage for the choruses in "Metal." The juggernaut of a set ended with the harrowing "String Theory."
When Hearts of Palm took the stage, it was pretty much the classic line-up of the band, minus drummer Jared Black. Hearts of Palm filled his absence with the band's old friend and perhaps strongest advocate, Rob Burleson (aka Number Three from d. biddle, Lionsized). Replete with smoke machine and an irrepressibly festive climate, this was the kind of show any band would like to make its last. McGarvey wore a shirt that bore the picture of a bear reading The Unbearable Lightness of Being, and it didn't seem pretentious, just entirely appropriate to the band's songs and the sheer exuberance for life, pitfalls and all, displayed in every moment of the performance.
With copious amounts of good-natured ribbing and joking with the audience, as well as McGarvey's unvarnished yet humorous commentary, including a profane between song joke about a penguin and a blown seal, Hearts of Palm played virtually all of its songs like it really was its last show. But this band has always performed with that level of passion and joyful verve. "Brothers & Sisters" seemed unbelievably great, especially with the stage lighting accenting the dynamics perfectly. Several members of the audience seemed to sing along with every word and it seemed to me that Hearts of Palm should have been a band that broke through to the masses of people who love a great, catchy pop song. Each of the eleven songs seemed like a greatest hits performance from a classic band. When all is said and done, Hearts of Palm really was that type of band and they'll certainly be missed.
Personal Bias: I think the people in this band are fundamentally good people making music to match.
Random Detail: All the Hearts of Palm merch was being given away for free.
By the Way: There was no need to justify a final show this great.
Hearts of Palm
hi-dive - 11/06/09
01. Going Home
02. Like You Don't Care
04. Be OK
05. Brothers & Sisters
06. We Have No Water Here
07. Give 'Em Hell
09. Farewell Valentine
10. Little Squares of Paper
11. Stand Back Up