It feels like it was yesterday; I was a teenager loosening up in the green room, and running scales to warm up before playing a bar in Chicago. The mirror bearing my reflection was interrupted by a 6’2″ giant carrying his shiny black Gibson with a look of intensity and confidence I did not possess. This was the frontman for the band playing before us. My reflection was now that of an intimidated teen with no business playing after such a behemoth. I can still hear the clicking of their standby switch being engaged as their soundcheck roared, and his mic check was that of Bella Lugosi reincarnated. This repressed memory was made vivid once more by the shattering sounds of Hooka Hey last Thursday night. The only difference I can recall is frontman Hugo de Saint Quentin’s guitar was not a Gibson. They were both still black and shiny, dammit!
Riff after unrelenting riff, Hooka Hey blasted through songs like “Nasty” and “Hush Me,” laying waste to anything standing in their path. Ethan Yeager’s groundwork carried the quintessential rock sound with drum tones deep enough to require a life preserver. Jesse Houghton brought a virtuoso-like layer of skill that made me regret not bringing a lighter for an encore. My personal favorite was the bass playing of Bryan Wright. As a bass player, I always pay close attention to whomever commands the low end. Wright’s playing fits this group so well because his attack on the changes and riffs weren’t that of a wanking shredster, but of an architect laying the foundation for the story to develop. The description on their bio page reads “Transylvanian Voodoo,” which adds to my theory of Bella Lugosi reincarnate. Their steady presence on stage was quickly becoming more animated the more people trickled into the venue. Once the final song was announced, they mentioned this was their first of a two-set night before running to play across town. I was debating leaving the show to follow them, but I had a really good parking spot, and refused to give it up.
We can thank 113Main’s Talent Booking and Promotions and Nancy LaBarbiera for creating this chaos at One-2-One Bar. This is the perfect venue for any performing artist. It brings the best out the bands with a pro quality sound system, well lit stage, and amazing sound engineers that could probably make my old band in Chicago sound like Slayer. Well, almost…
-Rene De La Mora, TipCow