The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
After waiting more than two years to see them in concert, I finally witnessed HUNNY perform live in New York City at Elsewhere on October 24th. The California-based indie rock band dominated the evening with a vibrant and energetic hour-long show. Lead singer Jason Yarger captivated the crowd with his beautifully whiny vocals and animated facial expressions to elevate each song.
But, before HUNNY took the stage, opening acts Michi and Small Crush prepared the crowd for a lively night of music. Michi warmed everyone up with her smooth and sultry songs, serenading us with dreamy tales of romance. Dressed in a stunning sparkly two-piece set, she swayed on stage looking even more ethereal with each passing minute. If you enjoy artists like The Marias, Men I Trust, or Crumb, you will want to explore more of her music. Her atmospheric indie-pop sound worked as a calming introduction to the concert. She sang in English and Spanish and encouraged everyone to sing along to songs like “Night Moves,” “Quítame,” and “Escondida.” Her down-to-earth interactions with the crowd allowed everyone to warm up to the music.
The second opening act, Small Crush, infused the crowd with heavy drums and funky guitar riffs to get everyone jumping. Fast-paced songs with quirky lyrics captured everyone’s attention as the band laughed along on stage. Although the lead singer’s vocals were a bit overpowered by the background instruments, their voice peaked through at times. As much as I loved dancing to the groovy music, I wanted to hear more singing since they had a similar sound to bands like The Regrettes, The Greeting Committee, and Frankie Cosmos. The stage presence of Small Crush truly tied the performance together. Their collective chemistry was palpable. Seeing them have such an enjoyable time performing primed the crowd for HUNNY to take the stage.
HUNNY took the stage at 9:30 pm after two 30 minute opening acts and set up in between. Their entrance to the stage began with dramatic anticipation, the room going dim as the silhouettes of Jason, Jake, Kevin, and Joey took their places. The drums started like a heartbeat, the guitar started like a pulse, and the lyrics of “Shy” started reverberating throughout the concert hall. Personally, I thought that this song was the ideal choice to begin the concert. “Don’t be shy, look alive!” the crowd instantly yelled as the first lyrics to the opening song. Jason greeted the crowd with a cheeky smile, moving around the stage with a swagger similar to The 1975’s frontman, Matty Healy. He exuded comfortable confidence, occasionally taking a drink straight from a wine bottle and laughing with his bandmates between songs.
Each song flowed into the next. The concert covered a wide range of HUNNY’s discography within the hour show to satisfy fans both old and new. This variety offered an engaging setlist; they played everything from songs off of their first EP Pain / Ache / Loving to their most recent single “Daydreams / Heartbreaks.” HUNNY maintained their high energy throughout the show. Not once did they waver to catch their breath or take a break. Yet, at times, I did wish that they stopped to talk with the crowd some more. A majority of the crowd consisted of dedicated fans. As soon as the songs began, people began singing along instantly. Because of the small venue, I thought they would have used it as an opportunity to interact with their fans and create a connection. While the concert felt a bit rushed at times, I was impressed with their stamina and ability to include a considerable amount of songs within their show.
At the halfway point of the concert, they played one of their most popular songs “Vowels (And the Importance of Being Me” to reinvigorate the crowd. In fact, this song was how I discovered the band a couple of years ago. In a way, I felt a sense of satisfaction being able to see them live after randomly finding their song in a playlist on Spotify. The setlist maintained the ideal balance between their popular and less-known songs. However, I would have loved to hear them play an old single called “Colder Parts.” Even though it was requested at a previous show, they did not add it in. I cannot complain though since they played a majority of my favorites such as “A Slow Death in Standard Pacific Time,” “Cry for Me,” and “La Belle Femme.”
To finish off the night, HUNNY ended the show with an insane rendition of another popular song, “Televised.” Jason requested the staff to light the disco ball and everyone instantly began to vibe to the final song. He played along well with the rhythm and pacing of the music, accentuating the dramatic pauses and tempo shifts throughout the last moments on stage. Up until the very end, when the music stopped, the crowd quieted, and the lights shut off, HUNNY mesmerized the entire room.
Ultimately, well worth the two-year wait.