On Saturday, the Thirsty Hippo saw a turnout of approximately 40 attendees for a three-set performance. Bands slated to play were May Queen of Grenada, Carlos Danger of Oxford and Hattiesburg’s own Nossiens. The show began at around 10:20 p.m.
I’ll tell you what: The night was of the strangest caliber, a sort of half-baked rocket sneezed out of Satan’s giant nostril. We skipped across town from one venue to another like a stone across a lake. It took a lot of haggling and more than a couple of shakedowns to find a proper show to mess up.
Before 9 p.m., we had a run-in with some Zach Galifianakis-looking character, a girl doing scissor kicks with a beer in her hand and a whacky tour van with the words “THE NEW ERA OF ROCK!” plastered on its side in cheesy yellow font. It was due to fortune that we made it to the Hippo on time.
May Queen started the night with a few lengthy numbers that teetered on rock’s progressive end. It was sad to see the glazed-over looks on crowd members’ faces because the band’s technique was intricate and fascinating in terms of sheer listening quality. It was clear that these were seasoned musicians.
However, I had the harsh feeling that the show’s energy had some how burned out before starting, but this was clearly the audience’s disinterest. I have an idea that some bands are like novels and others are like movies. The novel types are rich, explorative and offer heightened experiences when engaged. But it’s too often that people would rather see the movie.
May Queen is the novel type. They invite the listener to engage them from within his or her own headspace. Vocals were low and had little variation, a clear stylistic choice that fit the set’s sobriety. The brighter numbers — of which there were only a few — seemed to settle with the audience a little better.
At the end of the day, the set was great and certainly more deserving of its crowd reaction. It must be noted, though, that half of a performance is the visual aspect, which is something that severely needs exploration on the group’s part whenever possible.
Carlos Danger became an instant highlight from their set opener. Guitarist and singer Alex Thiel had brilliance in his fingers, the way he executed each number with finesse. What came as most important for this band was not their level of depth — and trust me, they had depth — but their uncanny ability to create a sound wall. Mind you, there are only three members in this group. Suffice to say, the performance was impressive.
Nossiens is always a pleasure for the ears and eyes. The quartet played with heat and enthusiasm and were an encouraging reminder that a show’s energy can always be sucked back in through the door just as quickly as it left. Their sound can in no way be summarized succinctly, which I think to be a great thing. Their numbers were bright and thick with melodies, and drummer Quinn Mackey complemented superbly. The guys might be young, but they’ve built a reputation for themselves as masterful artists in Hattiesburg and in Jackson.
To learn more about these bands, you can visit their respective Band-camp and Facebook pages. The Thirsty Hippo hosts performances on a regular basis.