hosannas [2010]

New Parish
Oakland, CA
4 December 2010

Hosannas overcame a lot of odds on this particular night at Oakland’s fantastic New Parish.

For one, they were an unlisted opener to the opener. Never a good sign, in my experience. Secondly, they strolled on stage and immediately activated each and every one of my instant judgment follicles. One guy in an oversized Ricky Martin t-shirt (and sporting what appeared to be an asymmetrical floppy haircut) and the other barefoot. Not good.

But, apparently, those follicles can’t always be trusted.

In one of the ballsiest moves in the history of unlisted openers to the opener (not at Freight & Salvage), they opened directly into an a cappella rendition of their song “King Crow”. It was absolutely amazing. Each of their voices is superb, but together, they’re magical. It’s not often an unlisted opener to the opener brings an entire venue to silence within seconds.

And they had us from there.

Hosannas are the sum of their brilliant voices and more. It’s the keyboard magic of Casiotone For The Painfully Alone, the tenor neo-soul vocals of Bon Iver’s Justin Vernon, and at least on this particular night, the occasional Cuban-influenced dance beats of a Miami Vice 80s (though this last bit was nowhere to be found on their recordings).

And the barefoot thing? Believe it or not, it turns out he was shoe and sock-less out of necessity, so that he could manipulate knobs and instruments with his feet. No joke. It was quite something.

Sure, there was still the issue of the oversized Ricky Martin t-shirt, but with voices like that, I could learn to turn the other cheek. And who knows, maybe it was a gesture of queer-solidarity.