The best part about seeing a band with five people, all playing instruments, who know what the hell they’re doing — is that you’re seeing a band with five people, all playing instruments who know what the hell they’re doing.
The Sunrunners headlined Bottom of the Hill this past Friday, and the show was louder than ever. Getting their start in late 2011, the band began as a piano-driven rock group that has quickly evolved into something much more. Led by Stephen Loase on keys and vocals, the band runs the gamut of musical experiences from dark and eerie, to aquatic-sounding jams, to falsetto love songs. With several tone-freak employees of Ustream, a service that allows degenerates like me to follow bands on “couch tour” live, the sound was dialed in to a tee and went without disruption for the next solid hour.
A combination of haunting and resonating bass lines, catchy Billy Joel-esque piano licks, fluid guitar riffs, and all backed by a thunderous drumset, the band was firing on all cylinders Friday. Hitting the ground running, the quintet blasted out of the gates with a new song, “We Are At War,” which was eerier and grittier than anyone was really expecting. Bass and drums out in full force, the band drifted into “New Love” – a crowd pleaser that involves a fast paced “clap along” from the audience.
Pounding forward with songs like “It’s A Start,” “Oil Man,” and closing with a particularly spooky “I Don’t Lie,” the band went on to play an impromptu encore, which was brought on by a enthusiastic “ONE MORE SONG!” chant from the crowd. The band then returned to close out with “Everybody.”
The night wound back and forth from impressive multi-layered jams to a few more poppy tunes, with a healthy dose of bass (which, who doesn’t like that?). Although a first time Friday night headliner for Bottom of the Hill, the Sunrunners have played the venue before, opening for Wild Belle and Deep Sea Diver (a show that definitely gained them a few new fans). The band’s first studio album, Pinecones for Tatiana, will be released late September, and their next show will be Milk Bar on September 19th.
-By Paul Chalker