HOT HOT HEAT with the Weekend and Raising the Fawn at the Horseshoe, July 25. Tickets: $8. Attendance: 275. Rating: NN
Since Hot Hot Heat turned out to be the buzz of the Music West conference, anticipation was understandably high for the Victoria, BC, bashers' local debut at the Horseshoe.And the desire to see them seemed to increase by the minute during the Weekend's dreadfully dull opening set. For some reason, the usually effervescent power pop unit were completely flat.
Many people who arrived early for Hot Hot Heat decided they'd rather stand in the smoke-filled front bar and watch baseball highlights than put up with the Weekend's weak antics.
As it turned out, however, Hot Hot Heat didn't have much more excitement to offer.
It began badly with their roadie dude sucking back some fuel with the idea of blowing a plume of flames to start the show in spectacular fashion. Only his mini-torch failed to ignite and he just sprayed the fans up front with a mist of flammable fluid. Little did anyone realize that this minor mishap would prove the evening's most entertaining moment.
On disc at least, the voice of Hot Hot Heat frontman Steve Bays -- part pissed-off Pete Shelley, part whiny Robert Smith -- sounds more charming than grating. But the way the sound was mixed at the 'Shoe, with Dante DeCarlo's guitar virtually inaudible and Bays's hyper-squeal brought way up front, made for an extremely annoying presentation.
However energetically thrashed their catchy new wave ditties were, that chirpy bleating of Bays's, punctuated by his sloppy two-finger keyboard stabs, made Hot Hot Heat difficult to stomach. There were few complaints when they didn't return to the stage after a mercifully brief set.