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Sarah Negahdari, Chris Hernandez, and Charles Mahoney of The Happy Hollows

Toward the end of my ‘Silverlake East Coast Revue’, there was this marvelous miracle of an appearance by highly regarded (and rightly justified!) eastside L.A. band, The Happy Hollows, at our lovely little dive, T.T. The Bear’s Place in Central Square. I don’t know how on earth they got plunked onto a bill that sandwiched them between two swampy Southern rock bands, but bless all the pagan gods that they did. [as Sarah said to me afterward, “we were the odd ducks in the middle”. Odd and immensely talented ducks, I’d say!]

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Sarah Negahdari… such a adorable, lovely girl offstage; onstage, she’s this wild banshee. She sings so sweetly at times, like an angel, then lets loose with otherworldly shrieks and wails, summoning both deities and demons. Simultaneously she’s a guitar goddess, with an interesting percussive style of playing that complements her vocalizations beautifully. Listening to their music before the show, I wondered how someone could sing like that and play like that at the same time, and indeed it’s a sight to behold.

Charles Mahoney on bass and Chris Hernandez on drums seem intuitively synched to Sarah’s moods, and provide a stable, rocking structure for Sarah to careen madly around in. Their music is alternately poppy & pretty and pretty fucking intense and experimental, seamlessly moving from one end of the musical galaxy to the other.

While the audience was small (25-30 tops), surprisingly most were there to see Happy Hollows, so hopefully this beginning buzz on the East Coast will grow. The audience included Radio Free Silver Lake guru Joe Fielder, (recently condemned to exile in Boston for some unspeakable crime), to whom they dedicated one of their songs.

Not surprisingly, Happy Hollows new album Spells, is currently at #5 on KXLU’s “Top Music” list. I’ll make a prediction here that these guys are really going to take off nationally, once people have a chance to hear and see them. [I’ll have a review of their wonderful new album in the near future…]

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The band on after the voodoo magic of Happy Hollows was, in my humble opinion, a rather mediocre southern blues/rock outfit called “Dark Martini & The Dirty Olives”. They were proficient enough players (the lead guitarist was quite good), but the music didn’t really take me anywhere, which for me is a requirement to keep me interested. Straight ahead bluesy rock jams, unless they’re truly outstanding, just ain’t my thing.

But what’s far worse than a little self-indulgent riffing is a shit-poor attitude. That’s the kind of thing I can’t forgive. Here’s what the lead singer/guitarist of Dark Martini said, mid-set, to the few people still standing in front of the stage:

“The other band had an advantage of someone who was cute – we don’t have that. Well, this guy maybe..” (pointing to bass player with blond dreadlocks). Uh yeah, they also had the advantage of far more intriguing music.

The Happy Hollows will be doing a November residency at Spaceland (every Monday night) in Silverlake, Los Angeles. They’re also playing on Nov. 5 at Thee Parkside in San Francisco, Nov. 6 at The Townhouse in Sacramento, and Nov. 14 at Pomona College. If you are anywhere near these places, you should definitely check them out!

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