Bad Bad Hats
When going to shows, I try really hard to get there in time to check out the opener. 1) Because you never know what magical music you might stumble upon and 2) I’m short, so if I want a fighting chance at being able to see the band playing, I need to stake out a spot close to the stage, but not so close that I have to deal with teen fan craziness.
That being said, I was in for quite the treat when I showed up early to the Hippo Campus show in DC last week. They played the back room at the Black Cat which is an intimate space to catch a show. While I have been a huge fan of Hippo Campus since the beginning, I had never heard of their Minnesotan pals, Bad Bad Hats. I went into their set with absolutely zero expectations.
Well, I’m now crushing hard on Bad Bad Hats. The set from this Minneapolis trio was fairly typical for a young, hip, indie band–in between songs, lead singer/guitarist Kerry Alexander peppered the crowd with slightly awkward stage banter (Netflix and chill? She half jokingly said that she would rather Netflix and alone…not totally alone though because SNACKS). Girl, I feel you. What stood out to me though, besides the likable, slightly left of center personality Alexander embodies, is her amazing voice. Her voice is sweet, delicate, and pure, but she delivers the lyrics with such unwavering honesty and self-awareness that you are instantly pulled into her stories about relationships, life, and love.
Her ability to translate her own experiences into relatable stories is evident on the tracks of the band’s latest LP, Psychic Reader. While their first full-length album came out in July, they released a handful of singles back in 2013. Since the release of Psychic Reader the band has slowly been garnering buzz with supporting gigs on the Mynabirds tour and now with Hippo Campus through November.
After their set was over, I went to chat with the band and ended up buying a CD because a) I still buy CDs because b) my car has a 6 CD changer and no outlet for me to plug my iPhone in to stream tunes. That being said, I have not stopped listening to Psychic Reader since this past Wednesday. I listen to it in my car while stuck in rush hour traffic going to and from work. I listen to it on Spotify while I’m at work (Sorry I’m not sorry co-workers. You’ll learn to love this band, too.). When I’m this drawn to an album/song I tend to listen obsessively to really suss out every element of each song (lyrics, instruments, arrangement, how it makes me feel at any given time).
The opening track, “Midway” and the title track are my two personal favorites. Give ’em a listen for a proper introduction into the world of Bad Bad Hats. Major hugs to Hippo Campus for bringing your MPSL brethren along for the ride this November. Word to the wise: It’s worth going to scope out the opening bands of your favorite headliners.