COLUMBUS, Ohio — If you love live music, my guess is that you love a small, intimate venue. It’s doubly pleasurable if you get to see a really good up-and-coming band in the local scene at that venue.
Ace of Cups on N. High Street in Columbus has that small club “DIY” atmosphere oozing from its walls. In all honesty, I was looking forward to what Hello Luna would offer us on Friday night as they opened the show ahead of The Wet Darlings and Fool’s Fire.
They played a tight set of six songs, opening with the chugging “Tell Me”, before transitioning into “Underwater”. Next, they played their first demo, “Stitching Holes”. “Half Asleep” was a nice lead-in to “Sound and Sorrow”. The uptempo “Empathy” closed their set.
While the band was slated to take the stage at 10 p.m. sharp, the assembled fans had to wait for the venue’s front of house sound guy to mic everything up and perform the most rudimentary soundcheck that I have ever witnessed. I don’t know if he didn’t care about the music, or if he was in a horrible mood for having to work on a Friday night. The reason for saying this is that the P.A. sound mix was simply bad.
To begin with, AofC is a small venue with approximately 60 fans in attendance. The P.A. sound volume was entirely too loud for the number of people in the room. Add to this the fact that the FOH sound engineer buried Kenzie’s vocals in the mix. The result was a piercing sound that one had to strain through in an attempt to enjoy the wonderful music and cerebral lyricism that encompasses the Hello Luna.
The underlying punk influences of Diego Vilasmil (bass) and Michael Meumaier (drums) were buttressed and taken in a completely new direction by Kenzie Ryan’s guitar. Unfortunately, the only time that her vocals could be clearly heard and understood was near the end of their set when they played their new single, “Sound and Sorrow.”
I say this not as a disgruntled fan that paid their hard-earned money at the door to see them. No, I say this as someone that has worked with touring bands (local, regional and national acts) in lighting and sound. It was a disservice to both the bands and the fans. Hopefully, this was just an off-night for the sound engineer.
For those fans that were seeing and hearing the band for the first time, you have my sympathies. My advice would be to make sure that you see them again, in the hopes that the FOH sound engineer can capture the band’s sound in all of its glory.
In the opinion of this journalist, Hello Luna is a band that is going places. Trust me when I tell you that you want to be able to say that you saw them back when they were just this little local band from Columbus, Ohio.