The Happy Hollows
Troubadour - March 12, 2010
I've always thought you can tell a lot about a band by the way they dress. When the trio that makes up Happy Hollows walked onto the stage of the Troubadour two Fridays ago, they showed no signs of pretension, attitude, or irony: shirts and jeans with no flash or rhinestones but dammit at least they were consistent.
L.A. buzz bands come and go - it seems there's a new one after every opening slot or house party - but The Happy Hollows appear to have weathered both the hype and criticism that such status engenders. I had been anxious to see the band for some time now so when the opportunity presented itself to check out its pre-SXSW showcase alongside openers Twilight Sleep and co-headliner The Veils, I jumped at the chance.
After a brash opening that paved the way for a joyfully raucous set, I am happy to report that The Happy Hollows proved to be the real deal. The band plays a brand of indie rock that's polished without sounding slick and is a lot of fun. There's a certain art school aesthetic in their music that's not uncommon but it's augmented by a kindergarten naivete that's refreshing. I think this really comes out in the band's art direction, in particular the watercolor poster for the night's show, painted by front woman Sarah Negahdari.
If the band seems an eccentric lot that's because they are. For the most part this eccentricity serves the Hollows well; the music is good enough to stop and make you listen but off-kilter enough to make you lean in and really pay attention. Of the three members in the band, Negahdari left the biggest impression, but not solely because she provides the vocals. There was a giddy joy in her presence that I didn't even know I missed with other bands until going to this show. She really seemed to enjoy being a girl in a rock band, at once even going so far as to say, "I just love rock and roll! It's just the best, it's better than sex!" The jury's still out on that last statement but watching The Happy Hollows perform makes a pretty convincing argument in her favor.
When all was said and done, The Happy Hollows left me satisfied but still wanting more. It's clear to me that the trio is on the verge of something but what that is exactly I'm not sure. Still, with a band this interesting and music this good, it's hard to deny it won't be fun to watch and see what happens.