Australian surf-rock duo, Hockey Dad, kicked off their North American tour at Orange County’s Constellation Room, an all-ages, intimate venue pumped full of energy despite not necessarily having a full house. Invited by a friend, I had only listened to Hockey Dad briefly in advance and arrived to the show with an open mind.
Just after 9pm, Cold Fronts opened and riled up the audience with lively tunes like ‘Trying Not to Break,’ ‘Stayin In’ and ‘Holidaze,’ thoroughly engaging with the crowd by not only hopping into the pit to dance but also crawling onto the bar to perform ‘This Always Happens’ while the crowd got tangled up in the microphone cord. Mostly promoting their latest album, Fantasy Du Jour, their set was a constant flow of energy from start to finish, leaving the audience wanting more and prepared for Hockey Dad to fully deliver.
Around 10pm guitarist/vocalist, Zach Stephenson, and drummer, Billy Fleming, hit the stage opening up with attention-grabbing track ‘My Stride’ to reel the audience in. The beachy influence within 2018 album, Blend Inn, is apparent in Zach’s harsh guitar chords, but driven with looping drum beats from Billy, as apparent in crowd favorite ‘I Wanna Be Everybody.’ Their performance was so smooth and clean, you would think these young men were veterans in the rock and roll scene. Songs melted into each other and the flow of energy was consistent but not tiring. Dancing, stage diving and pits were constant, though I must note that this particular crowd was not great at receiving stage divers, resulting in an unfortunate few being dropped. When asked why he didn’t stage dive, Billy noted that he “was too scared to,” for good reason! Despite this, the crowd was fully involved throughout the night’s set that included tracks such as ‘Can’t Have Them,’ ‘Sweet Release,’ and wrapping up with ‘Danny’ and aggressive ‘Homely Feeling.’ After a crowd chant for “one more song!” the boys came back to perform encore song “Seaweed”- a melodic end to the night.
Both bands Hockey Dad and Cold Fronts greeted fans at the merch tables immediately after the show and were happy to take pictures, talk and provide autographs. This was a great night out for anyone looking for an engaging show, whether you know the songs or not, it was more than easy to slip into the music. Their tour is the perfect lead into summer and continues into the end of June and will be joined by CA native band Mt. Eddy starting June 2nd.
Listen to Hockey Dad here: