show review: hot flash heat wave

Written by Sophia Nino

Crowd favorite Hot Flash Heat Wave kicked off their summer tour of headlining shows last week, promoting their new EP Mood Ring. Hot Flash Heat Wave has always had a psychedelic blending of genres and Mood Ring is no different. Some of the songs of the EP are almost reminiscent to the dreamscape sound that bands like Beach House create. 

I was excited to see how these new dreamy sounds would play out on stage. I’ve been lucky enough to see Hot Flash Heat Wave four times prior to this show; but always on accident it seems. They’re constantly playing around Southern California with other bands that I really enjoy, so needless to say they’ve become a favorite and this was my first time seeing them as the headliner. Harlow’s was slightly different than the other venues I’ve seen the band at – it was tiny and intimate. The openers were the local Bay Area bands Mediocre Cafe and Tino Drima. Tino Drima was a really great surprise to see. I had never heard of them before but I really recommend giving them a listen. 

During the openers the energy was kind of low since it was pretty early on a Wednesday night and it took awhile for people to filter in and fill the floor. Members of Hot Flash Heat Wave were listening on the floor while the openers played. When it was time for them to go on, the floor started to get more packed but there was still a great space between the stage and the crowd that people seemed shy to fill. They started with two songs off Mood Ring, “Floating” and “Head in the Clouds.” These two songs are full of those psychedelic effects and dreamy sounds that characterize the EP. After those more quiet songs, the tone of the show picked up as they started to play older favorites like “Soaked.”

There were some technical difficulties during the show – one member’s guitar went out for a minute so the keyboardist played a great solo to keep the energy up. After that the band joked that they’d be playing the entire set with the wrong sound effects. They also pointed out the massive space between us and them and told us to come forward because “everyone’s invited.” I was happy that everyone packed in closer to the stage because the energy went up after that big time. 

They started playing “Lonely Times” after that, one of my favorite songs. The crowd started dancing and singing along and it really started to feel like the kind of Hot Flash Heat Wave set I’ve experienced before. At one point one of the lead singers jumped into the crowd and landed right between my friend and I and started a little mosh pit. The rest of the night was filled with dancing and singing with the artsy, indie kids of Sacramento who all look like they could tell you exactly where all the good thrifts shops are. All around it was a good time. Hot Flash Heat Wave never disappoints, their sets are always high energy and super fun.

If you get a chance you should definitely catch one of their shows. They have two more headlining shows, then for the rest of the summer they’ll be touring with The Regrettes around the US before setting off on their Europe tour. 

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