show review: the frights, hunny, hot flash heat wave @ the observatory oc

Written by Donna Borges

The Frights are currently on tour in support of their new album Hypochondriac, which included stops in their hometown of San Diego and a show at the Observatory in Santa Ana, CA. I had listened to the Frights before, but only recently had I taken the time to listen to their entire discography. After learning more about them and seeing them live, it’s safe to say that the Frights are definitely one of my new favorite bands.

I was excited to see that Hunny was announced as an opener for the tour; I had seen them twice this summer and knew that they would put on an amazing show. Just when I thought it couldn’t get any better, it was announced that Hot Flash Heat Wave was opening as well. I had never seen Hot Flash Heat Wave, but they had been on my list of bands I would like to see live for a while.

When Hot Flash Heat Wave took the stage, the crowd’s energy was high but remained reserved until the band began to play one of their most popular songs “Gutter Girl.” Everyone lost control as the familiar first notes of the song were played and a mosh pit broke out. The crowd stayed at that level of energy and excitement throughout the rest of their set, and I have to admit it was an intense way to start the night.

The crowd was packed into the pit, which at this venue is blocked off in a way by a wall and you can’t get out of the pit unless you go to some stairs at  the very back of the area. Everyone was packed in so tight, it made things very uncomfortable at times, especially when my sister and I ended up against the wall and essentially got crushed by the moving mosh pit. It was a little scary but also pretty fun.

Hunny’s entire set was met with the same intense energy as before, with every song just as danceable and upbeat as the next. Even though they were performing as openers and I had previously seen them at headlining shows, lead singer Jason Yarger brought the same level of performance to the opening set. They played most of their popular songs, including my personal favorite, “Parking Lot” off of their first EP, Pain / Ache / Loving.

The Frights were up next, and I was honestly pretty worried for how much crazier the crowd would get. I had used up most of my energy dancing to the two openers, so I wasn’t ready to spend their whole set in the pit. They opened with “Kids,” and the crowd burst into motion again. We danced and screamed the words to the song before deciding we needed to take a break from the pit. It was much nicer to be on the tier above the pit since there was still room to dance but also fresh air to breathe. The Frights were incredible, as expected, and it felt so nice to scream along with the crowd during the more rowdy songs. Despite a couple of technical difficulties, the setlist had a great flow. I danced the most during “Crust Bucket,” one of my favorite songs from their self-titled first album. I also enjoyed hearing songs off the new album live. I especially appreciated “Alone,” which almost made me cry because the lyrics are so raw and emotional.

One of the funniest parts of the show was during the encore, when lead singer Mikey Carnevale sat on the edge of the stage and sang one of the slower, doo-wop style songs. I couldn’t see what was happening, but suddenly the song stopped because two guys were fighting in the pit right in front of where Mikey was sitting. Mikey said something along the lines of “Of all the songs you were gonna fight to, you had to fight during the doo-wop one? There’s no fighting in doo-wop.” Of all the songs for a fight to break out during, it was funny that it happened for one of the few slow songs of the set.

After the show we bought shirts and I bought You Are Going To Hate This on vinyl. They also gave out free stickers which I appreciated. Overall, it was one of the most fun shows I have been to even though it was hectic and intense, and I’m still feeling a little bit of “post-concert depression” after that night. If you ever get the chance to see the Frights live, definitely do so. They will be playing at Tropicalia Fest this November in Long Beach. Although their newest album, Hypochondriac, wasn’t met with the warmest welcome by long-time Frights fans, I can honestly say I love every single song on the album.

leave a comment!