Reviews > Shows
Hey Anna at Union Hall
New York, NY
The East Coast based band, Hey Anna, played Union Hall last Thursday along with This Frontier Needs Heroes and Amanda Jo Williams. The group came on an hour late but it was well worth it when the quintet immediately exploded into a catchy indie number fronted by Erin Rauch-Sasseen against a background of red lights. Hey Anna’s three sisters (Erin, Katie and Anna Rauch-Sesseen) took turns on bass, keys, guitar and vocals, and displayed similar pin-straight brunette hairstyles with understated outfits. The two male members brought the sound together with Bryan Tobin holding down the beat on the drums and Andrew Smolin keeping the music fresh with skillful guitar solos.
Erin’s lullaby whispers were reminiscent of Feist and the vocal experimentation of all three girls was akin to Regina Spektor. The crowd was sparse, but it was to the band’s benefit as this allowed for an intimate setting to engage in the music and bounce along to the catchy melodies. The sisters switched off on lead vocals, with the remaining two providing back up vocals and flawless harmonies. Although all three girls had beautiful voices, it was Erin Rauch-Sasseen who stood out the most with a voice not only practiced in precision, but with a tonal quality that ranged from a whisper to a high-pitched wail.
Andrew’s guitar complemented the music well, but at times Bryan kept the beat too fast and the music became discordant. At times the melodies incorporated a reggae/island quality, which was pleasant but out of place for a wintery Thursday night in a basement lounge. The fourth song of the night, “Super Glue” was a sweet lullaby with cutesy lyrics like “You don’t need any superglue/ to keep my lips on you.” For the next song, Andrew took to the microphone for a turn at the lead vocal and performed surprisingly well. The banter between songs was fun and easy and the band quickly won over the audience.
The second to last song amped up the group’s energy and the girls began clapping to the music and the audience joined in. The final offering started off slow but had a wonderful build up that ended the performance on a high note. The bands that followed couldn’t keep up the energy, charm, or foot-tapping quality of Hey Anna and the crowd dwindled even more.
The brother/sister duo, This Frontier Needs Heroes shared the familial appeal of the first group, but their banter strayed from playful to nagging. The Lead singer/guitarist/harmonica player went into a tirade about politics that made the room uncomfortable and the songs seemed incomplete. Amanda Jo Williams followed with tight instrumentals but maddening vocals sounding similar to a crying child. Hey Anna stood out above all and it wouldn’t be surprising to see them move on to bigger and better gigs.
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