It’d be near impossible to dislike Hey Ocean!, even if they ate a basket of babies and peed on your lap. This Vancouver surf / folk / funk band has been commanding attention with their nonstop energy and the sheer lovability of lead singer Ashleigh Ball. To boot, Hey Ocean!’s Benny Schuetze lays claim to the most phenomenal drummer-face I’ve ever seen. The ! in Hey Ocean! manifests itself in their live show, and this contagious vitality had Richard’s turned on and buzzin’.
Lotus Child revved up the night at about ten o’clock when most of the crowd had just filed in, and they fulfilled their opening duties like indie-rock gentlemen. Unlike most of the opening acts that I’ve witnessed lately who compete with a roar of conversation, people shut up and listen when Lotus Child plays. This receptive attitude spread good vibes throughout the night.
Hey Ocean! held quite the stage party: pianist Tom Dobrzanski from Lotus Child joined in on “Addictions”; members of Five Alarm Funk made cameos galore on drums, trumpet, and trombone, producing crowd-howling praise oftentimes due more to the surprise appearances than the actual audible output. Hey Ocean! fans have long heard of the infamous “beatboxer who broke my heart”. We finally got to meet Ashleigh’s heartbreaker, Tyler, experiencing his deep sonant skills during “Beatboxer”. Hey Ocean! crowned their set with an epic jam-out with all their stage guests. I was near the front of the stage at this point, and it was a dance-fancy dream pulsating like we all had iBuzzes in our pants.
This happened to be a par-ticularly spectacular set, but for those of you who haven’t yet popped your Hey Ocean! cherry, fear not: whether it’s in a post-show ghetto party room, spontaneously picking up a mike at the Anza, or playing a packed Richard’s, Hey Ocean! knows how to party. And on top of all of the dancing and debauchery, Ball is likely to steal your heart. This dulcet mantrap will lace catchy hooks into your head for days.
Victoria band The Karmetik Underground capped off the night with their instrumental jams joined by vocalist Emily Brown, serving the chronic dancers ‘til the end of the night. All in all, the show was blue ribbon and Hey Ocean!’s charming live performance is not to be missed.