Show Review: Hanni El Khatib @ the Parish (10.18)

We hit up the Parish this past Friday to have a few beverages and spend some time watching some acts that we love.  As I reflect upon the night, all I can say is that it ended up being a tale of two bands.  You’ll have to read on for my thoughts on the evening. Bass Drum of Death opened up the evening at the Parish, and while I love the band, especially their recent self-titled effort, I felt like there were a few things lacking in their set.  They played hits off both their albums, with “GB City” definitely getting the crowd riled up, but I mentally went back in time to when the band was a mere two piece.  Sure, a three piece isn’t too many more, but it seems to have somehow locked down the propulsive nature of the group.  What was once a riotous stage show fueled by two now seems tame as a three piece.  I don’t know much about the chemistry in the band, but where they once flailed about, they now seemed content to just play their tunes.  That being said, they sounded incredible.  The perks of playing a venue like this are huge noise can be made to seem intimate, while still spewing the intensity.  Every one I talked to was in agreement too, admitting that it was one of the best sounding sets we’ve seen the group play.

Hanni El Khatib is a whole other story.  Their live set was fueled by energy, with Hanni doing his best to give the audience what they paid for on the night.  He swung his guitar about, interacted with the rest of his band, and gave an all out performance.  Personally, I enjoy a set filled with energy billowing from the stage, but it has to go hand in hand with great songs.  Head in the Dirt, the most recent album from the group is good, and you got that live, but it’s not great.  Hanni seems stuck between two worlds.  He’s got these incredibly catchy tracks like “Penny,” but then he’ll spin off into a meld of garage and psychedelic rock.  It makes sense on an album, with diversity and all that, but it didn’t come across as well as I had hoped for live.

If you merged both bands, you’d definitely have a show for the ages on your hands, but on Friday night.  It was just an average night of good rock n’ roll.

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