The Hunna and Coasts with courtship.
The Hunna/Coasts with courtship.
Slim’s, San Francisco
Writing & Photos of courtship. by Mary Perez
March 30, 2018 - I arrived at the venue around 7:30 PM with my camera and the excitement for the concert about to happen. I had been following The Hunna for around 3 years, and to be finally seeing them for the first time was extremely relieving. I can’t exactly recall when and how I discovered them, but the moment I first heard “Bonfire,” I immediately fell in love. Their sound was so different from other bands I listened to, which drew me to them more. As the time slowly passed, it seemed like it couldn’t take any longer. Finally, the lights dimmed and I ran to find the strangely nonexistent photo pit. A challenge for me, as I’m no taller than 5’2”, but one I willingly accepted.
Suddenly, courtship. took the stage. Micah Gordon and Eli Hirsch, accompanied by their touring drummer, hopped on stage with big smiles and the cheering of the audience. I had heard one song of theirs before, “Bad Fun,” which played on my local alternative radio station a few times. This band was lively, they were encouraging people to dance, they were not bad fun at all. A favorite moment of mine and most likely some of the other crowd members was when they broke out into a cover of a rock classic, Fountains of Wayne’s “Stacy’s Mom.” I could really tell that almost everyone in that room was jamming out, belting out the lyrics and dancing together. That moment really got everyone to loosen up a little bit as they transitioned into their next song. The second-to-last song was “Stop For Nothing,” which was a song with one of the catchiest guitar rifts I’d heard in a long time. The very last song was “Tell Me Tell Me,” and I found myself singing along to the choruses. This band was not only engaging and enjoyable, but they were enthusiastic in including the audience throughout their performance. I found them to be really humorous and relatable in their banter, and no moment seemed dull with them onstage. By the end of their set, it was clear that they set the standards high for the other performers.
Next up was Coasts. As I stood near the back to review the photos I had taken and figure out which angles worked best, the crew quickly changed the gear onstage. Coasts was a band I was interested in seeing, since I had known one of their songs, “Oceans,” for a year or so and had put it on several of my playlists. One of the greatest part of concerts is getting to see songs that I’ve always liked and getting to hear them live. As the lights dimmed once again, the band ran onstage, donning bright colors. Coasts was nothing like I expected, a result of me trying to judge them through the one song I knew. The amount of passion and energy they displayed was incredible. Some artists perform their songs halfheartedly with barely any emotion in their faces, but not Coasts. Lead singer Chris Caines brought everything he had, belting out the lyrics like “Why won’t you let me love you?” with his eyes shut. When “Oceans” came on, Slim’s was ecstatic. Not only was it the last song, but it was the song that drew the most energy from Coasts’s set. Falling in love by the ocean is a good thing, after all.
The Hunna were nothing but spectacular. When the boys came on, there was nothing but loud cheering from everyone. People who had been lingering in the back for the other two sets were suddenly coming closer (some still holding their drinks, of course, but still looking very intrigued). I set myself up on the side of their bassist, aiming my camera for those very first shots. Man, I have to admit, this band was tough to shoot. I was trying everywhere, over tall people, near the front, behind pillars, but the energy The Hunna brought could not be captured in photos. From the very first song, hit “You and Me,” I suddenly saw a vibrance to the crowd that hadn’t been there all night. Before they started “Piece by Piece,” singer Ryan Potter called out to the crowd, “San Francisco, this song needs some sexy dance moves, and I know we have some sexy people in the crowd. I see you all!” Less than a minute later, the fun guitar riff was echoing throughout Slim’s as several people danced around in the center. Potter later responded to a compliment from a fan by saying “You guys are so nice,” and complimenting other fans in the audience, pointing out their glasses or their shirt. Something like that can go a really long way for a fan, especially for some going to their first concert or longtime fans. As they’re putting out an album, Dare, which is scheduled to come out in late May this year, it was only fitting for them to play a single from it. “Flickin’ Your Hair” was a fun choice, allowing fans to literally flick their hair all around. According to Potter, “She’s Casual” was the first song they ever wrote and put out, making it a special one for them. Hearing everyone sing sweetly the chorus before the drums kicked in created a feeling of a community. I love when artists tell anecdotes about how some songs came about, and luckily, there was a good one to “We Could Be.” Apparently a big label had shown interest in The Hunna, but after deciding not to sign them, the band wrote “We Could Be” as a way of coping with that decision. They were definitely angry when writing, but they had found the beauty of how life played out, performing the song with smiles. The very last song was “Bonfire,” and it started out with a soft “And we blew up like a bonfire...” from Potter, prompting the crowd to respond “fire, fire.” I had seen videos of how wild and fun The Hunna concerts were, but I don’t think I truly understood until I finally experienced it in person.