The Dear Hunter – July 20th – The Summit Music Hall

The Scene: The Summit Music Hall holds approximately 900 people, yet the main stage was blocked off as this punk rock show was held in the front room. The stage was set against a brick wall and was about 15 feet away from the bar, which left room for about four or five rows of people to wedge together for the music. A few years back when I was introduced to The Dear Hunter, I was shocked that such a grandiose sounding band had slipped under my musical radar. I’ve never been great at guessing the number of jellybeans in the jar, but I don’t think the crowd even reached one hundred people. The intimacy was nice, but I just couldn’t stop thinking of all the people that were missing out.

The Dear Hunter: The Dear Hunter’s entire discography has revolved around the story of a boy and has been broken up into separate acts. The ambition and dedication that made the first three albums, Act I-III, so mind-bogglingly impressive isn’t missing from their new effort, The Color Spectrum. In fact, if anything, it’s more impressive. The full collection consists of nine EPs, each it’s own color with songs that fit accordingly to the feel of the color.  Totaling up to 36 total songs, this project was just too damn big to release as one album. While the LP version gives the listener a small taste of the massive project, it too works great on its own.

The set list for the show was made up almost exclusively of songs from the new project. It’s understandable that with 36 new tracks, the band would be eager to play them live, but the songs that lured me into the show were missing. After the show I talked with front man/mastermind Casey Crescenzo, inquiring why I didn’t get to hear “Smiling Swine” or “Go Get Your Gun.” He simply stated that those songs won’t be played on this tour, but that they’re not out of the line up for good. This isn’t anything new and I actually expected it, as after an Arctic Monkeys show last year I asked if there was a reason they didn’t play fan favorites “Fake Tales of San Francisco” or “Mardy Bum.” They actually didn’t give any hope that those songs would be played in the future, as they were just sick of playing those songs.

Other than the omission of these select songs, the show was a high-energy success. An offering from nearly all nine EPs was worked in, and even the lesser known ones that weren’t worked into the LP had the crowd stirring with rock fervor. “She’s Always Singing” was one of the sunniest, upbeat songs played (from the Yellow EP, see how that works?). They played “The Dead Don’t Starve,” which is the next song on the Yellow EP, immediately after, which flowed together so seamlessly that it became clear that Crescenzo knew exactly what he was doing when he put together the songs for the massive project and the set list. “Filth and Squalor” (Black) was a good rowdy rocker, “Home” (White) was played as an ever-building song of hope and reassurance that built into an incredibly explosive crescendo, and “The Canopy” (Green) actually brought an alt-rock feel with its fast tempo backed by what sounded like an M. Ward guitar riff.

“The Church and the Dime” and “He Said He Had a Story,” a couple of songs from the Act series garnered a solid response from hardcore fans (most of the people in attendance weren’t of drinking age, yet these same people knew almost all the words of the older songs). Near the end of the show, Crescenzo said that he doesn’t believe in encores, “unless you guys really want me to walk off stage;” we did not. The final song performed, “Red Hands” from Act II is an epic song that delves into insecurities about a lover and it was chilling as the entire crowd sang “oh my god what have I done” and “now my darling put your clothes back on” while Crescenzo screamed a separate verse with pain and emotion. This closer was a reminder that The Dear Hunter have always been able to write and perform with intensity, no matter what the subject matter.

Energy: B+
Sound: B
Musicianship: A
Stage Presence: B+
Set/Light Show: C

Overall: B+