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The Hoot Hoots overrun Roaming Herds of Buffalo album release party

The Hoot Hoots at Columbia City Theater (Photo by Christine Mitchell)

The Hoot Hoots at Columbia City Theater (Photo by Christine Mitchell)

The Columbia City Theater was home to a night of adorably geeky rock last Friday as Roaming Herds of Buffalo celebrated the release of their latest album, Apocalypse Beach. But the evening belonged to The Hoot Hoots, their campy rainbow outfits, LED bling, and tunes that were at once infectious pop and arcade-inspired filling the venue and inspiring people to dance.

Fine Prince started the night off, well . . . just fine. Their quirky, happy music was slightly awkward in the sweetest way as the six-piece outfit worked their way through well-harmonized original songs, peppered with covers such as The Posies’ “I May Hate You Sometimes” (lead vocalist Jamie Henwood has a very special dance to share with the world, by the way).

The Hoot Hoots are working hard to promote their latest effort, Colorpunch, an album with a rainbow-striped cover. The band took the stage dressed as apparent Colorpunch devotees, wearing robes drenched in rainbows and lit by LEDs attached to their mic stands. Vocalist/guitarist Adam Prairie kept his LED sunglasses strapped to his face long after the robes were relegated to little piles on the floor (to facilitate better dancing). And the sound? A veritable pop-rock explosion. Like Pop Rocks and Coke in your mouth, right when they’re tasty and hurting. The goofy visuals were eclipsed by the powerful, ecstatic, large-scale hookiness of The Hoot Hoots’ music. Echoes of The Shins? Weezer? One thing is certain: The Hoot Hoots are one to watch (Colorpunch is also a sure bet). There was a decent sized crowd present for this portion of the show, and they were very supportive, though stopping short of crushing to the front of the stage and full-on moshing.

The draw was definitely The Hoot Hoots; the venue emptied considerably after their energetic set. Roaming Herds of Buffalo took the stage sounding delicate and unsure, a bit like early REM. It was quite a mood and tempo change: from hyper to lethargic. “You run from me like an antelope,” sang frontman Scott Roots, and it sounded a little weird. Shoeless and standing on tiptoe, there was no way that Roots would ever catch an antelope. Which was pretty sad. Perhaps if he donned a rainbow robe he’d feel a bit more punchy.

Christine Mitchell has been poring over album liner notes pretty much since she acquired the skill of reading, and figured out the basic structure of rock songs at an early age. Whether it’s the needle popping into the first groove of the record, the beeps that signal the beginning (or end) of a cassette tape, or digital numbers ticking off the seconds from zero, music brings Christine happiness, ponderous thought, opportunities for almost scientific study, and sometimes a few tears. When she started attending live shows two decades ago, a whole new piece of the puzzle clicked in and she has been hooked ever since.