If you mixed a-ha’s synths and keys and the Police’s chord progressions with a little bit of Rick Astley’s groove and Talking Heads’ vibe all into one, you’d pretty much get Indiana band, Hoops. At least, that’s what I felt when I saw them play the Echo last Wednesday night.
The Indiana boys were on top of their game and I don’t mean basketball; Hoops is the jam band of my dream pop dreams. Hoops was tight in their sound and played cohesively together, both technically and vocally.
Though vocals were interchangeable among Drew Auscherman, guitar, Keegan Beresford, keys and Kevin Krauter, bass, the three of them were super consistent with one another in terms of monotony, harmonizing very well together to accomplish a mellow, feel good sounding vibe.
Songs “Rules” and “On Top” off of debut album Routines were such jams. Auscherman seriously had moves like Rick Astley, and I don’t mean this in a bad way. Hoops was very personable and engaging towards us concert-goers, Auscherman telling us in between songs that “this one rocks.”
“All My Life” was my favorite track of the night - Jack Apple, backing guitar, played some sick guitar licks that I felt were cut too short, like many other songs. But this made their sound distinct - with only few tracks that are over three or so minutes, their tunes are usually around two minutes and are straight up quality, making listeners want more. Additionally, their use of synths as a recurring instrument gives their sound a solid backbone. Hoops succeeds in establishing an on-stage persona in their music versus their recordings - both near exact, but their live versions have room to be more loose and improvised.
Overall, their stage presence was minimal, but just enough. I’d often see Auscherman interact with Apple, whether it be making silly faces or just acting goofy while laying down insane shreds. They’re just a couple of dudes who like to have fun and play some sick tunes and that’s all anyone could really ask for, honestly.
Once the band came back out, Auscherman disclaimed that “this one’s gonna suck.”
Wrong. Definitely wrong Drew, where’s your dang confidence?
The members of Hoops were extremely humbled in playing to such a crowded room, and especially grateful we all came out considering this was one of the few times they’ve seldom played in California. They were modest, genuine and sincere to all their listeners.
Hoops is whimsical, delicate and lo-fi, and I often times felt like their music could easily be put in some sort of dream level of Super Mario World. These boys are definitely bringing back elements of new wave and it’s totally working for this Indiana band. I seriously hope these dudes return to California soon, their show is not one worth missing.
WHITNEY LEVINE, DJ