Hunters Packs the House in Jacksonville!
Last week, we had a chance to check out a very hip Indie Rock band called Hunters based out of Brooklyn, New York and touring in support of their new EP. I got the assignment to review and photograph the up and coming punk rockers while they were touring through Jacksonville. The location was Jack Rabbits, a downtown club, on a very hot muggy day. It was apparent that sweat was guaranteed tonight.
I arrived a few minutes early to set up, and the band soon followed in two vans, unloaded everything and went next door for a quick dinner before the show. The manager of Jack Rabbits was also the engineer of the soundboard, and was in great spirits, very excited about this particular show.
After the two opening bands, Queen Beef and Hank and Cupcakes had finished their high energy sets, the lights went out, and Hunters took the stage. The crowd was packed like sardines in this cool little Jacksonville club but despite the heat no one cared. They were all fired up and ready to see this energetic quartet, and you could tell right away that dancing was definitely gonna be happening this night!
We could instantly tell that this band was the real deal, as the crowd instantly came alive when they played their first song. The music was cool enough to keep everyone engaged and listening for the entire set, unlike some other bands that burn out after a couple songs.
The on-stage fog machine filled the concert hall cranking out cool air to the crowd, while covering the stage with a slick mist. The band’s talented lead singer, Isabel Almieda was instantly recognized by her luscious pink hair the moment she took the stage. She displayed a very smooth voice, and was a hit to everyone who watched her dance across the stage. She was joined by her primary collaborator Derek Watson, a hot shot lead guitarist with cool spiked hair.
This Brooklyn Indie rockers played a smart set, with three fast-paced songs right off the bat, to the delight of the crowd. Isabel was in complete control of the timing of the band and she had the crowd in the palm of her hand; at any moment, she had us in a frenzy, other times she slowed the pace, and the entire time, displaying her wonderful voice that connected to everybody in the room.
It wasn’t long before fans of the opening bands were captivated by her voice and they were quickly in the mix dancing to the beats of Hunters! The band played for 50 minutes and had everyone sweating for more.
Watson played his guitar like a seasoned pro and was a great entertainer, even playing upside down with his feet in the air at one point. The fast-paced finger work for this type of music isn’t easy for most guitarists, but he handled the show with grace, never himself to override his partners in the band and staying in perfect sync with the structure of the songs. Bassist Tommy played every solid note, without cheating the songs with sloppy work providing a cool vibe for everyone which was a pleasant relief from the doom and gloom bands that scream at you.
All the songs were handpicked by the band, and when record labels allow you to have that control it almost guarantees a better sound and show. The songs were presented in a way that brought attention to every song – great catchy hooks that kept everyone in attendance dancing. They finished their set to a very happy crowd and the fans were very excited when the band came out to hang with them after the show.
We reporters had a chance to talk to the band backstage, as they were heading for Orlando, Atlanta, Chicago, Detroit and other big time towns.
We got our photo’s taken with the band, a nice wrap to a great night of rock at a place called Jack Rabbits – where the locals and the newbies go to rock!
This band is on my “TO SEE AGAIN LIST, and we’ll be back again when “Hunters” returns to town.
Thanks to “Hunters” management team, record label, and band members for a great show, and we can’t wait for the new album in 2014! And Jack Rabbits of Jacksonville for always and for many years, putting North Florida on the map as the place to see cool Indie bands!
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Until then, stay cool !