‘Saturday night kind of pink’: Houndmouth retro performance energizes the Fillmore

Vivian Roan/Staff

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On Saturday night, you may have entered the Fillmore thinking it was 2018 — but with the neon pink chandeliers, smells of cigarettes and Houndmouth’s performance, it felt like you had time traveled to the late ‘70s.

The alternative blues band brought its signature sound to this venue in this corner of San Francisco — it got the crowd jumping on its feet with a very energetic, retro set that featured a wide variety of instruments, such as mallets and the saxophone. Throughout the night, the band members used the reverberating atmosphere of the Fillmore to their advantage, not shying away from bringing full energy to each song.

Before Houndmouth, Family of the Year opened with a charming performance. The band is most famous for its single “Hero,” which was featured in the 2014 movie “Boyhood,” but its members impressed with their varying music styles — both soft acoustic melodies and more fun, upbeat rock songs.

After the opening act, Houndmouth immediately jumped into its set with “Waiting for the Night,” a song with a catchy, punctuated bassline.

Bassist Zak Appleby ran onto the stage dressed in wide, white pants, a tight shirt and a large, cheetah-print jacket, reflecting the very ‘70s theme of the show. Appleby kept his energy high for the whole set, as he constantly jumped up and down, laughing and feeding off the sound of his band members. With later songs such as “Coast to Coast,” his voice stood out the most because of the full spirit he brought to the stage.

But it was the band’s first song, “Waiting for the Night,” that cemented the crowd’s energy and got everyone bopping with the beat and singing along to the first verse of the song: “Well, little sister retro / I think you better put on your stilettos / I know these times, they can be so heavy / Gonna pick you up, you better be ready.” These words aptly captured the retro vibe and uplifting message that came across throughout the night.

Almost every song packed the punch of a running bassline and solid beat, as driven by Drummer Shane Cody. The set carried a cohesive theme of boppy, alternative rock, so much so that Houndmouth almost ran the risk of lacking diversity in its songs.

Nonetheless, the band did a phenomenal job of marrying multiple instruments together, which made up for any lack of variation among the songs’ sounds — the moving parts all came together into one art piece for every song. Namely, “Golden Age” has a clicking percussion that couples with lead guitarist Matt Myers’ voice, along with Cody’s beats on the drums.

With standout guitar solos and syncopated beats in songs such as “15 Years,” Houndmouth really brought out its late ‘70s and ‘80s tones. The crowd was jumping up and down and shimmying side to side as the band members picked up the speed of their jumpy beats.

And while most of the show felt like a throwback, the band was in fact performing songs from its most recent album, Golden Age, which was released Aug. 3, 2018. Of course, the crowd was graced with actual throwbacks, such as “Hey Rose” from the band’s 2013 album and one of Houndmouth’s more famous songs, “Sedona,” from its 2015 album.

In fact, the band wrapped its set with “Sedona,” from which the lines “I remember, I remember when the neon used to burn so bright and pink / Saturday night kind of pink” seemed to ring especially true in the Fillmore concert hall that Saturday night. As the venue reflected blue, purple and pink lights, the sound of the band echoed throughout the hall and lifted up the audience.

Whether or not the crowd actually time traveled to the ‘70s, Houndmouth did its best to make us feel as though we had.

Contact Malini Ramaiyer at [email protected]. Tweet her at @malinisramaiyer.