Hey Marseilles

Johnny Brenda's & Bonfire Presents

Hey Marseilles

Bad Bad Hats

Wed, February 10, 2016

Doors: 8:00 pm / Show: 9:00 pm


This event is 21 and over

All shows are 21+ Proper I.D. required for admission

Hey Marseilles - (Set time: 10:00 PM)
Hey Marseilles
As a musical breeding ground, Seattle is mistrustful of eager strivers. Still suffering from a grunge hangover, the city would rather embrace its underachievers than hitch its wagon to the obviously ambitious. So for the past eight years, Hey Marseilles has played by the rules, earned their indie cred the usual way: by touring relentlessly across the US and releasing a pair of albums beloved by fans around the world. But even as they succeeded at their modest goals, the members of Hey Marseilles—singer Matt Bishop, guitarist Nick Ward, keyboardist Philip Kobernik, cellist Sam Anderson, violist Jacob Anderson—felt restless.

With their third album, Hey Marseilles shakes off the past and takes a big, bold step. In all its panoramic grandeur, Hey Marseilles leans into a new, bright future. In its polished production, its narrative arc, its departure from the band's previous MO, the album is a leap forward. And it finds the humble quintet ready for the risk.

Two years ago, Hey Marseilles met Anthony Kilhoffer, an A-list, LA-based producer and engineer who's won Grammys for his work with Kanye West and John Legend. Kilhoffer typically trafficks in the realm of Top-40 pop and hip-hop, among platinum-status megastars like Jay Z and R. Kelly and Rick Ross. After they were introduced by mutual friends, Kilhoffer saw something in Hey Marseilles that he couldn't resist: the radical adventure of veering down an uncharted road. He jumped at the chance to work with the band. For their part, Hey Marseilles recognized an unprecedented opportunity to push their usual creative in new directions. Up for the challenge, they went all-in.

In early 2014, the group made a couple trips to LA, prewriting with Kilhoffer and a small cadre of songwriters, absorbing their almost scientific advice on how to hone the more accessible, "pop" elements of their sound. Later that year, Kilhoffer spent a couple weeks in Seattle, taking the helm at the mixing board at Avast and London Bridge Studios while the band completed recording. They found that the 41-year-old producer was—how to put this delicately?—eccentric in his approach. (Ask them about it; they have a zillion stories.) In his focus on immediacy and accessibility, they also believed Kilhoffer was right. His MO, as paraphrased by the band: Find the song's catchiest part. Get there faster. Do it more.

What you hear on Hey Marseilles is a band has the guts to change course deep into their career, backed by the self-awareness to understand the exact place they were meant to go. It's self-titled because, at three albums in, the band announcing itself the world as if for the first time. All of the members have individual songwriting credits here—a first. The entire album, music and lyrics, is about adventurousness, finding faith in a new path.

The spirit is there from the start: Album opener "Eyes On You" contains the most explosive climax in Hey Marseilles history, and at under three minutes long, it's the shortest song they've ever recorded. Credit Kilhoffer's skills as producer and head coach: This is the kind of thrilling hit song he's known for. "West Coast" follows, inspired by endless hours on the road and the new beginnings found there, "the moment everything had changed" as Bishop sings, his tenor buoyed by Kobernik's elegant piano. "My Heart" percolates with electro-pop enthusiasm, ready to take a spot next to Kilhoffer's other Top-40 anthems. Reggie Watts, former Seattleite and current music director on Late Night with James Corden, lends uplifting vocals to the yearning, catchy "Perfect OK." On "Trouble," Bishop croons one of the album's most memorable lyrics, penned by Sam Anderson: "What good is love or trust/If you never get in trouble?" Thematically, "Crooked Lines" picks up where the band's previous album, Lines We Trace, left off. It's the album's only moment of hindsight, countered a few songs later with the band's simmering, scintillating cover of David Bowie's "Heroes." The album closes with "Horizon," its most introspective number.

"I'm out on the horizon/with the darkness below," Bishop sings, Anderson's cello and Kobernik's keys resonating like a dirge. "I'm out on the horizon/But it seems like I'm close." Closer than close.

Hey Marseilles has arrived.
Bad Bad Hats - (Set time: 9:00 PM)
Bad Bad Hats
Bad Bad Hats is an indie rock band from Minneapolis, Minnesota. Kerry Alexander (vocals, guitar, wisdom), Chris Hoge (drums, courage), and Noah Boswell (bass, power) met while attending Macalester College in Saint Paul, Minn. Kerry and Chris began writing songs together in 2010, recording a collection of demos that would later become their first EP. The addition of their friend Noah in 2012 solidified the line-up. The indie rock trio's songwriting quickly caught the ear of Minneapolis label Afternoon Records, whose alumni includes Yellow Ostrich, Now Now, Haley Bonar, and One for the Team, among others. Afternoon Records signed the trio and released their It Hurts EP in early 2013. Two years later, the band released their bold debut LP, Psychic Reader, on July 17th.

Before the three joined forces (creating what is now known as the Triforce), Alexander recorded rough demos in her mom's walk-in shower and sang 90s pop covers at open mic nights. Hoge played electric guitar in high school, but took up drums in college to fill out his own fuzzy recordings. Boswell played in jazz band by day and spun turntables by night in a teen experimental rap squad called The Erotic Assassins.

As primary songwriter, Kerry's perspective is the guiding force behind Bad Bad Hats. In her early teens, Kerry's family moved away from her childhood home in Birmingham, Alabama. As the new kid at a new school, Alexander began writing songs to temper her loneliness and take up the time. Inspired by popular female songwriters of the 90s, notably Alanis Morissette, Kim Deal, and Letters to Cleo's Kay Hanley, Kerry developed a unique songwriting voice of her own. She embraces classic melodies and simple arrangements, and does not shy away from emotive lyrics. It's Kerry's party and she'll cry if she wants to.

Since the release of It Hurts, the three friends have performed around the Midwest, working on new material that expands upon the homespun sound of their previous work. Psychic Reader is the result of their sonic growth. Bolstered by the experimental touches of the album's producer, Brett Bullion, Psychic Reader draws from the influences of all three members, exploring a number of musical styles over the course of 33 minutes. Kerry's strong vocals and lyrical sensibilities tie the songs together as a cohesive unit, making for an album that is both surprising and universal.
Venue Information:
Johnny Brenda's
1201 N. Frankford Ave
Philadelphia, PA, 19125