Hot Flash Heat Wave Is The Band Next Door Willing To Share Their Ganja Gaze THOUGHTS+PHOTOS: HOT FLASH HEAT WAVE @ THE HI HAT 3/9/18
LOS ANGELES, CA- Hot Flash Heat Wave brought their fuzzed out sound to the Hi Hat in Highland Park on March 9th. The Davis-bred band co-headlined with No Vacation, this show being another stop in the groups’ joint tour as they made their way to SXSW and on to the East Coast. Two days earlier, both indie standouts were taking a trip down memory lane as they gigged San Francisco, where they bonded while living in the Excelsior District and creating their most recent albums.
Hot Flash’s latest release is their sophomore effort Soaked (June 2nd, ’17; OIM Records). The band crafted the 12-track LP while living together as a four-piece made up of barely-twenties guys, living out a dream that began in childhood friendships. Best summed up as surf rock that’s been dip-dyed in pop production, they have continued to distill their warm, languid sound since their 2015 debut, Neapolitan.
Hot Flash songs are melody driven, helped on by three lead singers, Adam Abildgaard (guitar), Ted David (base), and Nathaniel Blum (guitar). Rather cutely, they label themselves as “Ganja Gaze” in their Facebook bio. But things have been shifting for Hot Flash. Case in point, their Facebook band members list is now outdated, as drummer Nick Duffy has recently left the band. Taking his place is Ben Briggance, who joined Hot Flash at their Los Angeles performance. Also new to the Hi Hat stage was Jared Johnson, a keyboardist and childhood friend whose addition means they’ll be touring with someone on the keys for the first time.
The clear standout from the night’s lineup, Hot Flash delivered the affable, DIY element that has earned them their fan base. Moving through Soaked tracks, the group rarely veered from their signature nonchalance. Things picked up as the crowd dedicated themselves to the jangly hit “Bye Bye Baby,” off the album, and again with the guitar-heavy “Gutter Girl” which first launched the band into the lo-fi spotlight in 2015.
The freshly minted single “Glo Ride,” (released March 2nd) let them slip into a hazier sound that celebrates a glossier, more fluid version of Heat Wave. This would be their most successful song, as the softened edges helped them smooth out pitch issues and generally set themselves apart from any old L.A. garage rock show.
While Hot Flash has traded in their SF spot for a Central Valley pad, the group is more than happy to be back in action alongside No Vacation. In fact, guitarist Blum has been close with their co-headliner’s keyboardist Nat Lee since they were scraping their knees in Davis. The best part of the night came at the close, as both member-heavy groups crowded onto the stage for a Dolores O’Riordan tribute, youthful co-ed voices blending together with a winning rendition of “Linger.” As audience members and artists alike draped their arms around one another, Hot Flash glowed in the company of friends new and old.
The band-next-door has now wrapped their tour, punctuated by a successful showing in Austin, and will return to prepare for summer fest slots, including a place at Outside Lands in August.