Monday, November 21, 2011

Live Review: Hurt/Dead Fish Handshake (Acoustic) 11/19/11 @ Architekt Music in Butler, NJ

"If you don't mind, we're gonna rock the fuck out."-J. Loren (Hurt)

And that they did. And that they did. Hurt took their "Acoustic Experience" tour to the middle of nowhere New Jersey on Saturday evening for an unforgettable set.

Hurt, who is planning a release of their fourth album in March (The Crux), proved that you don't need the chug-chugging of guitars to rock a crowd.

Openers Matthew Paul (lead singer) and Rob Ferreira (guitarist) of the band Dead Fish Handshake (a band name that will likely go into the Rainbow Butt Monkeys Hall of Fame) started the night off with a great acoustic set that featured songs off of their March 2011 debut Across State Lines, a song off of the upcoming album that they're recording this winter and a great cover of Mad Season's River of Deceit, one of the greatest songs of the 90s. As odd as their name is, their set was great and managed to hold their own considering they were opening for a nationally renowned band.

And then there was Hurt. For those of you who've never listened to Hurt, they're a hard rock band that has elements of country and classical music rolled in with a singer/songwriter sensability. It's rare for a hard rock band's strength to be in their songwriting. J. Loren, in my opinion, is the most talented songwriter in the entire genre and the performance on Saturday night reinforced that.

Hurt played an expansive 18-song, two hour set that spanned the entire band catalogue, including their debut self-titled album from 2000. You can tell that the band really puts a lot into their work whether it comes to studio work or live performances. Each performance had such intricacy that I felt like I was watching Hurt record an acoustic album live (which they should clearly do after the release of The Crux). J. Loren's vocals were incredible to the point that even his whistling was on key. The fans themselves sang the end of Assurance on key as well.

As good as some of the other shows I've been to this year were, Hurt's acoustic performance at Architekt will go down as my hands down favorite. Hurt is an example of a band that could be on a major label, independent, or self-released that can put out the same spectacular result no matter the obstacles thrown their way. I'm so glad that they haven't folded under the weight of the crumbling music industry.

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