Stepping down into the hidden venue of Elvis Guesthouse, I felt as if I was heading underwater as I descended down the stairs and into a room with tiled floors and blue light reflecting off the spinning disco ball. The blue, purple, and green light flooded the entirety of the space, giving the room a rippling, dreamy, and languid effect. I situated myself in a semi-enclosed seating area by the performing area that reminded me of a retro Miami bathhouse. Funky.
As if on cue, Living Hour
, the five-piece band originating from Winnipeg, Canada, emerged from behind the performing area with ease and manned their stations. Front woman, lead singer, keyboardist, and trombonist Samantha Sarty led the band into their first song sending a dream-like haze over the chilled out crowd, totally adding to that languid effect the venue already harnesses. With closed eyes and emotional vocals, Sarty's skilled fingers swept over the keyboard with familiarity. With a flourish, the band finished their first song with heavy applause and whistling from the audience, garnering the attention of many.
Sarty then introduced themselves before lead guitarist Gill Carroll along with fellow guitarists Adam Soloway and Mischa Decter, and drummer Alex Chochinov lead the next few psychedelic-infused songs, sending some major chill-pop vibes out into the audience. Highlights included "Summer Smog," the first track of their latest self-titled album where Sarty swooped over to grab her trombone, an instrument that stuck with her while growing up. In prolonged and soulful notes, the trombone blended in well with the down-tempo psychedelic guitar waves and rising crescendos that weaved throughout each song.
Other highlights included "Seagull," "Mind Goodbyes," and "This is the Place" where Sarty's vocals dominate the down-tempo atmosphere with drifting vocals. Sarty described the vibe of the band feeling like a "faraway place that you want to explore but never thought you could." Carroll also chimed in noting that it also felt like a "bubble bath."
The band recently finished up their European tour and is now finishing their leg of their North American tour, soon embarking home to Winnipeg. "It's been a little over a month so we're all a bit homesick. Every single day feels like a month because you're experiencing new things and you're always in a completely different environment that you've never imagined before," Sarty explained when I asked how their tour was going. However, both Sarty and Carroll gushed over their time spent touring especially emphasizing their amazement with Prague and a recent show in Long Island that delivered amazing crowd responses.
Into shoegaze and dream-synth? This band is definitely for you.