Live Shots: The Hush Sound at Great American Music Hall

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I was introduced to the Hush Sound in high school, when a girlfriend burned "Like Vines” onto a mix CD for me. It was love at first listen. The awkward, adorably fumbling song structures and whimsical lyrics of the Like Vines album were the perfect mirror to my gawky teenage soul. Goodbye Blues, the last album the band released before going on hiatus, showed more advanced songwriting technique and much better production. It was a tragedy. Growing up had made the Hush Sound lose its charm. I kept burning old Hush Sound songs onto mix CDs for a couple of years, and then slowly forgot about it.

You can imagine my surprise when, walking into the Great American last Friday night for a Hush Sound reunion show, I found myself in a nearly sold-out venue. As it turns out, other people had also restlessly waited through the five-year hiatus for this opportunity to relive their youth.

The crowd was predominantly early-20s females — my people. All around me I saw old, faded Hush Sound T-shirts several sizes too small and excited faces screaming at every advancement of set up: drum kit, scream, mic check, scream.

As the Hush Sound took the stage, the energy in the venue was through the roof. To my — and apparently everyone else’s —delight, the first song was “Like Vines.” The floor shook with bouncing bodies and the band nearly drowned out by hundreds of people singing along with every word.

As the set progressed, the audience’s energy plunged ahead undaunted. It screamed for every song, every interlude, and every very bad joke. The band itself was no match for us. Old, beloved songs seemed limp and lifeless. The band seemed tired, and the banter between Greta and Bob was stiff and painfully unfunny.

While the audience clearly had not outgrown its love for the Hush Sound, it seemed as though the band itself has moved on. When the group introduced a few new songs, however, its renewed energy and interest was palpable. Brand new songs like “Scavengers” had a great groove, awesome sing-along vocals, and the kind of enthusiasm that had been missing from the rest of the show.

For the encore, we fans were asked to show out requests. When “Crawling Toward the Sun” was selected, the crowd roared in excitement, to the bands apparent disbelief. As it plunged into one of its oldest songs, everything came together for a brief moment.

The band seemed to enjoy it and the audience was absolutely ecstatic as it sang in chorus and swayed with nostalgia.
This joyful moment was a relief to me. It proved that the Hush Sound is still capable of capturing such moments. I am hopeful that the band's next album is a return to the simple, earnest melodies its fans will always love it for.