Review and photos – Uh Huh Her at Venue, Vancouver, Nov 5 2011
– review by Shawn Conner/photos by Robyn Hanson
Even more so than usual, boobs were very much on the minds of those attending the Uh Huh Her show last night at Venue. Besides the table in the lobby vending “I love boobies” T-shirts and little breast-like cushions, short films about breast cancer awareness and prevention were projected on the screen behind the stage before the headliner’s set.
Uh Huh Her is the L.A.-based band (named after a PJ Harvey album) headlining what they are calling the Keep A Breast Tour. Fortuitously, nearly everyone in the audience was in possession of said anatomical parts; Uh Huh Her is co-fronted by Leisha Hailey, an actress whose best-known role is as Alice Pieszecki in The L Word (her character appeared in all 70 episodes of the show, partially filmed in Vancouver), and many of the band’s fans have found the duo, as a result of the Showtime lesbian drama.
In other words, there were a lot of women in the audience last night, some yelling out the name of the series many taking phone pics of themselves with Uh Huh Her onstage in the background. (In contrast, the night before at the Biltmore, I didn’t see one person take a picture of themselves with The Lemonheads.)
It should be noted that Hailey released three albums as a member of ’90s band The Murmurs, so she’s no pop music dilettante, and Uh Huh Her – which is co-fronted by Camila Grey on vocals, keyboards and guitar – has a sound solidly grounded in guitar-based alt-rock bands like My Bloody Valentine and Jesus and Mary Chain (and, for a more obscure reference, Eve’s Plum). This is evident much more live than on Uh Huh Her’s just-released second album, Nocturnes, which has a tough, sleek electro-pop sheen.
Onstage, backed by a drummer and second guitarist (both male), Hailey and Grey traded off on guitar, bass and keyboards, and sang harmonies on tracks from this spring’s Black and Blue EP as well as from the new album. The songs were grinding, droning and soaring, sometimes all at once when the four-piece hit on a particularly sky-reaching chorus, as with “Disdain” (off Nocturnes).
The set was all the stronger for being brief – barely an hour, including encore – and no one seemed particularly disappointed at being turned out onto the street before 10 on a Saturday night. After all, there were boobies to seek out.
More Uh Huh Her photos: