Photos // Patrick Do
Words // Randall Carbajal
Friday March 9th, 2018 was a chilly night in Highland Park, and I found myself at The Hi Hat for the first time alongside the youth of Los Angeles where things were sure to warm up with Tim Atlas, Hot Flash Heat Wave, and No Vacation as the night’s entertainment. Tim Atlas gave the show an electric start with the kind of synth-drenched groove the young music listeners of today have come to know and love. Atlas’ cool demeanor and enthusiastic band was an ideal match for their synthetic dance inducing pop numbers, some of which were from Atlas’ recently released EP, All Talk!. After a seemingly brief set of songs Tim Atlas had done The Hi Hat a courtesy of getting the audience energized and paving the way for the next act.
Hot Flash Heat Wave immediately got the crowd moving with a rousing rush of sound that felt right at home in Los Angeles. The performance was turned up a notch when members of the next act, No Vacation, attempted to ride onto the crowd using an inflatable waterbed, thus beginning a strange trend of stage dives that lacked in execution, but made up in hilarity for the duration of the night. Hot Flash Heat Wave got a strong reaction out of the spectators when they played a fan favorite, “Raindrop” off of last year’s album Soaked with the young fans singing the band’s own lyrics right back at them. The energy only continued to build with the band pulling a fan onstage, only to have her assist with kicking a Donald Trump piñata off the stage as well as kicking off another beloved Hot Flash Heat Wave tune, “Gutter Girl.” The performance was brought to a unique finish when the band gave the usually somber track “Blue” a more polka-esque rendition due to their recently added keyboardist equipping himself with an accordion.
The final act was soon to be performing and fans proceeded to rush the stage, the house was full, yet never crowded, at this point it was easy for me to understand why I had only heard good things about The Hi Hat, this venue is easy to adore. No Vacation enticed the audience into the beginning of their set with a slow, atmospheric opening only to blazingly transition into a dance-y number, keeping their track “Sad Valentine” true to form. One of the highlights of their set was when No Vacation played a new song, unlike the usual audience reaction of patience and attentiveness this song in particular made such an impact on all of us, even members of Hot Flash Heat Wave found themselves stage diving and embracing mosh pits.
No Vacation continued to provide ambience as well as high energy, leaving the crowd enthralled by their successful attempt of interpreting their dream pop ambitions. The audience had transfigured into a sea of cellphones as No Vacation played, arguably their most popular song, “Yam Yam” from last year’s EP Intermission, fans would continue to embrace the band going out of their way to physically connect with the vocalist whenever she approached the edge of the stage. No Vacation saved fan favorite track, “Dræm Girl” for last, which left most of us to wonder what they would have in store for their inevitable encore. Accompanied by all of the members of Hot Flash Heat Wave, No Vacation embraced a powerful performance covering the impactful ballad, “Linger” originally performed by The Cranberries, which ended the night at The Hi-Hat on a high note.