Local music review: Honeymoon and Mr. Tiger

Staff Writer
Columbus Alive

When a relatively unknown touring band plays with two relatively unknown local bands on a weeknight in a bar that refuses to put its name on a sign out front, chances are turnout is going to be poor. Such was the case last Wednesday at The Summit, where longtime indie rock also-ran So Many Dynamos headlined.

But some of my favorite shows have happened in such a setting, and I like to see local bands I've never seen before, so I went to check out the opening acts.

First up was Honeymoon, a new band fronted by longtime solo artist Jonathan Hape. While the singer-songwriter has recently dabbled in moody, atmospheric indie rock inspired by tape-loop specialists The Microphones, Honeymoon is intended as his outlet for more straightforward rock songs informed by another Pacific Northwest staple: emo forefathers Sunny Day Real Estate.

This is the first time Hape's had a proper band in five years, and they had their first practice three days before this show. They were impressively on point considering the fast gestation time, which was cool considering I've never been satisfied with how Hape brings his engaging studio sounds to the stage.

Unfortunately, the music wasn't Hape's most inspiring - mostly by-the-books emo-tinged indie rock that felt like a few nice guitar patterns strung together rather than fully formed songs.

He had been discarding selections like these because they didn't fit the mood of his solo works, and it's telling that Honeymoon's best material Wednesday was the two songs from Hape's great "Carnivore" album. There's a reason the stuff was on the cutting room floor before.

Next up was Mr. Tiger, a band that's been popping up on bills intermittently for several years now. Frontman Chris Q. is best known for playing in quirky '90s punk band Clay with Guinea Worms' Will Foster; you can download their album "Stories of Kirk and His Flat" for free on cringe.com.

Clay made jittery pop-punk that reminds me of Devo and Talking Heads. Mr. Tiger operated much the same way. The music Wednesday was spare and spastic, driven by rhythm and rambunctious energy more than feel and texture. It wasn't a marvel of songwriting, but the zany, skeletal set was rousing if nothing else.