Wicked Revelry

Hello Dave

Mountain Records, 2000


REVIEW BY: Christopher Thelen


People always ask me what I think of the Chicago music scene, and notably certain groups. Here's the embarassing truth: I often hear about a band for the first time when someone asks me about them. It's just so hard to keep up with the scene (especially now that I live within 10 miles of the Wisconsin border... it's a matter of time before people start asking me about the Milwaukee music scene).

One such Chicago band whom I'm now just learning about is Hello Dave. Veterans of the scene (with several albums to their name), these guys are about as far apart from famous Chicago exports like Smashing Pumpkins and Veruca Salt as one could imagine. Think of a midwestern version of The Jayhawks, and you've got Hello Dave.my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

Their latest disc, Wicked Revelry, captures lead vocalist/rhythm guitarist Mike Himebaugh and crew in one of Chicago's more intimate settings, Martyr's. (If you're ever in Chicago, I highly recommend going there. Great people, good sound... and if you're lucky, on-street parking.) The band whips through nine tracks from their show (as well as one studio recording) which will leave the listener wanting to know more about this quirky little group.

One word of "caution", though: Hello Dave is kind of like alternative-country (though they're by no means a country act), and if you haven't experienced groups like The Jayhawks, this is not always the easiest musical style to get used to. I've listened to this disc several times over the last few weeks, and I admit I still can't get into "Ames," undountedly the track with the strongest country influences among the group. Maybe that's just a matter of personal taste, though.

For the most part, Hello Dave are absolutely charming, and their music should definitely leave you wanting more. Tracks like "Mountains," "Fine Young Thing," "Saturnalia," "Open My Eyes" and the untitled seventh track are charming and infectious. The band - Himebaugh,guitarists Mike Hall and Mike "Magoo" McGohan, bassist Allen Wetzel and drummer Bryan "REZ" Resendiz - suggest through their music that they've learned the lessons of independent band life well, and they're ready to break through to the big time. Wicked Revelry is proof that they're ripe for the picking by the major labels.

If you needed any further proof, check out the studio track "Summertime" - a song which should make the listener want to check out the remainder of Hello Dave's discography. Live, Hello Dave proves they can deliver the goods, but they also show they're just as capable of doing so in the studio setting. Not all bands can pull that off.

Wicked Revelry might be seen down the road as the final portrait of Hello Dave just before they made it to the big leagues. At least, that's what I'm hoping will happen as a result of this disc. Check it out... and check out the band the next time you're in Chicago.

Rating: A-

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© 2001 Christopher Thelen and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of Mountain Records, and is used for informational purposes only.