Sure this happens sometimes, but usually not so obviously. The melody driven Someone Still Loves You, Boris Yeltsin provided some old-school '80s pop flavor to a cold Thursday night and outshone their fellow headliners, Ha Ha Tonka.
Both bands from Missouri play straight ahead rock, but Tonka, pictured above, is supposed to be on the alt-country side of things. And while their recent album, "Death of a Decade," is rootsy they don't sound like that at all in person. They sound like basic pop - almost boy bandish at times with harmonies, cool hair and billboard smiles all in tow. One of the few highlights was a bluegrassy take on "Gallows Pole."
Meanwhile, the co-headliner, Boris Yeltsin, were focused on their songs, said it was their first time in SLC playing outside of Kilby Court and seemed to relish the bigger room, even if the bands only drew about 100 people. The Yeltsin hour-long set, highlighted by songs from its latest album, "Tape Club," had more people dancing than Ha Ha and seemed to enjoy greater interest. It's arguable that the openers, Salt Lake City's The Trappers were even more engaging than Ha Ha Tonka.
Overcoming boomy, poorly mixed sound, The Trappers played a traditional country set that felt short at 45 minutes. By contrast, Ha Ha's 70 minute set seemed long and climaxed with Yeltsin bandmembers helping the headliners sing Oasis' "Champagne Supernova." It was easy to tell who graduated high school in the mid-to-late '90s. They were the drunk guys up front singing along.
It was the few moments that Ha Ha Tonka really had the audience focused on them.