The long-awaited release of Hollerado’s newest album White Paint was cause for celebration at The Rivoli this past Tuesday night. The room was abuzz while the on-lookers were gingerly drinking their free Steam Whistle, sheltered from the unforgiving elements of a dreary winter rain/snow storm.
A very fitting, albeit unexpected and slightly perplexing opener was the one and only Fred Penner. Yes, boys and girls, that Fred Penner. When Hollerado frontman Menno Versteeg came out to introduce Mr. Penner, our questioning of his placement on the bill were put to rest; Versteeg’s sentiments of enjoying Fred Penner as a child and most importantly remembering feeling the happiness that Penner clearly emoted whilst playing is why he wanted to share the stage with him.
As Penner, guitar in hand, made his way through the backline he exclaimed, “This isn’t awkward at all!”. Once at the mic he said, “That was about as easy as crawling through a log!”, and the crowd was his. He called us children as he said hello, and explained that participation was the key to his existence, and we should be prepared to revert back to our youth. All that whimsical anticipation from watching Fred Penner when I was a child came rushing back, and I feel as though my fellow audience members were in the same boat. We sang along, repeated when he told us to, and wallowed in his awesomeness. Leaving us with the warmest regards of ‘Take care of each other, I love you!’ Penner handed the stage over to Hollerado.
The combination of the opening riff of ‘Juliet’ and an explosion of laser-esque lights panning down into the audience was more than enough to kick their set into high gear. Having last seen these dudes effortlessly work the sold out crowd at Sound Academy it was truly wonderful to see them up close and personal in such an intimate setting.They really do put on a great show, and if you haven’t seen them live I suggest you change that immediately. As Versteeg told an incredibly long and detailed story about his reaction to the first review of ‘White Paint’, which resulted in sobbing and puking on corduroy pants, I couldn’t help but wonder if Fred Penner was listening.
Emitting a cohesive sound that can only be described as heartfelt and creatively driven, their set was filled with strong four part harmonies and skillfully elongated transitions into big finishes. What I love the most about Hollerado is their obvious understanding and support of each other. They are four friends on stage, having fun and showcasing their high levels of talent. The set ended strong with the song that started it all, “Americanarama” and Fred Penner came and joined the boys on stage with a tambourine and sang along with the band and the crowd.