Hypnogaja/Sky Tyler Show Review (November 2002)

You can also view this here: http://web.archive.org/web/20070630032027/www.agouti.com/feature.aspx?id=36 and you used to be able to view it here: http://www.agouti.com/feature.aspx?id=36.

Jughead checks out Sky Tyler and Hypnogaja last month at the Voodoo Lounge in SF.

On an October Saturday evening, I visited the Voodoo Lounge in San Francisco to see Sky Tyler and Hypnogaja open up for three other bands. The best of the night were these first two performers.

Tyler has received commercial radio airplay despite not being on a major label, which shows her talent is on the brink of superstardom. But would her style of powerful singing translate to the stage? Tonight, it did. With five backing musicians, Tyler got the evening off to a great start, exhibiting a powerful voice and tremendous range. Her six-song set was painfully short. I am sure she could have gone on forever, given the opportunity.

Tyler made the most of her time, singing some songs from her first album Now U Know, including “Tear It All Apart” and “Society Girl.” She ended with “Fireworks” and “It’s Only Sex,” a couple tracks from her upcoming album, which comes out early in 2003.

Dressed in a midriff-revealing red shirt, Tyler had the crowd’s attention with her never-tiring voice. It is too cliché to say her voice is soulful. She simply has a strong voice and the stamina to belt it out for all to hear.

After Tyler’s performance, the crowd was treated with Hypnogaja. Despite the excellent job that the sound people at The Voodoo Lounge did with Tyler, they couldn’t seem to figure out how to make Hypnogaja sound as good as they played. Everything seemed to be turned up all the way, so instead of hearing the nuances of their different songs, the attendees simply heard loud, and lots of it.

Hypnogaja did their best to overcome this inconvenience, and they appeared to win the crowd over. They played a nine-song set, all of which came from their 15-track CD, Post-Hypnotic Stress Disorder.

To say Hypnogaja is eclectic is putting it mildly. One minute, they are trying to be soulful, singing like Creed. Suddenly, here comes a dub number, and the same guy is singing on both tracks! Actually, the five-piece only has the one singer, although the keyboardist occasionally did some backing vocals.

Some tracks carried a 311 vibe, especially those with a reggae feel. Others made me think of Duran Duran. But the best track featured some harmonizing with the keyboardist and the lead singer. “Too Fast” was the name of the song, and that was how the song went; too fast. If Hypnogaja ever settled down and picked one direction to go in, it would be this way that would suit them best.

Hypnogaja finished with “Voodoo Baby.” Considering the name of the venue, they could have made a stupid pun, but really, after the first two or three tracks, the band did not speak much with the crowd. I think they wanted to make sure they got all nine of their songs in because they were only allotted about 30 minutes.

Hypnogaja would be a great party band because of their disparate song selection. Personally, I think they could benefit from being a little less diverse in their style, but a lot of people like variety, and I suppose if people want cake, then let them eat cake!

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