Philadelphia-based band Mothers, along with local openers Alex Perez and HOOM, performed Hope College Concert Series’ very first show of the year this past Saturday night at Park Theatre. Inspired by artists like Neutral Milk Hotel and Sufjan Stevens, Mothers is an experimental indie rock group that seeks to create a musical experience that leaves listeners questioning their minds and bodies by collaging philosophical lyrics with tempochanging tracks.
It is unusual to see the Hope College Concert Series host a show with two local openers, but this concert broke the norm. Alex Perez, a local Holland resident, began the evening with a solo set. His slow yet rhythmic songs swept over the crowd, and listeners remained respectfully quiet during his performance. Alex’s quirky and freespirited style matched his music, as each tune followed its own path. Abandoning the typical verse-chorus-verse-chorus structure, Alex composed and performed work that fed off of itself, with each line taking a life of its own. Perez’s performance on Saturday night was spunky yet relaxing, demonstrating immense growth for the favored local artist. HOOM, a band out of Grand Rapids, took the stage after Alex Perez. The group was composed of two guitarists, three singers, a bassist and a drummer, and the full ensemble produced feelgood indie rock tunes with a deceptively simple vibe. Though their nonchalant image and easygoing melodies were pocketed into the usual indie sounds, sights and scene, HOOM’s music was layered with guitar tones, vocal harmonies and groovy bass lines that seeped into the house.
The drums grounded each song with a splashy yet airy tone, and the hi-hat took sonic cues from electronic kits used for hip-hop beats. The repetitive tap of the hi-hat melted perfectly into the choruses of each tune and proved that HOOM was more than just your run-of-the-mill indie rock band: they’re an up-and-coming force in Michigan-made music. Mothers rounded out the night with a set that lingered around the length of an hour. With roots in rock and alternative, Mothers took an experimental approach to their latest album “Render Another Ugly Method” that was released in late 2018. The album contrasted the group’s debut LP with more electric guitar fuzz and stranger lyrics than ever before, which came across in their live performance. Songs covered topics like living without a body and what it means to be human, while taking a post-punk approach to both the sonic and lyrical landscape of each piece
. Mothers broke the typical rules of mainstream indie rock shows with bridges that sounded like chants and synth lines that climbed underneath the vocal melodies, melding together a musical experience that amused and confused listeners’ ears. If you missed Hope College Concert Series’ first show of the year, don’t worry. The series has a packed lineup ahead, featuring Gungor, Michigander, Novo Amor and Snail Mail. Check out HCCS’ social media pages and hope.edu/concerts for tickets.