I’m not sure how to explain this quartet minus one (who chose fighting off evil bacteria over performing) in full. To help accent their one unsatisfactory element, I think it would help if I began with a conversation my father and I held with Leighton Kearns, the bassist of Sunflower Dead, during Bad Hunter’s sound check. As the drummer smacked his snare, Kearns shook his head in a disdainful manner and muttered, “piccolo snare.” This soon led to a long explanation on how only two bands in the world can pull off piccolo snare. Despite his evident distaste, I chose to keep an open mind to the sound we’d soon hear. Of course, Kearns knew what he was talking about. No, I am not saying that Bad Hunter was bad, I’m saying that the register their music occupied leaned a little too much to the high side. Catchy tunes and adorable shout-outs to the lead singer’s toddler offspring entertained the audience despite the quiet bass line and slightly out-of-tune vocals. Please don’t take this the wrong, I like them, but you aren’t opening my website to read gushy and fluffed up reviews. As much as you want to say that mankind looks for the good things in the world, all you really want to hear are the slamming of bands and harsh reviews. Admit it. However, I can definitely say that the energy of Bad Hunter brought all middle-aged men inspiration to continue their rock-and-roll lifestyle and to promote it to their children from the youngest possible age. My favourite part of watching was seeing the lead singer’s adorable 2-year-old daughter sporting a florid pink bow running to the stage to give her father a hug. The father asked her to sing and we were all hoping for a repeat of America’s Got Talent’s screamo performance courtesy of 6-year-old Aaralyn.
When Sunflower Dead finally walked on the stage after various workers at the venue fiddled with every wire known to man, it felt as if I had been banging my head against a wall and I finally stopped and damn it felt so good to stop. After being relieved of my metaphorical head whacking, the creepiness of the band members sunk in. From the drummer (Jimmy Schultz) with his lips painted to look like they’d been sewn shut to Kearns with his bloody grin to Michael with his skeletal head painted all over with black veins, there is a creepiness of which normally you would only find deep in the Twilight Zone. Of course, their looks do not dominate the band because their musical ability trumps their outlandish appearance. As Michael zombie-walks on the stage while playing the accordion and wearing the most disturbing expression I’ve ever seen, the band strikes up their first chords to begin the best performance by Sunflower Dead that I’ve ever seen. The guitar wove its intricate lines into the solid, heavy bass line; all this tied in so evenly with the drums and Michael's vocals were the cherry on top. Michael has a passion for music that is so infectious that even the grumpy old men in the back end up head banging and thrashing along with the rest. The joy Michael has from performing is etched into his face so deeply; just seeing that makes you pray to whoever happens to be condemning us to hell and living in the clouds that Sunflower Dead will become more famous than Ozzy or Miley Cyrus. They do deserve to be famous; the band is simply a huge mixture of mind-blowing talent. To end the energetic performance, Michael jumps into the audience and begins to sing and thrash around with all of us. I had so much fun. I can’t wait till the next time I see them.
Thank you to Bad Hunter and Sunflower Dead for an awesome concert.
Zoe Adler is a music journalist from Long Beach, California. Besides her website, which is her pride and joy, she works with the GRAMMY Foundation and the Long Beach Independent. Additionally, Ms. Adler is a musician, spending half of her time playing the flute, piccolo, trombone, and marching baritone. She has been with TeenView Music since the very start and hopes to make something of it in the future.