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Live review: Someone Still Loves You Boris Yeltsin, Ha Ha Tonka @ the Hi-Dive

Ah, sweet saccharine pop-punk. Wednesday night’s Someone Still Loves You Boris Yeltsin’s show at the Hi-Dive was steeped in it. But, despite their best efforts, they underwhelmed the crowd, which had significantly diminished following openers Ha Ha Tonka’s set.

Although Someone Still Loves You Boris Yeltsin was the headliner, Wednesday’s crowd belonged to Ha Ha Tonka. As the Missouri four-piece performed numbers off its newest album, “Death of a Decade,” it was clear that the audience was there for them. The 18+ crowd enthusiastically followed every cue, every prompt, clapped at every indication, and cheered at every pause. Midway through the set, singer/guitarist Brian Roberts excitedly let everyone know that they and Someone Still Loves You Boris Yeltsin have a long history; being from the same area in Missouri and touring together previously.

 

With their lack of facial hair paired with their striped polo shirts, the young band members of SSLYBY looked refreshingly unassuming, as though we were watching our collective little brother’s friend’s band. They opened with “Back in the Saddle,” the first track off their newest album, “Let it Sway.” They continued on, focusing on mid-tempo numbers, including “We Own This Town,” “Dead Right,” and “Weekend in Missouri.” The sound was well-rehearsed, well-prepared, and perfected, yet something in the performance was missing. Maybe it was the fact that the crowd had lessened by a third. Maybe it was the distraction caused by the parties chatting at the bar. Either way, despite their pop-punk charm, Someone Still Loves You Boris Yeltsin failed to captivate the audience at the Hi-Dive on Wednesday.

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Paul Custer is a Denver-based writer and regular contributor to Reverb.

Andrew Bisset is a Denver-based photographer and a new contributor to Reverb.