Nashville-based pop rock foursome Hot Chelle Rae delivered a high-energy show July 10 to a Knitting Factory crowd that consisted predominantly of giggling preteens herded around by parents and the occasional older sibling. The show was everything you’d expect from a hip hop-infused boy band throwback—that is, when you could hear the music over the shrieking fan base that sang along to every tune.
Local openers Fires In France had a Coldplay sound with a garage-rock twist, and the band's high energy could have easily rocked some socks off, had the crowd’s shoelaces not been tied so tight. The standout performance came from drummer Ukiah Bogle, formerly of the Boise band Grand Falconer. Bogle supplied all the energy Fires In France needed to loosen up the skeptical crowd and his efforts did not go unnoticed by concertgoers. During a quick break after an amplifier malfunction, cries of “I’d fuck the drummer” had Bogle’s face as red as his flaming hair.
Once onstage, Hot Chelle Rae kept the energy high and the crowd smiling, dancing and singing along to easily learned refrains from songs like “Downtown Girl” and “Honestly.” Despite playing a few tunes from its debut album, the band focused on crowd-pleasers from its recent breakout release, Whatever, interspersed with covers of pop hits like Katy Perry’s “Teenage Dream."
The only lull in the action came during a short-lived acoustic track, during which frontman Ryan Follese and guitarist Nash Overstreet delved into an attempt at deep, love-inspired lyrics. It was a good try, but didn't fit with Hot Chelle Rae’s party music niche. The band soon picked up the pace with "Emo,” a comical take on a trend that Follese and Overstreet admit to being less than fans of. The duo led the crowd in singing: “I’d buy some girl clothes and maybe I would / pierce my own nose.” The irony of Follese wearing feminine skinny jeans wasn't lost on audience members, who laughed as they danced and sang along.
Hot Chelle Rae closed with the ultimate summer anthem, “I Like It Like That,” then returned onstage to reprise its best-known single, “Tonight Tonight.”