Greenhorse‘s performance at the Satellite was more than just a typical opening band on a Friday night. Sharing their home state with popular headliners Gauntlet Hair (its Wyoming), Greenhorse also recognized how monumental this moment really is: “It’s kind of exciting because when we first moved to L.A, we came to Spaceland and we were like, ‘I hope we get to play here someday.”
The trio played to a dark room, each member merely lit by their own spotlight, which caters well to their industrial style. Their eruption of sound is breathtaking, especially given that the only actual abrasive instrument they involve are Joel’s array of drums. Greenhorse started things off with their familiar track, “White Dust,” which can only be compared to the THX introduction at the movie theater to offer any sort of accurate description. Their sound is characterized by the abundance of layers, which their recordings hardly do justice for when juxtaposed with their live performance. “Breathing Machine” provided insight into just how much each band member is doing at any given time – while Chris is busy with his set of synths and vocals, Shawn multitasks between a drum machine and fingerpicking keys, and Joel hits his various drums so hard I still can’t believe the skins didn’t split!
Despite the heaviness of their genre-straddling tracks, these guys are quite upbeat and entertaining characters. They didn’t let their shy crowd deter them from cracking jokes or good-natured banter: when describing their fifth song, “Unbroken,” Shawn and Chris admitted the short list of ears that had heard it including “my grandma, I did share it with her.” This is especially entertaining when one imagines a grandmother handling the hard snare hits and combination of a sweet two-bit breakdown with bass-driven instrumentals that are so vigorous the vocals are plainly inaudible. This, however, had nothing on “Hidden Love,” where the audience was treated with Joel’s insanely buff (and shirtless) body at the head of the stage with a floor tom around his neck. Sure, the hollowness of the floor tom pairs well with the champagne cymbals and all-around lightness of the song, but the shadows of the spotlights make the song ironically haunting.
Greenhorse is a pleasant and much welcomed surprise that ended abruptly with a horn-driven orchestral outro. They blow your mind for just long enough to leave you dazed yet refreshed.
Listen to my favorite Greenhorse song, “Happiness” below.