I never claimed to be the smartest music blogger in all the land. If I was, I would have figured out early in the night that since the speaker on the left side of the Parish Hall stage (your right for those of you trying to picture the stage at home) was blown that I would be better off hanging out on the other side of the stage. Instead, sets by Columbus’ Miranda Sound and Clevo’s State of Ohio were marred by a sound quality where the vocals were barely audible. Both bands, though understandably annoyed, were true rockers about it, and did the best they could with the situation.

I don’t know if the Parish Hall’s sound issues were fixed between State of Ohio and Hallelujah The Hills, but switching sides seemed to alleviate the whole no vocals thing. I’m sure it also helped that Hallelujah The Hills weren’t nearly as loud as the openers. When you have a six member band with occasional strings or trumpet, amps to eleven really isn’t an option. Musically, for a ragged group without a consistent image (a couple preppy guys, a couple rocker guys, a couple normal guys), Hallelujah The Hills have a considerable amount of chemistry. Too new to be jaded, they seem to actually enjoy performing on stage. Numbers like “Wave Backwards To Massachusetts,” “Hallelujah The Hills,” and “Slow Motion Records Broken at Break Neck Speeds” showcased their ability to combine joyful, playful, and intelligent all within the same number.

I know some people are turned off by Machine Go Boom because of Mikey Machine’s helium-feuled vocals, and you know what I say to those people? Do you have something against fun? Seriously, if hearing Machine Go Boom rock and pop their way through “All The Way To PA” and “Build Me A Ladder,” then seeing the reactions of all the Machineheads romping and bopping in the crowd, doesn’t put a smile on your face, then there’s not much hope for you. The band kept the energy level high through the entirety of their set. Those slow songs may sound fine on disc, but when Machine Go Boom’s live, it’s one long sugar rush. The biggest reaction of the night came from the one two punch of the bouncey sing-a-long, “Captain Obvious” and the most welcome (and most unexpected) Minor Threat cover, “Filler.” The front of the stage went absolutely ape shit as they hopped and hollered “I am the captain of this ship, you must obey my every whim.” Good times.