Live Review: The Paragraphs at the Belly Up, November 7, 2012

Photo credit: Sylvia Borgo

Listen/buy: The Paragraphs – +/-

A happy hometown crowd joined The Paragraphs at the Belly Up last Wednesday to celebrate the release of +/-, the band’s debut full-length.

After opening sets by Tori Rogg and Western Scene, the Paragraphs took the stage. The San Diegans started the main event with “Tongues, “New Twist,” and “There is Nothing You Can Do” — all from the new album.

Throughout the set, the band proved that it can successfully incorporate a variety of musical styles into its sound. Songs like “Oliver Sunshine” and “Folks” had a rockabilly feel, while others such as “Wolf” had a hard rock edge. Through it all, singer Jesse Lee Hofbauer showcased his vocal chops: the guy can croon as well as he can scream.

The Paragraphs kicked off its encore with “All the Drugs,” an unrecorded track, and then played “Unfamiliar Girl,” from the band’s 2010 EP, Hey! (Later, when I asked Hofbauer and drummer Mike Hunt about the encore, an audience member butted into the conversation and said, “Is that song about me? Because I do all the drugs.”)

Hofbauer was in high spirits onstage, repeatedly urging the crowd to dance, and at one point telling the audience to “give yourselves a big round of applause!” Hofbauer also thanked the crowd for coming out on the night after the Presidential election. Then, Abel Perez, bass player, yelled into the mic, “Obama!”

The crowd danced the night away.

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