The Bootleg at the Atomic Cowboy was the second stop of Magic City Hippies’ three month long tour. On Saturday February 11, the Indie-Funk band from Miami, Florida had local band Scarlet Tanager as the opening act. Later on in Magic City Hippies’ tour they will be joined by Minnesota’s Hippo Campus. The Bootleg is a small but impressive performance space directly attached to the beloved Grove establishment.
Scarlet Tanager is all about Indie-Pop love with a heavy base in folk. The band’s music is just as lovely and colorful as the songbird they take their name from. Scarlet Tanager is a beautiful family tree of music: Michael Logsdon (Vocals/Guitar) is married to Susan Logsdon (Lead Vocals) who is the sister of Anna Westra (Keyboards) who is married to Ben Helman (Guitar) who went to school with Dustin Kent (Bass). Matt Davidson (Drums) met the Logsdon’s at their church in Eureka where they work. The six-piece group from Saint Louis has two releases from which they played called Let’s Love and American Songbird. Calling them pop somehow seems too generic for their unique and soulful sound.
The band often evokes Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeroes with their joyous shouts and chants they refer to as “Gang Vocals”. Michael played more than just the guitar bringing out tambourines, a trumpet and a bass drum during their set. Susan’s lustrous and classic voice is a focal point of the performance often delivering a delightful angst throughout. The full bellied music of Scarlet Tanager is timeless and like a classic comfort food in musical form. While Anna’s pregnant belly is a good sign the band will soon be taking a pause on shows, we are excited to catch them around town at their next show.
The Magic City Hippies were formed in Miami, FL. after front-man, Robby Hunter, expanded his one-man act to team up with Patrick Howard (Drummer) and John Coughlin (Guitar)—calling themselves The Robby Hunter Band. Then they merged with The Flying Bellesario Brothers (bass and keyboard) to form their five-piece indie funk act. Originally debuting as the Robby Hunter band in 2013, they released their first EP under their current name in 2015 titled Hippie Castle—the sound of this album didn’t stray too far from their 2013 album Magic City Hippies, yet displayed a clear focus on their direction in establishing their own unique brand of indie music. In September, 2016, they released their single Heart Wants and will continue their tour over these next few months. Around the internet, the group has been promising fans new music by the end of the year which we are highly anticipating.
They opened their performance at Atomic Cowboy with their band-title song, Magic City Hippies—the keyboard synth and catchy bass line in this track are a perfect introduction to their sound. They fuse funk, hip-hop, pop, and soul into original compositions that can only be described as beachy R&B. Hunter’s hazy voice, paired with sultry bass-lines and drum beats, brought a much-needed reminder to the Midwest that warmer weather awaits us as we near the thawing of winter. The group was certainly able to warm up the crowd with their sexy tunes and sandy vibes. Their original music features Hunter’s vocals which are reminiscent of a classic voice like John Mayer, stellar instrumentals that remind of us Tame Impala, and scattered within are breezy raps styled similar to a group like Shwayze. Their tunes build you up with a heady beat and then break into a crescendo of indie-pop dance appropriate music. Hunter’s occasional rap vocals interspersed gives the group their unique R&B fusion and he sometimes uses a voice-changer to give the sound a deeper electronic feel.
Throughout the set the band treated the crowd the covers of Gin and Juice by Snoop Dogg, Bennie and the Jets by Elton John, and Fantasy by Mirah Carey, putting their enjoyable and unique sound on the familiar songs, but they also played fan favorites off their own albums. They played a generously long time and had the crowd feeling loose and happy throughout their atmospheric set. The band was tangibly energetic and enthusiastic about their music and so were the fans as they danced along to the music, one fan even reached up stage to shake Hunter’s hand. We truly hope to see The Magic City Hippies come through town again with their lovely summer vibes.
More photos from the event: