|Hoo Ray Who -
Salt Lake City, UT
by Samuel Johnson
Welcome to the desert.
It sometimes seems like happening artists are as hard to find as natural freshwater lakes.
But my thirst for new talent has recently paid off. My oases: the Jackson Street Junction
Theater in Ogden, UT, and Hoo Ray Who, a band of extraordinary vision and talent. In case
you hadnt guessed, this will be a dual review.
Ted Shupe, father of Ryan Shupe (absolutely smoking bluegrass picker, multiple award
winning artist) got the funny idea that hed set up an all-ages venue. It sounded
crazy. I mean, after all, this would mean that the majority percentage of the record
buying public (i.e. teenagers) would be able to see developing talent, and that young
bands would have a place to hone their chops. All of this activity might come dangerously
close to building a happening local scene. Fortunately, Salt Lake City has safely avoided
all such possibilities. Sarcasm aside, the Junction took shape under Ted Shupes
direction, and has quickly become Utahs most interesting venue. Not surprisingly,
its also where I first caught up with Hoo Ray Who.
Hoo Ray Who? has done what has needed doing for years: they've updated ska. I'll be
honest; I'm not a big ska fan. Sure, I enjoy a good My Man Friday show as much as the next
fellow, but it's not the sort of stuff I'd put in my CD player. When I heard the Hoo Ray
Who?s described as ska, I was less than enthusiastic to hear their show. Even at the show,
it took me awhile (2 or 3 songs) to warm up completely to these guys. But once it
What was so fantastic about Hoo Ray Who? Let me count the outstanding characteristics:
1. Originality. Its like no music that youve heard before.
2. Talented individual players that come together as a unified whole.
3. Stage energy. Wow. Coordinated moves, plenty of on-stage motion, a freaky lead
guitarist. What more could one ask for in a visual show?
4. Fine songwriting, including a couple of fantastic tunes entitled Everything Will
Come Together and Suicide.
5. Back-up singers who can sing. Interesting vocal work in general from a standard vocal
approach to some blisteringly fast rap style vocals.
Theyre on-line, so you can read up on them.
I'm just going to say that no matter what style of music you like, you'll find something
to like in Hoo Ray Who?. They play fast and loud, they play soft and slow, and they play
well. And no matter what they play, you'll find yourself moving to the beat. Dancing? It's
almost unavoidable. There's more to say, but you'll learn more by seeing them play once
than by me writing at you all day.
On-line site for Hoo Ray Who:
Jackson Street Junction Theater Info:
2280 Jackson Ave., Ogden, UT