Words by Sean Moeller, Illustration by Johnnie Cluney, Recording engineered by Mike Gentry
The entire day before this session was taped was a long one for this Los Angeles band. They'd boarded a redeye flight from LA to Chicago and then driven from there to Maquoketa, Iowa, to join the final day of our Barnstormer 4 tour. They would have played more dates, but the day before the last show was one of the members' final day of graduate school. He took his final exam and then headed to the airport, compounding a lack of sleep in studies leading up to the test with even more sleep deprivation. There was the overnight flying and a show that went well into the night, followed by a wrap-party until dawn, then this early afternoon session, a drive back to Chicago and a flight back to Los Angeles. This wasn't running on fumes. This was running on blind as luck. This was a day when their four broken bodies were eating themselves and yet, here Hands is, showcasing all of the reasons we begged them to make the suicide trip. We're still surprised they said yes, but we can all agree that it was well worth the effort. They are a band that we wouldn't have known about hadn't it been for South By Southwest and a good buddy from Chicago and the dumb luck of our buddies in Solid Gold performing a day show right before them in a parking lot a few blocks from Big Orange, on our side of the town, one sunny and hot afternoon this past march. Just before seeing Odd Future rearrange what I thought I knew about live shows and the entrances that people can make to them, we walked down the street a few blocks - Solid Gold, Jesse Marchant of JBM, Minneapolis homies and more - past some pop-up Mexican food stands, and some tattoo parlors, homes with chickens in the yard. We found the site and talked our way in, scored some free Tecate and got there just as Hands were taking the stage. While it was already warm and we NEEDED our sunglasses, the band made us feel even better. We had plenty of beer in us already, but they made us feel better that way too. We were in great moods already. We were pleased to be there. We were avoiding our daily lives, sort of avoiding work or anything that truly stressed us out and yet Hands made us feel as if we were getting a bonus. We felt even less stressed out and even more carefree, even if we weren't sure why that might have been. There are often intangibles with bands, when you like them. You just know it. You can just like. We found that Hands does that to us and will likely do that for you to. They will make you feel as if you're getting too much sunlight. The back of your neck will start burning as the bass kicks in on "Magic Fingers," as an echo-y "hey" bounces off the walls. You'll regret not putting more sunscreen on, but you'll ultimately not care. You've learned to believe that regrets are only for old people and you're not there yet. You're trying not to be there yet. You still allow yourself your little escapes. You still do what these guys did, every once in a while. You throw all cares to the wind, stay up for a few days on-end and just feel whatever there is to feel. You let the sun rise on you even when that's a bad move. You have a night out in the middle of the countryside and you let yourself just go.