By Lauren Smith
When my friends told me they were really going to the show to see Bad Bad Hats, the second opener, I didn’t bother with any research. Little did I know that I was familiar with a handful of their songs- their equal parts angsty and catchy alt-rock songs had engraved themselves into my mind over the course of the past year. After arriving at my favorite venue in St. Louis, The Firebird, we quickly made our way to the bar for a pair of very necessary and intensely refreshing 24 oz. tall-boys. Funny enough, the Firebird is the antithesis of its own location- home of the Pabst Blue Ribbon consumer, it sits on an awkward block full of corporate offices in Midtown. The black rectangle of a building has no street-facing sign, you have to walk around the back to find its hidden entrance. The shabby, no-frills demeanor allows you to blend into the crowd and enjoy a concert the way a concert should be enjoyed.
We walked in the door as Bad Bad Hats was beginning their set- their powerful sound filling up the space. I was immediately enchanted with the lead singer and her red, curly bob and 90’s mom outfit. Her Minnesotan influence shone through due to the thin pair of black sunglasses that sat on top of her head. The way she would perform a deadpan soliloquy about all-too relatable fits of emotion was mesmerizing- her voice sounded as if it came out of a car dealership commercial from the 50’s, making everything she said comical.
Photo By Sophie Sissie
Prefacing the song “Super America”, “a love song to a time-honored midwestern treasure” of of their debut LP, Psychic Reader, Alexander explained that “sometimes you just need to sit on the couch in your comfortable pants, alone with your sorrows and a good snack”. Somehow, her lyrics turn an ode for a gas station in a meaningful tune that you can connect with. “I want a sweet tea and a heart that won't break, I want an Icee a nice boy to date”, she sings. She explained that “Things We Never Say” was written about sleeping with your phone “in case the love of your life suddenly texts you to say ‘I too, am madly in love with you’ so you can respond promptly and accordingly”. Alexander’s way with words may stem from her degree in creative writing from Macalester College, a liberal arts school in St. Paul where the band came together. After recent critical acclaim from big names like NPR, Spin, Pitchfork, and Stereogum, the band is a long ways away from its humble roots at Midwestern open mics.