Concert Review: Har Mar Superstar in Vancouver at The Cobalt

by | May 7, 2016

Last night I saw Har Mar Superstar in Vancouver at the Cobalt. As I walked towards the Cobalt, I saw a taller, handsome Danny Devito lookalike flick a cigarette and walk in. Inside, the sound guy was playing Prince. Shortly after, WISHKICKER did one last quick sound check. The bass player made out with the lead singer then they got to it.

Before “Pour Que, Y?”, the lead single of their debut EP of the same name, the bassist said, “You can buy our tape. It comes with a digital download. Nobody plays tapes any more but they look cool.” A warm Vancouver day meant pretty ladies in sundresses showing up to the early show. I noticed one of the pretty ladies walking by with a Har Mar record in hand.

The bassist stared at the lead singer. I stared at a pizza delivery guy/band member who walked backstage. Next was NO. 12 (LOOKS LIKE YOU). It was a real head shaker. Last was an ode to our cousins to the south, “I’m in love with the USA,” sang lead singer, Kyle Schick.

The crowd joined in on the head shaking. To me, the last two songs were the band’s strongest. They had the audience rocking. I could best describe it as alternative surf rock. WISHKICKER ended their opening set. The growing crowd was hootin’ and hollerin’, whistling and carrying on.

Between sets, more Prince played through the speakers. It was warming people up for the main attraction. Somebody walked by in a satin starter jacket with a Har Mar logo embroidered on. It turns out the whole band was rocking them. One member set up synth and keys. Another assembled his drum set. Guitar and bass plugged in. Trumpet and saxophone tested their microphones.

The band grooved to Prince’s “I Wanna Be Your Lover.” A couple people sang along; a few more danced. Prince cut out and he set started with funky synth, bass and drums. Har Mar Superstar, born Sean Tillmann, entered from stage right in trippy tight pants and an 8-ball jacket. “What’s going on Vancouver?” he asked. He grabbed the mic and started singing – the horns joined in.

The whole band two-stepped and jumped in unison. Some of the crowd started to two-step as well. I had a feeling everybody would be two-stepping by the end of it. “I have a new record out, it sounds like this,” said Tillmann before going in to “Youth Without Love.”

Three songs in, off came the 8-ball jacket. For the next song, Har Mar wore an afghan rug like a poncho. The whole band swayed back and forth at Har Mar’s command. This got the front half of the crowd going. It was a matter of time before the rest lost themselves to dance.

The versatile horn section put down their brass. One picked up a tambourine and the other picked up a drumstick for a cowbell. “Alright, you guys wanna dance now?” asked the Superstar. I had to get a closer view of his dancing shoes. They looked like a pair of Toms.

Dance numbers and ballads showcased an impressive vocal range. Next was “It Was Only Dancing (Sex)”. Tillmann plugged the music video that came out a few days ago. It features 80s dance choreography and a bar fight. You should check it out. The song ended with a sax solo and the crowd went crazy.

The crowd was all ages – not 18 and under but 18 to 60. One of the oldest didn’t stop dancing all night. The loudest cheers and whistles of the night came after “Don’t Make Me Hit You”. Girls screamed when Superstar shook his hips. His sleeveless shirt had to came off for the next song. Clothes are meant to be taken off.

On stage, Har Mar Superstar oozed sex. He stepped in to the crowd, walked to the bar and sat on it. He performed the next song from there. The crowd flocked and cameras came out to capture the moment. Standing on a bar stool, Tillmann sang, “How did I get through through the day” with a lot of emotion. It was his strongest vocal performance of the night. Even before the band could finish, the crowd erupted.

Josh Tillmann has the mic twirl down. By this point well over half the crowd was grooving. I even saw a scuba diver dance move. Har Mar shook his ass to the horns in perfect unison. The band did a YMCA style dance to “DUI”. “Haircut” featured Josh naming every hairstyle he could think of. Cheers grew louder between songs.

“Famous Last Words” proved the band was not one to stick to a single genre. The rock song was a head shaker that had the crowd jumping along. The song ended with a band freeze. “You can unfreeze now,” said Tillmann. “Give it up for my band.” He listed his band members. Fans greeted each member with applause.

During “We Don’t Sleep”, Har Mar Superstar did a successful headstand while still singing. It gave me a better angle of his dancing shoes. They looked more like those Vans with no laces. “We don’t fucking sleep,” said Har Mar as he left the stage to let the band take over for an extended jam session. It ended with a drum solo. The band walked off and followed their leader backstage.

A chant of “We. Want. More.” broke out. The Superstar returned, this time solo. He joked, “It sounded like “U-S-A” back stage. “We want more” is pretty demanding but that’s cool, we’ll just do it.” He picked up a guitar for the first time to do a one-man performance of “My Radiator.”

“I think we should do two more with my band if that’s cool with you guys.” Back they came. The guitarist took back his six string. Everywhere I looked I saw hips shaking, none quite as much as Har Mar’s.

The epic start to “Lady, You Shot Me” came through the speakers. Hands raised. Har Mar Superstar humped the monitor. All but the most stubborn fans were dancing to this one. Before the song ended, the band paused and Tillmann raised one hand. The crowd did the same. He beckoned for more applause before sinking back in to the song.

A minute later and his entertaining set was over. Har Mar Superstar ended it with a “Thank you.” and a “Give it up for my band.”

Concert Review: Wild Nothing and Whitney in Vancouver at Biltmore

A concert review of Wild Nothing and Whitney in Vancouver, live at the Biltmore Cabaret on April 26, 2016. Vancouver live music reviews.

Blake Fletcher

Blake Fletcher

Blake started Mighty Records in February 2016. He's always wanted to run his own record label. For now, he manages a couple bands.
Blake Fletcher
Blake Fletcher

Blake Fletcher

Blake started Mighty Records in February 2016. He's always wanted to run his own record label. For now, he manages a couple bands.
Blake Fletcher
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