by Carolyn Delvalle
Last Thursday I headed over to one of my favorite venues in NYC, The Cake Shop. On the menu this night was The Happy Problem led by the talented Sam Shaber. I also wanted to make sure to catch the opening act The Renewals so I made sure to arrive early although I apparently was too early since the performance room was not open yet! Unfortunately I never got to see The Renewals since they no showed which led to The Happy Problem kicking off the festivities.
They opened with a brand new song Way To Joy which can be best described as cheery & upbeat. This is different from their usual material about "bitches on the subway" or "horrible ex-boyfriends" among other topics which I highly enjoy. It was definitely a nice yet unexpected way to start off their set.
The newness did not end there as we were also treated to I'll Love You When I'm Gone. This sad yet beautiful song is about a friend who returned from fighting in Iraq. The lyrics matched with Sam's vocal touch made this a thing of beauty so much that it is one of my favorites. I can not wait until it is recorded. Long time fans did not have to fret as they whipped out a number of tracks from their most recent album Head Case including the self-titled track, ColdFish, Matador, Curvature & The Prettiest Girl.
Some of my favorite moments included how much fun Sam had dancing & the rest of band was really into doing Matador. It is always a joy to see a band want to & actually give you 100% while on stage. This has never been in doubt since I first saw them last year. They whipped out Disco Love Theme which Sam described as the child of disco meeting punk. This is something that sounds like it would not mesh well but they make it work much to their credit. I found it funny how she reassured the crowd they didn't have to run out of the room as it wasn't a typical disco song.
Sam touched on a recently completed Kickstarter campaign for the funding of a music video for Curvature which I look forward to seeing. This was followed up by my 2nd favorite song of theirs, The Prettiest Girl. Their performance of it was full of energy which brought it to life even more so than usual. Sadly all things must come to an end & their set was not different as they closed it out with Crying Shame. This was a departure from the usual closing number Seaweed which happens to be David & I's favorite song by them.
I truly hope the audience featured people who have never heard them before as if it did, it would be impossible for them not to become fans. I am astonished by the fact these guys are still indie because they are ridiculously good. If you get the chance to see them, don't hesitate as it will be beyond worth it!