Heels & Picks: Echosmith makes Hawaii debut
BY ERIN SMITH / Special to the Star-Advertiser
I can’t help but notice similarities between Echosmith and myself. Sure, there’s the fact that we both play alternative pop, and there’s that eerie similarity between Echosmith and Erin Smith. But beyond those obvious coincidences, it’s almost like we had the same upbringing.
Echosmith members and siblings Jamie, Graham, Sydney and Noah Sierota grew up jamming and playing instruments together in a big musical family in Chino, Calif. My family, also populated with four siblings, though we are the reverse – three girls and one boy – played interchanging instruments while growing up in a house where you can’t take two steps without tripping on an instrument. My brother, a full-time bass player, and I played in a band together for a number of years. I get the Sierota family vibe.
There is something about siblings who sing and perform together that creates an even stronger bond on stage. Maybe it’s because siblings are stuck together for life, band or no band; in most cases, they have each other’s backs for life.
That bond, and a dedication to their showmanship and trajectory were apparent when Echosmith performed Aug. 5 at The Republik.
After opening sets by two of my faves from the Honolulu scene, Streetlight Cadence and The Bougies, Echosmith took to the stage one by one, starting with drummer and youngest sibling Graham Sierota, who ran out and fired up the beat. Members Jamie Sierota (guitar) and Noah Sierota (bass) were next, culminating with the appearance of twirling, smiling lead singer Sydney Sierota.
Cruising through selections from their debut album, 2013’s “Talking Dreams” (the album was re-released in 2014 with an alternate cover), the band entertained the crowd with a near-seamless set of sunny, youthful dance-pop. Blending in spot-on sibling harmony, they sang beautifully together on songs like fan favorite “Bright.” Echosmith band manages to find the balance between the stadium-ready sound of influences Coldplay and The Killers, and the relaxed vibe of California singer-songwriters. Even their mega-hit, “Cool Kids,” is almost delivered in a hushed vocal with a decent amount of space in the instrumentation. It works.
They’re also a band that pays attention to style – Sydney’s look is edgy yet demure and the young men in the family usually look like hipster gentlemen in jackets, vests and button-ups.
Throughout their hour-long set, the band dabbled with group harmony around an old-fashioned microphone, jumped up and down with the crowd and took things to a serious level for a few moments to deliver a message to fans that they are never truly alone. The Sierota family is young yet – the youngest is 16 – and that youthful energy and vibrancy emanates from their performance. They are having a blast, but building a professional stage show at the same time.
At the front of the stage, Sydney mixed her clear, understated lead vocal duties with stints on the keyboards, tambourine and a tom drum set up beside her microphone. It was announced from the stage that night, following a previous announcement on the band’s Instagram page, that guitarist Jamie Sierota would soon be taking a break from touring with the band in order to welcome his first child with his wife.
This was the band’s first concert in Hawaii, on a tour that will take them to the Philippines and Japan and then on to Europe for the Reading Festival and a tour with Twenty One Pilots.
After landing on best of lists for 2014 and scoring an indelible hit with “Cool Kids,” the future looks bright for Echosmith. One Instagram post from BAMP Project pretty much summed it up: “@echosmith is going to be MASSIVE.”
Erin Smith is a singer and guitarist who performs as a solo artist and with Maui-based Na Hoku Hanohano Award-nominated band The Throwdowns. Born in Canada, she moved to Hawaii in 2004 and now resides in Kailua. Contact her via e-mail or follow her on Twitter.