Download this album, it’s ridiculously great. The Hague is awesome, and we feel super lucky to have recorded them before they get signed/huge.
Listening to this live album gives an appreciation of several things, but two come immediately to mind: the talent of each individual band member and the skill with which their songs are constructed. Shawn Steven, Jesse Tranfo, Travis Chapman, Charlie Fischer and James Logan — each is revealed through this live performance to be excellent at their craft. This is afforded by Steven’s song arrangements (which must be supplemented by suggestions from other members), which provide each of The Hague an opportunity to display their abilities in different ways at different times. Consider Tranfo’s complex, deftly-executed drum work. Consider Steven’s and Logan’s guitars and Fischer’s bass, which combine into a wall of terrific sound that seems to carry you along with it. Consider Chapman’s violin, at times seeming to be the primary “voice,” at others providing a perfect complement to Steven’s and Logan’s excellent vocal work.
Consider as well the way that all of these things combine to create songs both immediately engaging and rewarding of further listening. Listen to the way Birthday Suite develops. A somber beginning transitions playfully to a soaring, orchestral feel. A second playful transition delivers you to the songs driving finish. The different pieces, despite wildly disparate feels, work together seamlessly. The result is a sound that moves me emotionally from movement to movement and song to song.
We connected to The Hague (then known as And I Was Like, What?) in several ways — through the Pike brothers (they’re clients of both Adam’s Columbia Rehearsal Studios and Toadhouse Recording Studio) and through ‘Stander Evan R. Thompson (fellow Idahoans). We are extremely glad that we did. They are an excellent band that we’re expecting big things from in the very near future. Despite being ridiculously talented and together, The Hague remains unsigned. I have zero inside knowledge, but if I had to guess, this will change soon. They have a sound that seems unique in Portland and a work ethic and attitude that should serve as an example for others. We hope they are rewarded for their talent and effort.
This album is super-rad and you should download it. The Hague’s great live performance and Alex Arrowsmith’s excellent mixing and mastering work have created something we’re really proud of. If you really like the album, please consider donating or purchasing the album and you can help us produce more things like it in the future.
When The Hague recorded at The Banana Stand they were called And I Was Like What?, which a lot of local alternative press publications berated. I thought it was a clever name. Not the best name. Happier than The Hague, though. That’s fucking depressing. Lucky for you, the band is great and will put smiles on your face. Happy sometimes, but not always, The Hague is an important part of the Portland music scene because they work hard and play great music. Sure, a good deal of people from all over the United States have flocked to our riverside town in Oregon, myself included, but the bands that go out and hustle every week for their art are ones that should be respected.
You’ll notice the minaute pumpkins in the album cover image. A good number of those were trashed due to dancing by the time the show was over – dancing at a folk-rock Portland basement concert recording on Halloween. This is an important album to us, and to the music scence in general in this town, if only because it captures a night that this place, above almost all others, respects a good night of boozing, live music, and fire.
The Hague – Live from the Banana Stand was recorded in front of a live audience on October 30th, 2010 at the Banana Stand in Portland, Oregon. The album was mixed and mastered by Alex Arrowsmith. Brian David Smith handled design and layout for album art, which includes original photography from various ‘Standers and the original show poster, also by Brian. The Banana Stand would like to thank The Hague (Shawn, Jesse, Travis, Charlie and James), all who participated in this album’s creation and anyone that has helped us out along the way.