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Johnny Hi-Fi and his fine band cranked out a tight set of melodic rock that brought to mind a slightly less crunchy, more lyrical Weezer.

Concert Review: Johnny Hi-Fi at Mercury Lounge, NYC

Johnny Hi-Fi (alias Eric Hsu) played to a sparse but enthusiastic crowd at NYC’s Mercury Lounge Tuesday night. Far from their Austin TX home, the Taiwan native and his fine band cranked out a tight set of melodic rock that brought to mind a slightly less crunchy, more lyrical Weezer. Highlights included “If This Could Only Last,” the Beatle-esque ballad “Dedicated to Lisa,” and the hit-worthy anthem “Passive Killer.” The live band has a more muscular sound than their recorded tracks, but the songs stand up well in both settings. Don’t take my word for it, though – pretty much everything they’ve recorded is available on their website. As “Johnny” joked on stage, “It’s not like I’m making money from my songwriting, so take it! Take it all!”

The Mercury Lounge’s excellent sound system was cranked a little too loud for the sparse crowd to absorb. And there were a couple of songs in foreign langauges that, while not bad songs, sapped some momentum in the middle of the set. Other than that, Johnny Hi-Fi put on a perfect show. He’s got the songs, the liquid tenor voice to put them across, the players, and equally important, an endearing, slinky, yet somehow humble, rock-star-poser persona. He deserves more fans than showed up for this gig. But then, it was far from home. And take it from me, New York’s a tough town. If Johnny Hi-Fi remains this prolific and hardworking, wider success should just be a matter of time. They could even take a bite out of the Big Apple.

CDs available on their website here.

About Jon Sobel

Jon Sobel is a Publisher and Executive Editor of Blogcritics as well as lead editor of the Culture & Society section. As a writer he contributes most often to Culture, where he reviews NYC theater; he also covers interesting music releases.Through Oren Hope Marketing and Copywriting at http://www.orenhope.com/ you can hire him to write or edit whatever marketing or journalistic materials your heart desires.Jon also writes the blog Park Odyssey at http://parkodyssey.blogspot.com/ where he visits every park in New York City. And by night he's a part-time working musician: lead singer, songwriter, and bass player for Whisperado, a member of other bands as well, and a sideman.

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