Material: Pop-grunge quartet Ramonda Hammer have introduced themselves to the world with the angsty yet radio-friendly “Goddamn Idiot.” The mid-tempo, retro single is an anthem for people fed up with those who can’t get their act together. The song is both relatable and catchy, and frontwoman Davis demands attention. “Goddamn Idiot” was a great choice for a first single to show off the band’s personalities, an ideal preview of their upcoming debut Whatever That Means.
Related: Ramonda Hammer Tracks on Sunset
Musicianship: From the first song in the set, it was clear that Davis is a passionate and powerful singer who focuses on conveying the subject matter. She can easily transition from a growling melody to a tasteful yodel to soaring harmonies without seeming over-the- top, which makes you wonder if she has done classical vocal training in the past (perhaps opera). Her bandmates—Hengl, Geter and Louangxay—enhance her vocals by adding quirky instrumental touches, smooth tempo changes and an air of cohesion.
Performance: Playing Harvard & Stone is always a bit tricky due to the venue’s brick and concrete walls, which give off a constant echoing quality. As a result, Ramonda Hammer was challenged by sound issues that caused Davis’ passionately commanding vocals and lyrics to be lost among her bandmates’ instrumentation.
The band also seemed to be holding back on their stage theatrics due to the cramped stage setup, but each musician worked to showcase their individual personalities without overshadowing each other. The less-than-optimum sound mix caused the audience to pay closer attention to the performance and inspired interest in what Ramonda Hammer is going to say on their debut release.
Summary: While their venue choice may not have been ideal for their style of music, Ramonda Hammer is worth a second listen to fully grasp their message. Their successful Fall Kickstarter campaign—which landed them the opportunity to record their debut at a legendary recording studio with a Grammy-nominated sound engineer—proves the band has fans who believe in their music.
The Players: Devin Davis, vocals, guitar; Andy Hengl, bass; Justin Geter, guitar; Danny Louangxay, drums.
Photo by Heather Allen
Click to listen to Ramonda Hammer's "If Then."
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