As cliché as it is, few words can describe Michigan-based Tally Hall.
Yes, the five have colorful ties. They have killer harmonies. They play some mean covers and their album, "Marvin's Marvelous Mechanical Museum," is packed with poppy, eclectic and intelligent material. They have hilarious online sketches and enough character between the five of them to add personality to daytime programming (or, dare I say it, their little-known Disney Channel online cartoon show).
But nothing quite pins down their humor -- or expert musicianship -- like seeing them live.
Friday, Nov. 9, Tally Hall shook the Rock & Roll Hotel and throngs of adoring fans. While the five enthusiastic members wailed some impressive riffs and tight vocals, it was clear that while these creative five already have a sizable fanbase, they’ve still got more potential and music to spread.
Ross Federman, drummer extraordinaire, steadily rocked attendees with his firm fills and sound rhythm. Andrew Horowitz backed and led tunes with his classically-trained fingers on his Yamaha keys and Zubin Sedghi bopped along passionately to his bass lines. Rob Cantor sang and impressed fans with his guitar skills as well as boyish charm and Joe Hawley’s mastered vibrato and smooth stage presence completed the package for the ultimate Tally show.
With synthesizers, vocal alteration and a Glockenspiel to boot, this group’s diverse catalogue is somewhat reminiscent of the best of ELO and the Beatles with the occasional hint of Queen.
“But I think in general we don’t like to describe our music in one particular style because we like to think of each song as its own composition,” Cantor said. “We don’t like to constrain ourselves when we’re arranging and it allows us to treat each song separately.”
The end result? An eclectic mix of poppy, heartfelt ballads and up-tempo tunes about everything from bananas to long-distance relationships.
So why haven’t you heard of these talented jokesters before? The truth is, you probably have.
With their music featured on “The O.C.” as well as “The Real World: Key West” and their genre-jumping song “Good Day” winning the BMI/John Lennon Songwriting Scholarship, you may have heard any number of their songs floating around you somewhere. If you frequent concerts, you may have been graced with their hilarious stage antics at any number of shows, be it with Guster, They Might Be Giants, OK Go or Puffy AmiYumi.
But don’t expect things to slow down for the tie-clad lads. With the major-label re-release of their first album due out next spring and an in-progress Internet show for their fans, the band has strong direction for the future.
“We’re taking the rest of the year off from the road to finish up on our Internet show to make sure it’s ready for 2008, so we’re gonna be working pretty hard to get that wrapped up and release-ready,” Sedghi said. “We’re probably going to start touring again in January or February.”
Though the fan-friendly band humbly responds to their constantly-filled schedules and celebrity with small, personal shows for those too young to get into the venues they play or by signing merchandise and chatting with supporters after shows, they’re still adjusting to the busy nature that comes with the territory.
“Ross said earlier tonight that you basically take a normal person’s life and chop it and cut it up and throw it into the air and watch it land down and however it lands if you put it back together, that’s basically what our lives are like,” said Sedghi. “We don’t really know what we’re doing hour to hour, month to month, year to year, but it’s worth it. There’s no end in sight.”