Concert review: Ha Ha Tonka and Murder by Death at Orpheum (with pics)

Missouri's Ha Ha Tonka stopped in Tampa for the first time ever last week and in the process, I think they earned themselves some new fans. I don't wanna be so arrogant as to claim that Erin (my wife) and I were the only people in the venue who were aware of Ha Ha Tonka's existence, but I will be so arrogant as to say it was painfully obvious that we were the only ones in our little area of the front row who did. That said, the band seemed oblivious to the crowd's overall ignorance as they staged a performance that was as good as either of the two I saw them play out in Austin last month. As if the band knew what was up, they played a setlist that seemingly came out of the wife and I's mind, including the a cappella "Hangman." Song after song as the show wore on, the band won more and more attention from the decidedly pro-Murder By Death crowd. While I obviously don't know what really happened at the merch table, I'd assume there was a healthy amount of Ha Ha Tonka gear moved that night.

Overall, I found it really refreshing to see a band having as much fun on stage as Ha Ha Tonka does. While the jaded showgoer in me could easily pass off one such a performance as mere play-acting, having seen them three times in the last two months has rendered me a believer. These guys love what they are doing and hopefully all that time on the road doesn't extinguish the feeling.


I pretty much operate under the impression that none of you read a single thing I post and judging from the response I've gotten so far, I think I've been proven correct. That said, if anyone does actually read what I post, you're probably about to start seeing a trend when I say I went to a Murder By Death show to see their opener, Ha Ha Tonka. That said, my Creative Loafing overlords shouldn't be too surprised at this point. I mean, a quick search of shows exactly zero Murder By Death posts while a quick search for Ha Ha Tonka pulls up innumerable mentions, which you won't find surprising after reading this piece. With this in mind, let's just put all our cards on the table from the get go, shall we? I went to Ybor last week to see Ha Ha Tonka. I sat in Fuma Bellas until it was time for them to play and I stuck around long enough to see exactly one Murder By Death song that only served to re-affirm that I am seriously unmoved by that band. So. Let's talk Ha Ha Tonka and you can take a look at James Zambon's pictures of Murder By Death (and more of Ha Ha Tonka) in a gallery after the jump.

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