So I am not sure if that was The Tropics last gig, or Heartwatch’s first gig. I’m gonna go with both as Thursday night at Rickshaw Stop turned out to be quite an eventful one!
So… the last time I saw The Tropics (this could get confusing) I was pretty darn drunk. It was my first time in Rickshaw Stop and the moment took hold of me. While nursing the hangover from hell the following morning I vowed to make sure the next time I saw them play I would remain sober. I genuinely intended to only have one simple drink and enjoy the show… …problem was, the same Nobel Peace Prize worthy bartender (who is quite frankly the bestest person in the whole of San Francisco) was behind the bar again and continuing her habit of making genuinely epic drinks!
There was some music too! The set started as I would have expect any Tropics show to start with that playful sense of abandonment on full display. The crowd of friends, well-wishers and a few stragglers (such as myself) were moving in a disorganised unison as the band fired through songs designed to revive the carefree part of your sensory-system. This isn’t music to necessarily dissect, it’s music to absorb, enjoy, and let go to as its performed.
Everything was going smoothly. I was refraining from the spinning and silliness as they were gathering little bits of momentum through each song they played. It was all building nicely.
While NRVS LVRS were playing I noticed a towel hanging over the bass-drum. Didn’t think anything of it. Figured it was a case of sharing the drum-kit. When The Tropics started playing I didn’t even realise is was still there until Claire decided to draw everyone’s attention to it revealing HEARTWATCH!
Hold on? I thought I was seeing The Tropics!!
It was more than a little surprise, however not an unexpected one. With The Tropics starting to feel more and more like a band set to spread beyond the 7×7 a name free from potential lawsuits and trademark infringements was probably a good idea. Indeed, being proactive will probably save them the fate of Deers (and others) who were forced to change names. Turns out Heartwatch has some significance being the name of a previously unreleased (and potentially never to be released) record.
Surprise delivered, Heartwatch grew in to their new name with the same sense of carefree, irreverent, youthful expression they had as The Tropics. Sleepless sounded just as good as I remembered it the first time live and Sons And Daughters sounded even more urgent than my memories from January gave it credit for. By the end it all felt like a bit of a celebration.
These are exciting times for Heartwatch. New name, new opportunities and the potential to try more new sounds, take new risks, and continue growing in to the great band they have the potential to be.
Ps. Now to start the aforementioned Nobel Peace application, wonder when the deadline for submissions is!