JANUARY 20, 2020 | By Adrian Gonzalez
Orange County’s Reel Big Deal is Hooray For Our Side
At one point in time Orange County was the Ska capital of the world. Then, the market got saturated and the genre became a running joke. However, the genre didn’t go away completely. Local bands like Half Past two, Chase Long Beach, the Maxies and juggernauts like Reel Big Fish kept the scene limping forward. Because of the aforementioned bands, the ska scene began to thrive and now it’s cool to love ska again. Bands like The Interrupters helped with that, but truth-be-told, it was band’s like Hooray For Our Side that kept fans smiling, laughing, skankin’ and coming back for more.
Hooray For Our Side is defined as a pop-punk ska band from Huntington Beach. They list Big D and the Kids Table, The Beach Boys, Boingo, and Devo as icons who’ve influenced them. The band’s singer is Evan Wohrman; he’s self-admittedly a nerdy, silly man. Despite the persona, he’ll draw you in with his friendly, energetic and inviting stage presence.
Truthfully, Evan wasn’t always the one to move or lead the crowd. In those early days he would often forget he was part of the entertainment. Back in the day Wohrmam would get so caught up in the moment he would forget that the microphone could detach from its stand. He would jump up and down, and dance with full mic stand in his hands causing chaos around him. Like the rest of the band , he’s very down-to-earth and humble. He doesn’t call himself a singer or writer on his social media pages… instead he refers to himself as “Sing boy and wordist.” It’s this type of humor that can make a crowd groan in half delighted laughter. The jokes that flow from Wohram’s mouth are almost as creative as the songs that the band plays on stage.
(Evan Wohrman on stage)
Like all successful bands with longevity, the band evolved and so did the band-mates. Long gone are the mic stand chaos, and cartoon-crazy onstage antics; well, maybe not totally. Wohram has gone on record stating he had to pay attention to his range and not just “yell through the mic.” The band used to cover “That Thing You Do” from Ron Howard’s 1996 same-titled feature film. In retrospect, Wohram has admitted that he’s embarrassed in his past performances of that song. He added “I didn’t know what I was doing.” Now HFOS knows what they’re doing and their development as artists is evident.
With experience comes success, and this band has played some of Southern California’s most crowded venues and festivals. With each of those shows they continue to grow and mature into one of Orange County’s most cherished and lovable bands. Don’t worry the silliness and lovable style you expect is still present, the difference now their ability to make a crowd laugh and dance is by design and not a byproduct of serendipity.
Next for this lovable band is a spot in the local stop of the Ska Parade 30th anniversary tour. HFOS will be playing January 24th at chain reaction in Anaheim, with Monkey Los Kung Fu Monkeys, Hans Gruber and the Die Hards, and The Jokers Republic. Along with celebrating 30 years of Ska Parade the show will serve as a release party the “Pick it UP, Ska in the 90s” Blu-ray release party. The event promises to be a night balancing nostalgia and a look towards the future of Ska music. It’s a perfect setting as we watch the band head towards their 10-year anniversary. HFOS has gone from nervous kids on stage who tell puns, to full grown adults who almost know what they’re doing who just happen to be really, really funny. It also helps that they’re really good musicians too.
(Ska Parade 30th Anniversary Banner)
Circling back to the band’s catalog, back in 2013 HFOS put out their first EP. it was a self-titled 5 song release that did well with the locals. The EP is a pop ska-punk album where you can almost here the youth of the band in the recording. Some of the songs on the original EP still make it on to stage and remain crowd favorites. “Plastic Knives” is the first track on the album and it’s a chance to see that even Wohram has an angry side.
The 2015 album Overture is the second HFOS release and the first full-length release. You can almost hear the band maturing in the 12-tracks of less poppy and more of an indie-ska-punk sonic vision. HFOS used Overture challenged themselves and even took on the task of covering the Amy Winehouse classic “Valerie,” and the soul funk song “Come and Get your love” by Redbone.
The most recent release from HFOS is “Everybody Love Everybody,” it’s a crisp grown up album. The pop aspect of Hooray For Our Side is minimized and what you are left with is pure magic. This crowd-sourced album was carefully crafted with patience and proper process. Those who contributed can be proud that they helped create an album that came out as good as this one.