- The Washington Times - Sunday, March 13, 2005

Every once in a while, a band emerges and everything about it works —from its collective hair right down to its shoes. Hot Hot Heat is one of those bands.

The foursome, all hailing from beautiful Vancouver, British Columbia, can’t seem to miss. Their dance-punk songs are endlessly catchy, they look great and even their name oozes fun.

Judging from Friday’s sold-out crowd at the 9:30 Club, you’d swear the guys were the biggest thing on the rock airwaves. In reality, only a lucky few have ever heard of them. But with a sophomore release, “Elevator,” just weeks away, the guys may be on the brink of rock ‘n’ roll fame.

The group didn’t waste any time getting started. They hit the stage with their high-octane single, “Talk to Me, Dance With Me,” from their 2002 Sub Pop Records release “Make Up the Breakdown.”

With one hand on the microphone and the other on his keyboard, Heat frontman Steve Bays descended on the frenzied crowd like a fresh-faced Jon Bon Jovi (circa 1987), armed with dance moves galore and a halo of bouncing curls to put “American Idol’s” Justin Guarini to shame.

Friday’s show peaked with a rowdy rendition of Heat’s delightful rock confection “Bandages,” clearly the crowd favorite. Every song —a number of them brand-new to the group’s frolicking fans — was just long enough.

Mr. Bays’ trademark yelping song voice was about the happiest thing heard in Northwest. Half of what he sings is incomprehensible, but you’d swear it’s the best darn gibberish you’ve ever heard.

These days, new rock bands come a dime a dozen. But Hot Hot Heat, fueled by its high voltage energy and dapper duds, might just stick around for a spell.

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