Little Hurricane Cuts Through The ‘Summer Air’ At The Observatory


On September 12, the last remaining moments of summer air (pun intended) filled the Constellation Room at The Observatory in Santa Ana. The stage, dressed with a vintage rug, a drum set, a guitar slide on a keyboard –and unassuming in the corner, speakers disguised as a white dresser with a lamp on top, was set for San Diego based duo, Little Hurricane.

0H2A4482ACeleste “CC” Spina, sat behind the drums barefoot, as singer Anthony “Tone” Catalano stood center stage with a guitar. “Trouble Ahead,” from their 2012 debut album Homewrecker set the tone for the night- a sweaty, bluesy-folk foot stomper that encouraged the audience to dance around while drinking their whiskey and beer.

“Summer Air” from the duos second album, Gold Fever, continued with a similar rhythmic groove. While the melodic, kind of murky and bluesy music tends to be more sophisticated than the lyrics, the simplicity in their songwriting style allows the audience to get lost in the beats. “The summer air is gone but I don’t care,” boasts the chorus –though the hot temperature of the venue during Southern California’s heat wave begged to differ.

That being said, Little Hurricane still writes songs that are intimate and engaging. “Sheep In Wolves Clothes” and “Haunted Heart” tell heartbreaking stories of love and infatuation. “Boiling Water,” played towards the end of the night, is one of the bands more jazzy tunes, the lyrics emphasized by Tone’s raw grovel-y voice.

Though Tone takes the lead vocals, CC provides backing vocals throughout. Their chemistry is especially evident in tracks like “Shortbread” where the duo sing back and forth in conversation. CC’s smooth vocals sing, “Start a fire in my heart,” Tone’s gritty, scratchy tone echoes backs, “That’s what I’m trying to do.” “Hold Me Back,” also from the band’s debut album, is a short track that’s structured in the same manner. The contrast between their opposing voices blend together beautifully, making the moment where they harmonize especially powerful.

It’s hard to believe that in 2012 CC admitted to Rolling Stone that she’s “not a singer, never claimed to be a singer.” Struggling with hearing her own voice, the first year the band played she wouldn’t allow vocals in her monitors. “Ignorance is bliss,” she told the publication. Perhaps her struggle was left far behind after their sophomore album release because the woman on stage came across strong and confident as the smile on her face peaked through the hair in her face as she rocked her head back and forth to the beat she was playing.

CC took to the vocal booth as a result of Tone’s encouragement. The two came together in 2010 after CC posted an ad on Craigslist looking for a musician to work with after she reintroduced herself to drumming after some time away. Tone answered the ad, but CC didn’t respond until he sent a second email stating he used to be in a jazz band. The two went on tour together and two years later, the band came out with Homewrecker. Though that album was recorded in various places, they decided to take their recording for Gold Fever to an old house in a gold mining town. They used vintage equipment to capture their album’s swampy feel, which quite frankly, perfectly captured the spirit of wild desert California.

After playing, “Poor Me,” from their upcoming third album, the band began to wind down the night and asked the audience what they’d like to hear. A fan yelled out, “Give ‘Em Hell,” a popular song from Homewrecker which heavily features CC’s vocals. Much to the fan’s chagrin, the duo blamed their lack of mandolin and instead ended the night with a folky cover of Bill Withers’ “Ain’t No Sunshine.”

Photography by Rosemary Vega.

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