They look just a little too put-together in their press shots. We point this out not to give the band a hard time, but because we thought you might have noticed, too, and that’s the sort of thing that would make us a little wary of the band, if we didn’t know better. We don’t blame their label for making them look good—after all, that’s part of what labels are for—but the band, especially frontman Mark Foster, looks a little uncomfortable in the photographs.
That’s why we try to record these You Oughta Know Live performances. We think the best way to experience a band is to see them live, and the next best is to see a live performance. Here’s where you get to see why we are such fans of the band (the VH1 Blog’s own Mark Graham picked “Helena Beat,” which the band performed as part of this set, as a Song of the Summer contender).
We embedded the last song of the set, “Don’t Stop (Color on the Walls),” above because it was, not coincidentally, the strongest of the four performances. Foster in particular undergoes a visible transition as the set goes on, loosening up, losing his jacket, smiling more, until the near-maniacal laugh-vocals in this song’s bridge, which he nails. His all-out rendition belies the uncomfortable nature of the press photos—as does (sorry if this embarrasses you, Mark Foster) the fact that he’s wearing the same t-shirt he did when the band played the Sasquatch Festival in Seattle on Memorial Day. Now that’s the undeniable sign of a songwriter trying to get a break in L.A.: a favorite t-shirt.