Coleman Hell – Live At San Francisco’s Nob Hill Masonic Center

Coleman Bell by Corey Bell

San Francisco – This past Friday, local Bay Area alternative radio station Live 105 FM held their first annual Scream Scene party at the recently renovated Nob Hill Masonic Center in San Francisco.  The night featured sets from three vibrant electronic acts, including Portland’s RAC (Remix Artist Collective) and a headlining set by Boston’s luminous Passion Pit, but it was Canada’s wonderfully eccentric and eclectic Coleman Hell that got the party started.

Coleman Hell (yes, that is his real name) has been bouncing around the Ontario music scene for a few years now – including stints in a hip-hop duo as well as a Toronto-based artist collective (that he founded) – but it is only in recent years that he has found his sound as a solo artist.  He has released a mixtape and two EPs as a burgeoning solo artist (his latest EP having been just released last month), and plans to release a full-length sometime next year.

Though Hell and his wig-adorned compatriots (it was Halloween after all), only were set to play for thirty minutes, they had no trouble filling each second with their exciting, genre-bending blend of electronic, pop, and folk (and a little bit of everything else as well).  Hell effortlessly pranced around the stage, occupying each and every square inch of the space as he sang, playfully toying with his microphone stand and shaking his wig in the faces of his band mates (the wig eventually fell off in a fit of illustrious head-banging, but that did nothing to dampen Hell’s infectious energy).  Hell’s rapport with the audience was boisterous and vitalizing, and he had no problem getting the crowd to its feet.

Coleman Hell played a varied collection of songs for his audience, reaching back to the past while also highlighting newer material, including some that hadn’t yet been released, like the bubbly “Flower Child,” which will most likely appear on the singer’s upcoming debut LP out sometime next year.  Some other new songs were taken from his recently released self-titled EP, including “Thumbelina” (‘a song about loving someone who feels small’), the invigorating positivity behind “Take Me Up,” and lead breakthrough electro-folk single “2 Heads.”  Hell also reached back to his 2013 VENA EP for a thunderous, lengthier version of “Heat of the Night,” which rallied the crowd into a fit of clapping as the band took their time to shine, featuring a keyboard solo and a thumping garage-like breakdown.  Hell even treated the audience to a mini-cover of Flo Rida’s “Good Feeling,” which had much of the very youthful crowd jumping maniacally, splashing their $11 beers in other attendee’s faces as they danced.

Although his set was short, Coleman Hell left a lasting impression on the crowd and the event as a whole.  The rest of the night was carried by the staying power of Hell’s zeal and confidence, and would not have been the same if he had not been a part of it.

Coleman Hell’s new self-titled EP was just released in October via Columbia Records.  He is currently on an extensive North American tour through December, with some dates in Canada in the spring as well.

For more information, checkout his Facebook page, and keep an eye out for our interview with Coleman Hell, coming soon.

Photo of Coleman Hell by Corey Bell

Corey Bell

Corey Bell

Corey Bell is no stranger to music.Having spent the better part of the past decade at concerts and music festivals around the globe, he finds he is most at home in the company of live music.Originally a native of New England, he has since taken residence in New York and New Orleans, and now resides in the San Francisco Bay Area.He achieved his Bachelor of Arts from Goddard College in Vermont via an undergraduate study entitled “Sonic Highways: Musical Immersion on the Roads of America," in which he explores the interactions between music, natural environment, and emotion while travelling along the scenic byways and highways of the United States.His graduate thesis, “Eighty Thousand’s Company,” features essays regarding the historical and socio-economic facets of contemporary festival culture intertwined with personal narrative stories of his experiences thereof.He is the former editor of Art Nouveau Magazine and holds a Master of Fine Arts in Writing from California College of the Arts.
Corey Bell