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Discovering and sharing new music can be one of the most joyous experiences in the world. Finding new bands and artists on your own can be one of the most exhilarating experiences. But one that can feel even more unique and powerful is when a friend introduces a new band or song to you. Maybe they played the song to you when you were hanging out, they made a mix tape for you to take home, they sent you some songs to listen to. It can be one of the best feelings that someone heard a band or song, and thought they had to share this with you specifically. Our own Hunnypot Live Executive Editor Matthew Belter saw this band called Hot Milk at Sad Summer Fest last year and thought I should check them out. And I am so glad he did, as they quickly climbed up on my daily listening music. When Hot Milk announced a short three-day SoCal tour, I was so happy to see the Constellation Room in Santa Ana was one of their stops. Having the bands Magic Whatever and Tiny Stills opening for them, it was time to see why Matthew Belter thought I needed to see Hot Milk live.

Opening the night was a Los Angeles native band called Tiny Stills, who were doing a stripped-down acoustic set with just lead singer Kailynn West on lead vocals and rhythm guitar, and having AJ Peacox on lead guitar and backing vocals. This duo brought a bit more of a softer edge to open the show as it was an acoustic set. Tiny Stills was still a joy to watch and experience with melodies and grooves that got the crowd vibing throughout the whole set. Kailynn was was so cheerful and charismatic on stage, her smile was infectious as she sang out to the crowd. AJ still managed to make those lead guitar lines sound powerful on an acoustic guitar. Tiny Stills played songs like “Schadenfreude,” “Craigslist Bed,” “Small Talk,” “Am I Dead Yet,” “Resting in Pieces,” “The Sad Year Katy Perry Saved My Life,” “Let’s Fall in Love,”  and ending their set with “Everything’s Going Great.” Tiny Stills acoustic set made new fans that night, and I would be excited to see what a full electric band performance would be like.

Up next was a group known as Magic Whatever. With a name like this, I was very intrigued to see what kind of music they were gonna bring. Magic Whatever brought a type of funk rock to the Constellation room. Fronted by Trever Stewart who had the aesthetic and charisma on stage to rival Yungblud. Running from side to side, playing to the entire audience, and nearly stumbled across the stage throughout the whole show. Trever had the audience in the palm of his hand, getting them to jump and move to his music. Backed by a guitarist Josie Randle and drummer Derek Vautrinot filling in the instrumental side of Magic Whatever. Josie brought the funk rock guitar riffs that just made you bop your head, while the Derek kept a beat that not a single person could help groove to. Magic Whatever played songs like “I H8 Everything,” “Save This City,” “Chewing on My Tongue,” “Fuck the Silence,” “Feel Something,” and “Sentimental.” To end their set Trever asked the audience to since this next song with him. That song was “Speak of the Devil” and even though most of the audience were probably unfamiliar, the whole crowd could be heard singing the chorus with Magic Whatever.

Finally, it was time for the band that everyone had been waiting for, Hot Milk was about to take the stage. Fronted by Han Mee & Jim Shaw who trade off on vocal and guitar duty from song to song. We were blasted in the face with their brand of emo power-pop with their first song “Bad Influence.” Right off the bat Han Mee was already right at the foot of the stage singing and dancing in the faces of everyone in the front row. Jim Shaw held down the lead lines and was rocking out behind the mic but would also make sure to put in face time with the crowd. Han Mee was a force to be reckoned with on and off the stage, as she would constantly be shover her face and mic into the crowd to sing with the screaming fans. As well as jumping into the crowd to jump and mosh with everyone. Bassist Tom Paton was rocking out in the back switching up his style from finger picking to using a guitar pick, but always blasting some of the best bass grooves. Filling in on drums this night was local fan favorite session drummer Aaron Stechauner, who managed to learn the songs and set in only a couple days. And played the beats like he’s been doing it with the band forever. Hot Milk kept the energy high and the fans screaming along with songs like “ Wide Awake,” “Teenage Runaway,” “I JUST WANNA KNOW WHAT HAPPENS WHEN I’M DEAD,” “I Fell in Love With Someone I Shouldn’t Have,” “Glass Spiders,” “Horror Show,” “Candy Coated Lies$,” and “Awful Ever After.” We even got a treat of hearing Hot Milks new song “Bloodstream” played live for the first time! Ending their set with “Split Personality” Han Mee crowd surfed around the venue, getting up and close and personal with everyone.

This was a very special and unique show, as original drummer Harry Deller was unable to make the shows due to some unfortunate medical issues. Hot Milk had to sadly cancel their Los Angeles & San Diego shows to rehearse with fill in Aaron Stechauner. So, the people of Santa Ana were very fortunate to still get a Hot Milk show. We even had fans fly in from Philadelphia, New York, and Europe just to make it to this show, and Hot Milk showed their appreciation to the fans that showed up for this show. The night was filled with acoustic melodies from Tiny Stills, fun rock bangers from Magic Whatever, and Hot Milk brought the house down with their emo power-pop stylings. I patiently await the next time Hot Milk strolls into town.


Matt Martinez

Editor - Orange County

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