Setting up the cry for Hue

BY DAN WATSON | APRIL 09, 2009 7:30 AM

Instrumental bands seem to have always been regarded as the science fiction of musical genres.

Those bands, similar to science-fiction works, seem to garner attention from geeky individuals, send messages that are equally as profound as they are confusing, and are classic examples of a polarizing genre.

Chicago-based instrumental band the Hue will play at the Yacht Club, 13 S. Linn St., at 9 p.m. Friday. The band attempts to dodge its style’s stereotypes.

“I feel we have a different approach from [that of] most instrumental bands,” guitarist Jared Rabin said. “It is more simple, and I think it sets us apart from the geeky instrumental stuff.”

Along with Rabin, drummer Brian Gilmanov, bassist Kyle Meyers, and guitarist Marcus Rezak formed the Hue in 2007. The quartet grew up in the north Chicago suburbs — Rabin and Gilmanov lived on the same street. During their middle- and high-school years, the members were never really friends, but when all but Rabin continued their education in Berkeley, Calif., the future bandmates’ paths collided.

After moving back to Chicago, the members formed the Hue and quickly pumped out Unscene. The EP highlights the band’s various influences, including classical, bluegrass, metal, and most notably jazz.

“When we first became a band, it wasn’t like we decided we had to be an instrumental band,” Rabin said. “It was more of a common ground for us; we all studied jazz in college, and even sang, but none of our voices matched this project, so we just went without a singer.”

The Hue’s lack of a vocalist has pushed the band to be more creative, he said. Unlike most instrumental bands, he said, sometimes simple instrumental compositions — verse/chorus/verse/chorus/bridge/chorus — work the best and often receive the best audience response.

While many members are involved in numerous other projects, Rabin said, he believes all members would agree the Hue is the most important and prosperous, and it performs the best live.

“Our common jazz backgrounds enable us to really mix stuff up live,” he said. “There’s a bunch of improv, the hooks are the same, and fans can recognize songs, but things go in every direction. Sets can vary with 15-minute rock odysseys to three-minute pop tunes.”

He hesitated to use the word “jam” when referring to t he Hue’s live shows because the band’s sets are much more focused. He referred to the performances as more of a “group improv that can be deafening” as opposed to one member leading the performance.

For the past two years, the Hue has mainly played Midwestern college towns on three- or four-day weekend tours, but the members plan on traveling farther west this summer.

“I think touring all these different campuses is a great way for a new band to start out,” Rabin said. “But I don’t want to get pigeonholed; I don’t want this band to be limited to that.”

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