Photo by Ken Sears
Hallelujah the Hills are a Boston institution at this point, so when they play their first show back, it has to be big, right? Somehow they booked a show this past Saturday to play in front of the USS Constitution, aka Old Ironsides, the oldest ship of any kind still afloat. It was kind of a big deal, and one of the coolest places I may have ever seen a show.
Although this was my third show back to live music, this is the one that got me emotional. Maybe it was seeing a band I've seen fairly regularly for the first time, or maybe it was just seeing so many familiar faces at this one. Or maybe just seeing a show in Boston for the first time in what felt like forever. But, yeah... this one was special.
For a band that hasn't played a live show in eighteen or so months, Hallelujah the Hills rocked it. They may not have been as tight as they were two years back, but that just added to the special and laid back feel. Plus, their blend of indie rock meets folk sounds better a little ramshackle, so it worked. Once they started playing their self-titled song ("Hallelujah the Hills"), it just felt like home. Hallelujah the Hills have always been a fun band live, and this felt like a celebration. It was also most of the audience's first show back, so the joy was felt all around. The band stayed wonderfully chatty throughout, talking about how releasing a song called "People Keep Dying (And No One Can Stop It)" a year before a pandemic is more than a little eerie. They pulled a few from 2019's fantastic I'm You including "Folk Music is Insane," and played what seemed to be the extremely rare unplanned encore.
I should also mention what seeing a concert at the USS Constitution is like since this was the first in a planned series of live musical performances. The ship and the immediate area is owned by the US Navy, so besides park rangers there was a military presence. In fact, you were required to have your bags checked, get wanded, and show your ID for admission. But, I've had that all done at normal venues, and all the sailors I interacted with were perfectly polite and couldn't have made it any more comfortable. It was incredibly family friendly, allowed for BYOB and wine, and they had a barbeque going with $3.00 burgers and $2.00 hot dogs. Seeing a live music in such an iconic setting as the sun sets over the Bunker Hill Monument behind you was truly a special night.