Sneaky Hand @ The Earl
After mulling it over a bit on my drive home, I decided that my absolute greatest musical surprise of the year, thus far, is undoubtedly Sneaky Hand’s rabble-rousing performance at the East Atlanta Restaurant and Lounge, Nophest 2012. Talk about being caught off-guard! Before the show, I looked up what I could find on this relatively unknown band, and found catchwords like “energetic”, “danceable”, “groove-based”, and “avant garage post punk funk against the machine”. Needless to say, my curiosity was pricked. Starting right on time, Sneaky Hand did not waste a single moment to get the crowd moving. Their music is indeed a garagerock dance party. The bassist stomped and funked his way around the stage while the drummer pounded out rhythms that immediately compelled me to shake my moneymaker. The two guitarists delivered jagged, skittish guitar riffs reminiscent of the most aggressive songs by Franz Ferdinand or Modest Mouse.
By midway through the first song, 90% of the crowd was jigging. The last 10% eventually fell in line after the lead singer, Matt Maher, jumped into the audience, passed out tambourines, danced like a possessed voodoo witchdoctor on acid, and gave out shirtless, sweat-drenched hugs to anyone willing to receive one… which was everyone. Given the entire history of rock music, Matt clearly belongs to the upper echelon of charismatic frontmen. His energy is boundless, and I suspect that ingesting one drop of his sweat would tweak you out for a month. Even the most introverted music nerds, which are abundant at The Earl, couldn’t help but surrender to his intensity and start dancing. On top of being a vibrantly vivacious vocalist, Matt’s lyrics are intelligent and compelling. Instead of catchphrases, he imparts clever musings that are all at once whimsical and thoughtful. During the song ‘Crawling Towards the Future’, he chanted, “What’s right and what’s wrong, it ain’t in a song. It’s not in the shit that you think is the word. If I don’t deliver, it ain’t in no picture.”
Only having seen one Sneaky Hand show, they are already on my top list of Atlanta must-see’s, and I must definitely see them next Thursday, September 6th, at Eastside Lounge. If you know what’s good for you, and you want to exorcise those dance-demons inside you, I’ll see you there.
Atlanta Music Guide
"The most startling performance of the night was The Sneaky Hand. I had seen the brightly painted members all night, so their act was highly anticipated. The vocalist is a natural performer, putting all of his soul into his act. “If I am here next year, I can only blame myself.” I wondered if this was a threat on his life… and I was alarmed at just how raw he was, yet able to incite the whole crowd to participate, even passing out percussion instruments and getting everyone involved. They sounded very much like Rage Against the Machine and Incubus, but I would say the lyrics were profound, perhaps even prophetic, and they sold their message."
Jessica Nicole Holdbrooks
I was beginning to lose some energy because I am almost 30 and it was past my bedtime and I'm lame but then The Sneaky Hand brought my old ass back to life. I haven't seen a performance that energetic since A: The Color at The Star Bar a few weeks ago. The lead singer definitely reminded me of old school Anthony Keidis and RHCP circa 1989. This is a very good thing. These are dudes who are genuinely enjoying what they do and breathe all of their energy into the show.
Pop Culture Panda
"Sneaky hand is one of my favorite bands to shoot. They’ve always got so much energy on stage! It’s a trip trying to follow Lead singer M@’s antics."
Raymond Chang Photography and Design
"I had never heard of these guys and was impressed by their on stage presence. Their music was somewhat progressive but has an attitude not to be messed with. They mixed this sort of in your face punk with their progressive underlinings and I think it mixes really well. Not to mention their singer Matt is all over the place... You def want to go see the Sneaky Hand the next time you get a chance...
"[Sneaky Hand] plays amazing music. Its uninhibited, intense but nonchalant and just all around awesome. Wholesomely wicked. From its obscure and artistic take on itself and the type of music it plays, to the extroverted and hilarious nature of its lead singer Matt, the Sneaky Hand never disappoints. I say never without regret as I don't see them ever leaving a crowd in dismay, or have a crowd wanting something else on stage. I've seen them twice now, interviewed them once and I am now ready to say they are one of my top 5 favorite bands in Atlanta right now.
A band you have to see live and a band you'll no doubt be hearing a lot about. When you do see them you won't know whats going on until you look around and notice an entire room moving, not just you, mesmerized and entranced; probably chanting along without even realizing it, smiling so absolutely that their mouths hurt. Matt Maher is a perfect 'lead' man...undeniably completely comfortable with being awkward, and secretly making fun of everything he encounters I'm sure. Together, him and his band mates punch out original indie grooves that are singular and inimitable. Matt's clever grasp of lyrical ability emerges with refreshing ease as the band bleeds bluesy guitar breakdowns over jazzy tempos with space rock overtones. Its a blend that sometimes feels spooky and prophetic with expansive guitar effects and hovering vocals, and at other times loud and unrelenting with progressive tendencies, always smooth and never dull. Its easy to say the sound is all their own...and that its damn hard to forget the affect of the Sneaky Hand. Go see them the next time you can."
“What makes this band special is their personality and stage presentation... they manage to make anybody who is in the room a fan, regardless of their musical tastes. They are that rare band that finds a perfect balance between accessibility, artistic integrity, and punk rock grittiness.”
Subtle Hammer Productions/Sweetwater Bar and Grill was
"2010's Best OTP Music Club by Creative Loafing Atlanta"
“Sneaky Hand put the Funk back in Fun. They play high energy soul rock that will make you think twice about what you are doing with your life. The real prize comes from seeing these guys live performance.”