Voyage through Hundred Waters
Hundred Waters is a four-piece electronic indie rock band out of Gainesville, FL. With two albums in four years, they have created a name for themselves, consistently creating a living, breathing beats that resonates with their audience. Their sophomore album, The Moon Rang Like A Bell, came out last May, and was written mostly in a van while touring North America. The band likes to experiment with offbeat production techniques—such as Skype calls—which gives them this authentic unconventional sound that demands attention.
The lead singer, Nicole Miglis—a tiny elvin waif in a killer white feathery bomber jacket—came out swinging. The show started with slow breaths, Nicole crouched like a little forest nymph, blue lights casting this ghostly glow on the members. The way the music starts gives an impression of a tunnel, Nicole’s vocals carried by the distortions, getting more heady until the crash.
I was so amped by this build up/break down—it felt like the absolution hanging heavy in breaths set to music. The quiet heavy urgency of the droning bass, the lights fading to blue: it is a calm before the keyboardist whips out a guitar. Yes.
There were few pauses between songs allowing for a break in flow. Like a wave of awesome, let’s roll with it. The band moves together like one pulse, thrumming with the music, quiet and chaotically gentle—honeys have stage presence, slap me. And the shadows set by the choreographed lights give a disconnect between the audience and the performers; there is a dark side we haven’t met yet. And the set up of the band itself—all of the members angled toward the centre stage, essentially setting Nicole up on a pedestal—suggests an idea of reverence.
What really hit me with this performance was not only the stage presence, but the cohesion with which they performed. It was smooth and heady and the pulse of the drum beat moved in each member until it reached us, lurking in the dingy dark watching this—is it weird if I say sermon? Imma say sermon—unfold. Amongst the artificial moonlight and smoky breaths and the overwhelming bass crashing in chests, there was an atmosphere of thickness that flowed heavy and echoing. It’s not ethereal, but instead a feeling of echoing broken space, rushing air, inhabited by throbbing bodies. The futuristic sounds suggest an evolving ‘something’ that is breathing and hungry.
After the fourth song, Nicole gives a little talk and she’s adorable. It’s very much a dichotomy, because she’s so cute and soft and then suddenly this raw power throbs out of her tiny elvin body and a presence is abruptly there. While performing, there is an idea of being bigger than the Self and instead becoming this communal crooked spine. Like, I cannot stress enough the stage presence of this band.
My favourite moment was probably when Nicole ditched centre stage, suddenly creating a new focus, a new rush of blood to the head. The lights—smoky and low lit—support this shift, shadowing the dreamy piano that lurches in. It aches, this ballad about love, and Nicole’s presence allows us this magical feeling of surviving in a new place, bare. The synchronized lights mirror synapses, the chemical make up and the kaleidoscope of black and white within people, and everything is such an intimate moment. Like, I made eye contact with the sound guy beside me and it felt so cherished. I mean, it got weird, but for a moment it was this beautiful intimacy shared among hundreds of strangers.
They closed the set with a fun dance beat; it was the only song that did not feel like a gentle, self aware evisceration. I was actually kind of sad when they left the stage quietly, but I should have known they would end with a little more fanfare. Coming back on the stage in darkness, they all took their places and this build-up felt weirdly innocent? Floaty, half-grounded, aware, the beat had the audience completely still, silent. Slowly, we all started to sway like this hive mind amoeba, and then suddenly it felt like when you’re running down stairs and miss a step, but you just keep running? Like that, like a shallow chest and nervous hands.
The entire concert a throbbing, intimate moment that came to a head with a bomb breakdown in which the band goes OFF. It’s this mad jam out that shudders, like a wind-up bird, like that moment of jouissance before the fall. The lights fall away, and a gentle, white light spotlights Nicole, crouched. It is a full circle performance, beginning and ending in the same position, but in a different space.
And then they waved.
Photos by ftfphotography