Tag Archives: Ha Ha Tonka


Oh dears! This Sunday’s been rough. I had such a great time last night, hangover has been merciless to me and I’ve been dumber and lower than usual. In my head I had plenty of things planned which I’ve been unable to accomplish, and I feel kind of frustrated now. I thought taking a break from going out at nights and reducing the booze was fine, but after this hangover I confirm my forced retirement from night life is definitely something positive.

Anyway, the night was a blast. Finally Ha Ha Tonka, the guys from Springfield, Missouri, came to Barcelona to offer a wonderful show at Rocksound. I told you about their last album, Death of a Decade, some weeks ago. I voted for it among my top 5 albums of year 2011.

It’s true the rainy night didn’t help, but that wasn’t reason enough to justify we were only 25 people attending the show. Very sad. The wide offer of life shows in town is overwhelming, and it’s impossible to attend all of them, considering the rough times we’re living, even though the price of tickets are reasonably affordable.

At least I gotta admit I feel very proud of myself  for managing to convince some friends to give a try to the band, and then make  it to the show, because nobody was disappointed and the band deserved it.

Death of a Decade was chosen to break this unfriendly night, creating a warm atmosphere and getting the audience very packed and close to the stage. The band based their set on their last album, although they recover few songs of his previous work, Buckle in the Bible Belt.

Voices were what impressed me most last night. On one hand the voice of the lead singer Brian Roberts, very solid and rich, and on the other the work on double voices and melodies from all the members of the band. Love bands in which all sing, and in this case the intensity the 4 voices created was magic. This moment when the four guys were singing a capella only with Anderson’s mandolin as their guide was wicked.

The more I listen to this instrument the more I like it. With his mandolin, it was as if Brett Anderson’s was bringing us back to the rooted Missouri, you could feel these folks’ passion for their tradition.

The show was quite short, or at least we all missed few more songs in the setlist. I think the band was pretty stoked by the reaction of the audience during and after the show. We all went to talk to them, they signed up records, took pictures with us, and I could have a nice small talk and a shot of Jager with Lennon, the drummer, very good vibes! Special mention to the merch guy, Mark. One of the hugest men I’ve ever met, his moustache was awesome.

While stuffing the van, despite the rain, Roberts took his old guitar and started playing and singing Death of a Decade in the middle of the street. Awesome! Pity they couldn’t stay for some drinks, and perhaps more songs, they guys had to be up at 6AM on Sunday to drive till Zurich!

The future of these hard working guys is promising. I’m not really sure about seeing them again considering the poor audience in most of the shows in Spain, but I bet that, in future occasions, when they’ll get proper attention from media, they’ll play in front of larger crowds, at bigger venues, and then only 25 will be able to say “When nobody knew them I was there”. I’ll be one of those.

Good luck guys! It was a great pleasure.


Tonka always reminds me of my dad and the tonka bean he uses for preparing his amazing and luxurious gin tonics. There’s also this Tonka toy company featuring trucks and construction equipment. The sound of this exotic name also brings me to a tiki world.  No, none of these options can be applied to the named of this band from Springfield, Ha Ha Tonka are named after a skate park in Camdentown, Missouri. Isn’t it weeeeird? Ha ha…Tonka! 😉 Sorry guys, it’s Monday, my sense of humor is at its lowest and cheapest.

Again, I got to know this band through Viva Las Vegas podcast. I heard their first single, Usual Suspects, which also opens their last album Death of a Decade, and loved it immediately. It’s very catchy, with the mandolin arrangements. A very good starter, what do you think?

The album really made an impression on me as to include it in my top 10 2011 albums. I must admit I was not much updated on album releases last year, and didn’t include it in order to fill a list though. I still reckon it was one of the best.

The announcement of their upcoming European tour dates in Spain, specifically in Barcelona, and the happiness brought out, made me pick up this beautiful album from the shelves, and start listening to it nonstop. If I had some doubts about it, they were all finally erased once and for all.

Death of a Decade is one of these 11-track treasures, full of folk and deep America roots, very melodic and spiritual. It’s been said their music is inspired by the wisdom of the Ozarks, the American pioneers who first settled in this highlands area. Listening to Jesusita inspires me some kind of wonderful peaceful state.

The Missouri quartet are endorsed by the emblematic Bloodshot Records label, which have been working with  with relevant artists and bands such as Neko Case, Justin Townes Earle, Alejandro Escovedo, Scott H. Biram, and The Bottle Rockets, among others, which for me it means  a guarantee proof.

I was glad to read on Twitter a couple of days ago that they’re currently working on new songs, which hopefully we’ll be able to hear during these tour performances. These guys seem to be very excited for coming over, so am I, of course, and really can’t wait to see them. They’re scheduled to play at Rocksound, a very small but warm and friendly venue, in October. I’m pretty sure it’s gonna be a blast, and I insist, they’re really worth giving them a try.