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Population Game ~ LIVE at the Viper Room ~ West Hollywood

Population Game

*Photos by Michael Sunga

What I found most interesting about the Viper Room performance as well as other Population Game shows, aside from Justin Avery’s melodic voice, Jevin Hunter's talent for keeping phat beats, and guitarist Brett Farkas and bassist Joe Ayoub’s jammin' precision, is that I they have the musical quality of a far less kinky Prince sparkled with some Maroon 5 but devotedly followed by the audience of Justin Timberlake. Rather than credit them to wooing thirteen year-olds with their tunes, I might clarify that it's the J.T. of Sexy Back where the chicks are a tad older, more fashion & street savvy, and boat loads hotter.

Most bands' shows end up being full-on sausage parties. Cock over here, a little more cock over there, with myself basking in the glory of an empty ladies room. It’s all mine, God damn it! Not with these guys. They are magnets for women in their twenties who sway slightly from side to side, clutch their handbags, wear cautiously coordinated but not overly matching flat shoes, and shout love declarations to honey-voiced Avery in between songs. Of course, there are wild-cards—the ones who shake their God-given goods to the beat. Population Game spits some hoppin' jams on top of having a knack for melody. I found myself at some point during song titled "Runaway" busting out a reggaeton shake that I had mastered on the Caribbean coast of Costa Rica. And I thought, Wow, even white boys know how to groove.

This brings me to another very important aspect of Population Game—versatility. One moment, Avery, Farkas and Ayoub are harmonizing so well that even Freddie Mercury would have given them a pat on the back. When I closed my eyes I’d be convinced that the Supremes had a sex change; at another moment, people tap their feet to crisp jazziness; and finally it seems as though I am back in my freshman year of college and my roommate’s pop rock mix for heartache is on repeat. Even when I think that I’m listening to a track that got lost and ended up on the office rock station, one thing remains certain about this band: they are unquestionably talented artists. It seems they are architects of songs, designing each piece to engender resonant beauty.

Recognized in Music Connection Magazine's 15th Annual, "Hot 100 Unsigned Artists" list as one of the Hottest 100 Unisgned Bands, it shouldn't be long before the major and minor labels are fighting tooth and nail for this Los Angeles based, native Michigan group of dudes. They have independently assembled—composed, recorded, produced, and masterminded—a five song EP that's going to be selling like Pop Tarts. Whether it’s for the brew, the bitches, the boys, or the beats, Population Game merits lending an ear to.

Population Game

Upcoming Show: The Derby, Aug 25 2006, 10PM

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