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Presenting The 502s, the world's happiest band!

House of Blues , Boston, April 25, 2024

Reviewed by Jeffrey B. Remz

Under the white neon sign that announced the name of the band, "The 502s," was a faux wooden sign that said "World's happiest band."

The 502s lived up to the name in spades. That was apparent from their sartorial splendor as it were, their stage antics and their musical vibe.

Lead singer Ed Isolta led the way with blue-and-white matching tropical shorts and shirt. Sax player extraordinaire Joe Capati was decked out in bright, rose-colored shorts. No one was exactly dressed to the nines. More like ready to party heading into the weekend on a Thursday night.

The 502s, who hail from Florida, play a sort of beachy Americana music. It's not roots rocking or singer/songwriter styled Americana. More like a soulful, good timing vibe that only got better as the 80-minute show wore on before about 2,200 fans. The band has definitely been on the rise because the last time they played the Boston area, they sold a club about one quarter of the size of the HOB.

They leaned heavily into their just released full-length, self-titled disc.

Isolta was a good front man – he sang well enough (a bit throaty at times) and with his seemingly ever present smile, he aimed to please.

The songs themselves did not necessarily cut deep lyrically, but stood up well musically. "Skinny Dipping and Mimosas" contained the lines "Skinny dipping and mimosas, you and me/Go together like the ocean and the breeze/I've been all around the world, honey all I need/Is skinny dipping and mimosas, you and me."

Yet, there was a positivity even in the titles, such as "Something's Gonna Go Our Way" or the choice of The Killers' anthemic chestnut "Mr. Brightside," yet another cheery song. In the former, Isolta asked the crowd, "Who's had a bad week this week?" drawing cheers. "Good news. You're at a 502s concert. It's all going to be okay."

Just when one thought The 502s could not top themselves, they did so on the joyous, buoyant uplifting closing number of the regular set, "Feels Good to Be Me." Each member of the band, including the drummer Sean Froelicht and bassist Nicholas Melashenko, who were on the understated side otherwise, took turns in hamming up with a stanza at the mic. All were up to the challenge in a freewheeling end to the night.

The 502s lived up to their sign – they may well be the world's happiest band. Or at least they acted like they were tonight.

Daniel Nunnellee, a Nashville-based musician, opened the night with a deservedly well-received set. An engaging personality (not quite as positive as The 502s, but not so far behind either), Nunnellee played the only true country song of the night, a honky tonker that showed he was up to snuff. Nunnellee, who spelled out his name for the crowd before closing with "Oak Trees," ought not worry about that much longer.

©Country Standard Time • Jeffrey B. Remz, editor & publisher •
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