Little Hurricane might be a duo, but they have a big sound and they aren’t afraid to get messy. “I’ve gotten used to wiping my sweat with my socks,” drummer Celeste “CC” Spina tells Rolling Stone before their gig at SXSW’s Auditorium Shores Stage, where she and guitarist Anthony “Tone” Catalano opened for M. Ward and the Shins.
The morning was overcast, but the sun came out just in time for Little Hurricane’s midday set, which opened with “Trouble Ahead,” a swampy, foreboding tune with makeshift slide guitar. On “Give ‘Em Hell,” Spina batted her lashes and belted out the song’s refrain while banging a kick drum and strumming a mandolin. “You can sing along if you like,” she yelled to the crowd. “It’s just ‘give ’em hell’ over and over again.”
Since forming two years ago, the San Diego blues-rock band has been building a following on the festival circuit, including Lollapalooza and Austin City Limits. Last year marked their first trip down to Austin for SXSW. “We burned a bunch of CDs, and I literally put on a captain’s hat, stood on the corner of 6th and Trinity and handed out our stuff to everyone walking by,” says Spina. “We ended up in a sandwich shop called Which Wich and saw these guys with an itinerary. We were like, ‘Here’s our flyer! You probably won’t come to any of our shows, but check out our music.'” As it turned out, those “guys” worked at the indie label Roadrunner Records. “A month later, we got a call saying, ‘We want to fly you out to New York for a showcase,'” says Spina. The duo is now gearing up to release their debut LP in May.
Although it’s mostly been a smooth ride for Little Hurricane, choosing their name didn’t come so easily. “It took us a while, actually,” Tone says. “At first it was Hurricane, but people don’t like hurricanes. Little hurricanes are OK. It’s more of a party, and less of a disaster.”