Archive for the ‘Philadelphia, PA’ Category

[ATTENDED: June 24, 2017] Palm

I saw Palm open for Dilly Dally last year and I enjoyed their set a lot.  I instantly found their bandcamp site and downloaded Trading Basics (Ostrich Vacation is a bit more out there).  This show at PhilaMOCA was ostensibly an album release party for their new EP, Shadow Expert.  But when I asked the bassist if that meant the were going to throw confetti he just laughed.  Later Eve Alpert said she was really blown away that so many people came (it was sold out).  So it was cool to be at that show.

I was really excited to see them in such a small place and I planted myself right up front to watch what they were doing (those chords!).  After about four songs someone came thundering in from who knows where and started slam dancing (she was the only one), and I wound up pretty far back after that, which sucked.  It was also really really stupid hot in there, but Palm transcended the scene and played an awesome set.

They played most (but I don’t think all) of the new EP.  It even sounded like they may have thrown in some brand new songs too, but I’m not sure.  They started with “Walkie Talkie” and the opening strange chords and notes of the EP–it’s so interesting to watch them play this stuff.  And the fact that they are perfectly in sync and never miss a beat is just outstanding. (more…)

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[ATTENDED: June 24, 2017] Palberta

For Palberta, I came down from the balcony because the room had cleared out some–it was really hot so people headed outside for a mew minutes.  I grabbed a spot pretty close and then just before the band went on a tall fellow with artificial flowers (that seemed like he was going to give to the band but never did) stood on front of me.

I’d only heard of Palberta after seeing that they were going to open for Palm.  They have gotten some write ups in some pretty major publications (in Feb they were mention in Rolling Stone as 1 of 10 new bands to get to know).  In that article, Rolling Stone says

sing disjointed playground punk that embraces both dissonance and innocence, trading instruments as quickly as they change ideas: A good 80 percent of the songs poke and scurry off before two minutes are up. “At this point writing short songs feels more intuitive for us than intentional – it’s the natural way,” says Nina Ryser. “It kind of reflects the song writing process itself: frenzied, fast, kind of jumbled.”

And that’s a pretty apt description of the band (I’m fairly surprised that they were mentioned there at all).

And the band says: (more…)

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[ATTENDED: June 24, 2017] Suffer Dragon

Two trips to PhilaMOCA in three days.  This time to see a local band that I really like, Palm.

I arrived in the middle of Suffer Dragon set and immediately went upstairs where no one was (it as incredibly hot once again).  I enjoyed that angle quite a bit.  It was very close to the stage and you could really see what both guys were doing.

For Suffer Dragon is a duo–guitar (Adam Babar) and one drum (Daniel Betts).  I didn’t know any of their songs until I looked them up online–there was basically one live video that I watched.  I gather they might be pretty locally famous.  Indeed, back in May, Palm opened for Suffer Dragon.

What made this duo different from many other duos is that Betts also played keyboards (drumstick in right hand, left on the keys) and the Babar’s guitar was hooked up to some crazy effects pedals that made many things he played sound very un-guitar-like.  He was the singer as well. (more…)

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[ATTENDED: June 22, 2017] Chastity Belt

 I first heard of Chastity Belt from All Songs Considered.  They’d played their really great song, “Black Sail.”  And they also brought attention to their amusing/appalling band photo (see below).  The album No Regerts [sic] had some fun/funny punky feminist songs.  Since then the band has released two albums (and their new one is really really good) and changed their band promo photo style (see below also).  They’re still writing feminist songs but they’re slightly less abrasive (and not called things like “Giant Vagina” or “Nip Slip”).

In fact, despite their name and that particular photo below, their music is really chill.  Julia Shapiro plays nicely jangly almost shoegazy guitar while Lydia Lund plays some simple but really catchy guitar lines that emphasize or counterpoint the melody.  Annie Truscott keeps everything grounded with her bass and Gretchen Grimm plays some really interesting drum parts.  It was particularly notable live since the drums were louder, that Gretchen wasn’t just playing snare/bass, but was playing complex patterns on her toms.  It really made for a cool sound.

I also got a kick out of Shapiro handing out the setlist to everyone on what looked like little tiny pieces of paper (wonder if they were handwritten). (more…)

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[ATTENDED: June 22, 2017] Sneaks

Sneaks was second on the bill opening for Chastity Belt.

I ended my post about Joy Again by coming out of the bathroom.  Well, while I was on line, I kinda thought that Sneaks was standing behind me.  But I’d only watched one video from her so I wasn’t sure and didn’t want to be presumptuous.  Well, I was right, because the woman wearing the Space Jam T-shirt climbed up on stage with the same shirt tied in a knot and, now, glitter all over her face.

I hadn’t heard Sneaks, so I checked out her bandcamp.  Sneaks is basically a one-woman show.  She plays bass and sings/raps/freestyles over her punky bass and a drum machine.  She has a lo-fi recording out and a more polished disc.  I would have loved both of these records when I was in college–the DIY punk attitude is pretty great.  But I didn’t love either one all that much the other day.

But she was great live. (more…)

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[ATTENDED: June 22, 2017] Joy Again

I had never been to PhilaMOCA before this evening.  I was supposed to see Dungen there this winter, but a snow storm kept me away.  Well, imagine my surprise that the event location is even smaller than I realized.  You walk in and the band is directly to your left.  There’s a small room and a balcony (sometimes in use) which holds about 250 people.

When I walked in Joy Again was already on stage.  I had listened to their bandcamp release before the show.  It was a lo-fi affair.

I was surprised at just how loud the band was live–a very different experience than I was expecting. (more…)

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[ATTENDED: June 16, 2017] Sigur Rós

Sarah and I saw Sigur Rós last fall. We both agreed that it was an incredible show.  So when I saw that they were coming back around and playing at the Mann Center, it was hard to pass up the chance to see them again.

It was ostensibly  the same tour, except that it was not exactly the same tour, and not exactly the same show.

It was still just the trio of jón þór birgisson (jonsi), georg holm, and orri páll dýrason and like last time, Jonsi was on vocals and (violin bowed) guitar, Georg was on bass (and more) and Orri was on drums and keyboards.  But they shifted around, with each of them playing other things during the show.

About the previous show I said

The show was perfectly orchestrated with a spectacular light show.  It was arranged into two acts with a 15 minute intermission.  I have often complained about bands who don’t change their set list from night to night but there is no way they could change this–the precision of everything, the complexity of the lights and music–this was more of a stage show than a concert.

Well, they did change things up a bit for this series of shows.  It was actually a little shorter with two fewer songs.

But the big distinction is that there were two new new songs.  In addition to the new songs they played last time, they added two more new ones.

About the previous show I also said:

As soon as the band started playing and Jonsi started singing, I was rapt–Totally caught up in the music which sounded amazing in Radio City Music Hall. It feels like they have speakers all over the room, their sound and which simply envelops the audience.  I usually like to take some pictures of exciting moments of shows but I didn’t even touch my phone during the show–I was absorbed from the first notes.


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