A delayed homecoming at The Barbary with Everyone Everywhere (photos, review, setlist)

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“We like to take our time,” deadpanned singer-guitarist Brendan McHugh to a packed house at The Barbary on Saturday. This was by way of explanation for his band Everyone Everywhere‘s album release / welcome home party, happening when their album has been out (and they’ve been home from a European tour) since last summer.

But that’s okay. Good things are worth waiting for, as the saying goes, and Everyone Everywhere’s delayed homecoming was a crowd-pleaser in a multitude of ways. For starters: pizza. The band ordered some 45 pies from Pizza Brain (vegan and plain) and made them available free to the crowd. “It’s like college,” joked Slingshot Dakota drummer Tom Patterson. “Say you’re going to have pizza and everybody shows up.”

Slingshot played an opening set, preceded by Philly garage rockers Band Name, and both bands had a surplus of energy and hooks. Band Name rocked a number of unreleased tracks from their sophomore album-in-progress – bassist Cat Park takes lead vocal on much of the new material, infusing it with an undeniable Runaways vibe – while Slingshot pulled largely from their recently-released Dark Hearts.

The standard comparison for that Lehigh Valley duo is Mates of State, and its certainly an appropriate starting point. They’re rhythmically complex, singer Carly Commando’s keyboard lines float in an arc grounded only by her extremely poppy vocal sensibility, and they do harmonize on occasion – but they avoid cutesy-cloying trappings in favor of a raucous punk rock energy.

Following them promptly at 8, Everyone Everywhere’s set pulled mostly from the new album, and it translated just as well in front of a crowd as it did for our Key Studio Session last week. “I Feel Exhausted” was a stirring opener – guitarist Tommy Mason spent half the song hunched over his amp conjuring mood-setting feedback – and its doubletime coda propelled right into the snappy single “Queen Mary II.” Even minus the saxophone solo, that song rocks it live.

After a snappy “Turn and Go and Turn,” frontman Brendan McHugh switched from frontman to auctioneer. The band is apparently in tabula rasa mode, and auctioned off a few choice items from their stash – the last of the famed Everyone Everywhere T-shirt t-shirts (it went for $21), a Japanese pressing of the band’s first CD (it was simply tossed to the crowd) and the inflatable alien from the “Queen Mary II” video (going price: $6). The album and merch over at Everyone Everywhere’s table was also available for sliding scale prices.

After the mortality-minded pop jam “Big Hat,” McHugh said their last song would be the early fan favorite “Raw Bar OBX 2002.” When the crowd cheered probably louder than they had all night, he seemed momentarily dejected. “Great, we have an entire album of new material,” McHugh said. “And you want to hear this dumb old song.”

Which, I don’t think it’s that at all. It’s just a lot easier to scream along at the top of one’s lungs to the refrain “Hey, I’ve got bigger fish to fry” than it is to “bicameral progress, dichotomous” from “Fervor and Indifference in the Bicameral Brain” (which, don’t get me wrong, is totally catchy). Doesn’t mean we don’t like going heady and introspective for a night, and doesn’t mean we won’t be lined up for Everyone Everywhere’s next night out – as McHugh joked (?) “when we do it again in four years.”

Everyone Everywhere setlist
I Feel Exhausted
Queen Mary II
Fervor and Indifference in the Bicameral Brain
Turn and Go and Turn
I Feel Fine by Everyone Everywhere
$1,000,000,000
Big Hat
Raw Bar OBX 2002

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