On Saturday evening, the 7th Annual Silver Ages Holiday Show took place at the Ethical Society on Rittenhouse Square. The Silver Ages are an a cappella men’s chorus consisting of members of the Philadelphia music scene (Dave Hartley of The War on Drugs, Brandon Beaver of Buried Beds, and Heyward Howkins to name a few). The group is led by Charlie Hall, a Philadelphia musical luminary himself who has worked with many of the guys in the group on their own projects and also leads The Lindsey Buckingham Appreciation Society.
The night began with an introduction by WOD’s Patrick Berkery who celebrated the sense of community the Philadelphia scene has enjoyed within the past 10 years and how much fun it is being a part of it. He also gave us a taste of things to come by explaining that the Silver Ages’ warm up consists not of scales and arpeggios but of singing “Carry On My Wayward Son,” by Kansas.
The atmosphere was casual with Ages taking to the stage, sipping from artisanal beer steins. The group mostly focused on what at this point is their canon. “Autumn Leaves,” Randy Newman’s “Texas Girl at the Funeral of Her Father,” and the Brendan Behan penned “The Old Triangle,” were haunting, while the standard “Cocaine Bill and Morphine Sue,” with its refrain of “have a little [sniff] on me,” got giggles from the crowd. There were newer songs added to the mix as well such as the Fleetwoods “Mister Blue,” and a version of “My Bonnie Lies Over the Ocean,” that involved audience participation.
The show also featured a performance from the Goddesses, the duo of Sam and Tony Goddess. Reminiscent of Geoff and Maria Muldaur , they performed songs of their own such of “Happy Doing What We’re Doing,” as well as tunes from Tony’s band Papas Fritas including the fan favorite “Love Just Don’t Quit.”
The highlight of the evening was a version of Fleetwood Mac’s “Save Me a Place,” performed by the Goddesses, the Silver Ages, and Buried Beds’ Eliza Jones. It encompassed everything Pat Berkery enthused about in his introduction: a love of music, a sense of community, and making beautiful harmonies together. Watch videos and check out a photo gallery from the show below.
Photo by John Vettese